Who We Are

Pictured above: NYFC staff in December 2015.
NYFC is led by a board of directors, including farmers, farm service providers and social entrepreneurs.
Here is the growing list of people who are central to NYFC and the future of farming in the US:

 NYFC Staff  |  Board of Directors  |  Advisory Council

NYFC Staff
Sophie Ackoff
National Field Director
Hudson, NY
As National Field Director for NYFC, Sophie helps farmers across the country launch and grow NYFC chapters. She leads our grassroots campaign work and manages our corporate partnership and membership program. While a Biology and Environmental Studies student at Wesleyan University, Sophie founded a campus food politics organization to source local produce and meat in cooperation with dining services and local Connecticut farmers. She has worked for Food & Water Watch in education and outreach and has farmed on several CSA farms in the beautiful Hudson Valley of New York.
10401383_2028477224176_3614868173536646049_n Sara Black
Development Coordinator and Organizer
Hudson, NY
Sara supports the development and advocacy teams for the NYFC as a behind-the-scenes event planner, data manager, and cheerleader. While a student at the University of Georgia, Sara served and led many student and community organizations fighting for racial and environmental justice in the South, and dedicated several years to the Sierra Student Coalition as an organizing skills popular educator for youth in the climate movement. After graduating in 2014 with degrees in Anthropology and Ecology, she began farming at Broad River Pastures in Elberton, GA, and then at Ironwood Farm in Ghent, NY.
Kate Greenberg bio pic square Kate Greenberg
Western Water Program Director 
Durango, CO
Kate organizes young farmers and ranchers across the western U.S. for the National Young Farmers Coalition. Before joining NYFC she worked on CSA vegetable farms and wineries, volunteered on ranches, and managed western field programs and native tree greenhouses. She graduated from Whitman College in 2009. Kate lives and farms in Durango, CO and sits on the Board of Directors of the Quivira Coalition.
Wes Hannah headshot R. Wesley Hannah
Organizer and Communications
Kingston, NY
Wes has been with NYFC since 2011, when he started as a grassroots organizer with the new coalition.  He has been farming in the Hudson Valley for a number of years, and is currently also the Crew Manager at Hearty Roots Community Farm.
Eric Hansen bio pic small Eric Hansen
Policy Analyst
Washington, DC
Eric leads NYFC’s federal policy work, where he focuses on improving young farmers’ access to capital, credit, and land. He helps young farmers understand the resources available at USDA and he advocates for NYFC’s members to Congress and USDA. Previously, he was a Project Associate at the Meridian Institute, a nonprofit environmental consultant. At Meridian, he supported multi-stakeholder problem solving around issues involving agriculture, food security, and community resilience. He holds an M.E.M. from Duke University, where he studied agriculture policy and community-based environmental management.
Michelle_Hughes square small Michelle Hughes
Director of Investments and Partnerships
Hudson, NY
Michelle has been creating programs that increase knowledge, collaboration and equity across all levels of the food system for nearly 15 years.  As the director of the New Farmer Development Project in NYC, Michelle helped to establish 19 new immigrant-owned and operated farm businesses on a combined 400 acres. Michelle is a former board member of NYFC, and she now brings her experience in fundraising and participatory farmer education to her position as director of investments and partnerships.  She holds a BS in Conservation Ecology and Agroecology, and is a board member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York.
Leana bio pic square Leanna Mulvihill
Operations Manager
New Paltz, NY
Leanna is a Hudson Valley native and has worked on many different kinds of farm operations throughout the region. When she’s not working at our Hudson headquarters, Leanna is launching Four Legs Farm in New Paltz, NY where she raises lamb and pork. Leanna holds a BS in Forest Engineering from SUNY-ESF.
Holly bio pic Holly Rippon-Butler
Land Access Program Director 
Schuylerville, NY
As NYFC’s Land Access Campaign Manager, Holly works with land trusts, policy makers, and farmers to ensure that our nation’s farmland stays in agricultural production and that the next generation of farmers has access to affordable, appropriate, and secure land. In addition to her work with NYFC, she farms with her parents on their third-generation dairy and beef farm in Upstate New York. Prior to joining NYFC, Holly worked with the American Farmland Trust and the Agricultural Stewardship Association in New York. She holds an M.E.M. in Sustainable Land Use and Agriculture from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
LLS_NSAC13 Lindsey Lusher Shute
Executive Director
Clermont, NY
NYFC Executive Director Lindsey Lusher Shute is a leading advocate for independent and sustainable farms. As a young farmer herself, she is acutely aware of the challenges that young and beginning farmers face. With a background in organizing and state policy, Lindsey co-founded NYFC as a platform for young, progressive farmers to have a meaningful influence on the structural obstacles in the way of their success. In its first five years, NYFC has engaged tens of thousands of farmers in policy action; galvanized the land trust community around farmland affordability; and organized 28 rural chapters. Lindsey regularly keynotes at farmer conferences and is quoted by national news outlets as an expert on the structural issues facing family farms. In 2014, Shute was named a “Champion of Change” by the White House.
Chelsey_Simpson small square Chelsey Simpson
Communications Director
Brooklyn, NY
Now a resident of Brooklyn, Chelsey grew up on a fifth-generation dairy farm in Oklahoma where “bottle-calf feeder” was her first job. She has ten years of experience as an editor, writer, and communications professional and eight years of experience working on food system reform. Previously, Chelsey served as communications manager for the National Farm to School Network. Before moving to New York, she was also a longtime member and past-president of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative.
Board of Directors:


Alex Bryan, President
Food Field
Detroit, MI
Alex co-owns and manages a 4 acre mixed produce farm, Food Field, in the city of Detroit. Alex’s day job is at the Greater Lansing Food Bank where he is starting an incubator/beginning farmer training program and farm, called Lansing Roots, with funding from the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.
Tierney Creech, Vice President
Washington Young Farmers’ Coalition
Olympia, WA
Tierney Creech lives and farms in Olympia, WA. There she helps collectively manage Common Ground Farm, a woman owned and operated CSA farm that practices small scale, low tech, DIY vegetable farming integrated with livestock and pasturing. She is also a co-founder and active organizer of the Washington Young Farmers’ Coalition.
Brian Depew - square bio pic Brian Depew
Center for Rural Affairs
Lyons, NE
Brian Depew is the Executive Director and Director of Policy Advocacy & Outreach at the Center for Rural Affairs. Based in Lyons, Nebraska, Depew leads the Center’s state, regional and national efforts to create vibrant small towns. He has appeared widely in the media on rural issues including Des Moines Register, Omaha World Herald, Washington Post Online, Bloomberg News, the New York Times and in many local and regional news outlets. He is a native of rural Iowa where his family still farms.
Clayton Harvey bio pic Clayton Harvey,
The People’s Farm,
White Mountain Apache Tribe
White River, AZ
Clayton Harvey is from the Fort Apache Reservation in White River, Arizona where he is the farm manager at Ndee Bikíyaa, The People’s Farm. Ndee Bikíyaa is a 120 acre, GAP-certified vegetable and grain operation that sells its products to the local community, schools and other tribal institutions. Ndee Bikíyaa is a social enterprise intended to improve community health by improving access to fresh, healthy food. Clayton has traced his own agricultural heritage back 6 generations to Chief Alchesay, an Apache chief.
DSC02817 Jacob Israelow,
Dirt Capital
New York, NY
Jacob founded Dirt Capital Partners in 2013 as a platform to channel private investment in support of farmland access, conservation and long-term land security for sustainable farmers in the Northeast.  Previously, Jacob was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs in Asia, where he spent five years acquiring and developing real estate and infrastructure on behalf of the firm. He also served as volunteer CFO for Negev Nectars, a specialty food company which imported organic olive oil and other products from small-scale Israeli farmers for sale to consumers in the United States through CSA-style memberships.Jacob is also a Board Director at Farm2Table Copackers in Kingston, NY.
Tess Brown-Lavoie
Little City Growers Cooperative
Providence, RI
Tess Brown-Lavoie is a first generation urban farmer in Providence, RI. She and her sisters founded Sidewalk Ends Farm. They grow a diversity of fruits and vegetables and market to restaurants and at the farmers market through the Little City Growers Co-op, an 8-year-old urban and peri-urban co-op in Providence. They also co-manage the only urban CSA in Providence with fellow Little City member, Front Step Farm. The farm also hosts a series of workshops and tours throughout the growing season.
Jacqueline Lewin bio pic Jacqueline Lewin
Yale Sustainable Food Program
New Haven, CT
Jacqueline Lewin is Programs Manager for Professional Experience at Yale Sustainable Food Program. She came to the Project from Navdanya, a network of seed-keepers and organic producers in New Delhi, India, where she was an assistant to Dr. Vandana Shiva. Jacqueline is an Affiliate Member of the New Haven Food Policy Council, A Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, and a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International. Lewin is a home cook with Armenian roots who loves feeding people. She received a M.A. in Food Culture from Slow Food’s University of Gastronomic Sciences in Parma, Italy, and a B.A. in French Studies and International Affairs from the University of New Hampshire.
Virginie bio pic Virginie Pointeau
Quivira Coalition
Santa Fe, NM
Virginie Pointeau works for the Quivira Coalition, a small non-profit located in Santa Fe, NM, whose mission is to build resilience by fostering ecological, economic and social health on Western working landscapes through education, innovation, collaboration and progressive public and private land stewardship. As the New Agrarian Program Director for Quivira, Virginie partners with farmers and ranchers on sustainable agricultural operations throughout the Southwest to design and implement in-depth, hands-on 8-12 month apprenticeships for aspiring farmers and ranchers.
Nicole Shore bio pic Nicole Shore
Zero to Sixty Communications
New York, NY
Nicole Shore lives in New York City where she is Principal of Zero to Sixty Communications. Nicole is a strategic communications professional with more than 16-year track record spanning public relations, grassroots political organizing and experiential marketing. Nicole previously worked at Edelman, Corporate Social Responsibility and Issues practice where her clients included Fortune 100 Companies like Starbucks and HP; NGO’s such as Environmental Defense Fund and The Kauffman Foundation; and entities focusing on climate change such as Copenhagen’s Climate Congress and Coalition for Rainforest Nations.
Benjamin Shute
Hearty Roots Farm
Clermont, NY
Ben Shute operates Hearty Roots Community Farm, a CSA that provides vegetables and eggs for about 550 families in the Hudson River Valley and New York City. The farm also produces 29,000 lb. of fresh vegetables a year for a group of five emergency food providers in Flatbush, Brooklyn.  The farm is in its ninth season, currently managing 90 acres of land, with 20 in vegetables, a big jump from the 3/4 acre of rented land on which the farm was founded.
Adam Stofsky
New Media Advocacy Project
Valatie, NY
Adam is a human rights lawyer, social entrepreneur, and part-time farmer.  He currently works as the founder and executive director of the New Media Advocacy Project and a co-founder of Ticketyboo Farm, with his wife Anna.  During his public interest law practice, Adam experimented with using video to support legal advocacy on behalf of low-income and vulnerable communities, and decided to launch a non-profit organization dedicated to this work.  He founded the organization – N-Map – in 2009, and received an Echoing Green Fellowship to support the startup in the spring of 2009.He also lives on Kinderhook Farm in Valatie, NY, where his wife, Anna, manages over 400 grass-fed sheep.  He also co-manages Ticketyboo Farm, a small laying operation, which produces eggs from pastured, heritage-breed hens, whose foraging on lush Hudson Valley grass is supplemented by local, organic grain.
Advisory Council:
Derek_150x150 Derek Denckla
Brooklyn, NY
Derek comes to the organization with experience as an impact investor, community organizer and social entrepreneur. He founded and led Slow Money NYC, North East Foodshed Finance Alliance and initiated Foodshed Investors NY, the first angel investor network in the US funding small, local and sustainable food business. He has provided consulting and private equity to projects like Egg Restaurant in New York City, Windowfarms, Mouth.com, Red Hook Community Farm, Local Farms Fund and Blue Marble Ice Cream.  Derek holds a JD from Fordham University and a BA from Columbia University.
Theo Holt headshot Theodore Holt
New York, NY
Theo is a senior attorney with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP where he advises on complex, large-scale and multi-jurisdictional transactions. He regularly serves as pro bono counsel on projects that serve to empower the good stewards of our environment, such as the startup of a nationwide insurance program, Terrafirma Risk Retention Group LLC, that helps land trusts manage the risk of lawsuits relating to threatened development of conserved land. Theo spends as much time as possible bike touring, fishing his own flies and sailing oceans. He graduated from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law and Social Problems.
Justh pic square small Mark Justh
Eaton, NY
Mark B. Justh is owner of J & D Farms where he farms over 4,000 acres of Certified Organic pasture 35 miles SE of Syracuse in Eaton, NY.  He raises Angus beef, pigs, goats, and chickens and harvests 10,000 tons organic hay a year.  He is Chairman of Fleisher’s Pasture-Raised Meats and serves on the Board of Odyssey Marine Exploration.  Justh previously served for 12 years at JP Morgan, where was a managing director and head of Pan Asian Equities Distribution in Hong Kong. Prior to JP Morgan, he was a partner at a startup fund in the media space, HPJ Media Ventures/DeNovo Capital. Earlier in his career, he was a vice president at Goldman Sachs International in International Equities.  Justh was also honorably discharged from the U.S. Army Reserve as a first lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps.
Kim_Larson_headshot Kim Larson
Washington, DC
Kim Larson has dedicated her career to promoting healthy lifestyles, and is often found at the intersection of strategy and philanthropy, catalyzing change and action.  She has worked with the California Conservation Corps, the New York City Mayor’s Office, and as an Adjunct Professor at NYU. Kim has been a leader in bringing healthier food to America’s school children as a founding board member of the Coalition for Better School Food. She currently serves on the boards of directors of The Rodale Institute, Climate Ride, and the Thanks to Scandinavia Foundation, among others. Kim is a Special Advisor to the Children and Nature Network, and has fundraised on behalf of various cultural institutions including museums, libraries, and arts organizations, as well as causes focused on conservation and climate change.  A graduate of UC Berkeley with Honors in Urban Studies focusing on Urban Agriculture, she holds a master’s degree from the Elliot School of Public and International Affairs at George Washington University in Science, Technology and Public Policy. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, and together they have four grown children.
ErikLehtinenOutside Erik Lehtinen
Hudson, NY
Erik created Integrative Wealth;  an independent, socially conscious, financial management firm based in Hudson NY.  Since 2005, Erik has maintained the goal of “Connecting Values to Finance” when advising clients around the country.  He specializes in helping individuals and organizations, generate and keep money supporting important, World changing, missions.  He is the original founder of “Students for Social Responsibility” at Cazenovia College, and has served on numerous environmental, and human welfare Boards.  His interest in Agriculture started as a teenager with active involvement in “Future Farmers of America” and continues today with strong advocacy of local, sustainable agriculture practice.
HMW Harriet Mouchly-Weiss
New York, NY
Harriet Mouchly-Weiss is the Founder and Managing Partner of Strategy XXI Partners.  Over the years, Harriet Mouchly-Weiss has earned a reputation as a bold thinker, astute strategist, and firm believer in communications programs that incorporate a component of social responsibility. Harriet’s broad experience in crisis and issues management has established her as a key advisor to heads of government and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. She has been working with China for the last 15 years as an advisor to multinational companies and to the government. Harriet brings together the corporate world, government, international organizations and activists on such issues as obesity, marketing to children, vaccine distribution, micronutrients and healthy lifestyles.
Nischan pic square Michel Nischan
Bridgeport, CT
Michel Nischan is a two-time James Beard Foundation award-winning chef with over 30 years of leadership experience advocating for a more sustainable food system. He is Founder, President and CEO of Wholesome Wave, Co-Founder of the Chefs Action Network, as well as Founder and Partner with the late actor Paul Newman of the former Dressing Room Restaurant. He and his Wholesome Wave team were successful at influencing legislative language for the recently passed Federal Farm Bill. He has authored three cookbooks and a variety of articles on sustainable food systems. A lifetime Ashoka fellow, Nischan serves on the board of the Rodale Institute and is a former trustee of the James Beard Foundation, the Amazon Conservation Team, and Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment.
Rotherham pic square small Andrew J. Rotherham
Washington, DC
Andrew J. Rotherham is co-founder and partner at Bellwether Education, a national non-profit organization promoting educational innovation and improved outcomes for low-income students.  He is also executive editor of Real Clear Education, part of Real Clear Politics news and analysis websites, blogs on Eduwonk.com, and co-publishes “Education Insider,” a federal policy analysis tool. Rotherham previously served at The White House as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy during the Clinton administration and is a former member of the Virginia Board of Education.
Karen Washington pic square small Karen Washington
New York, NY
Karen Washington is a farmer and community activist. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Just Food, New York Botanic Garden, and the NYC Community Gardens Coalition. She is also co-founder of Black Urban Growers.  In Bronx, NY, she helped found and manage Garden of Happiness and La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition and Resource Center.  She is a frequent public speaker and educator in such forums as Farm School NYC, a program she spearheaded. Washington blogs for Letsgetfarming.com, a site she recently helped launched.  She is the recipient of numerous awards including a recent James Beard Foundation Leadership Award (2014), Ebony magazine’s “Power 100” of influential African-Americans (2012) and Woman of Distinction by New York State Senate (2011).