FOUNDER: Rick Peyser, Lutheran World Relief
Todd Barker, Meridian Institute
Liam Brody, Root Capital
BOARD CHAIR: Charlene Farmer-Lewey, Lodestar Sales & Revenue Management
Kara Greenblott, Nzinga International
Sean Greenwood, Ben & Jerry’s
Bill Mares, Vermont Beekeepers Association
Ernesto Méndez, University of Vermont
Eric Nadworny, J.D.
Kayd Whalen, InterAmerican Coffee
Miguel Zamora, Coffee Gente
ADVISOR: Daniele Giovannucci, COSA
ADVISOR: Mane Alves, Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea
Lutheran World Relief
At Lutheran World Relief, Rick is Senior Relationship Manager for Coffee and Cocoa. Formerly, he served as Director of Social Advocacy and Coffee Community Outreach for Keurig Green Mountain Coffee, where he worked for over 23 years. He is a past President of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, the world’s largest coffee trade association, and served six years on the Board of Directors of the Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International (FLO) which sets the standards for Fair Trade that benefit over 1.5 million small-scale farmers around the world.
With running partner Bill Mares, Rick co-authored Brewing Change, Behind the Bean at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters — the inspiring result of those frequent runs and steady conversations. Brewing Change is part travelogue, part social commentary, and part motivating business model for building corporate social responsibility. Brewing Change chronicles Peyser’s 24-year career with an insider’s view of GMCR, one of the largest specialty coffee companies and purchasers of Fair Trade coffee in the world. One hundred percent of the authors’ earnings and 10 percent of Wind Ridge Publishing’s net profits from the sale of Brewing Change benefit Food 4 Farmers.
In addition to founding and serving as Chair of Food 4 Farmers’ Board of Directors, Rick also serves on the Coffee Kids Board of Directors, as well as on the Board of Fundacion Ixil which works to improve the quality of life in Ixil coffee communities in El Quiche, Guatemala. Rick received his BA in English from Denison University.
Partner, Meridian Institute
Todd is a Partner at Meridian Institute; he joined Meridian in 1999. Todd has more than 15 years of experience facilitating policy dialogues, negotiations, and strategy development processes. He has expertise in the areas of food and agriculture; chemicals, pesticides, and toxic substances; climate change, energy, and air quality; environmental cleanup and waste management; biodiversity and natural resources; mining; science and technology; security; and water.
Todd manages and leads policy dialogues, negotiations, and strategy development projects. He conducts convening assessments, designs processes, raises funds, plans and facilitates meetings, helps participants develop consensus documents, and conducts implementation activities such as press releases and briefings.
In recent years, Todd has focused extensively on issues relating to food and agriculture in both developed and developing countries. He has worked closely with eight major foundations to help them envision and then launch AGree: Transforming Food and Ag Policy. This eight-year project leverages Meridian’s strategic consultation, convening and facilitation expertise, and will bring together key stakeholders in an effort to build agreement on the transformation of U.S. food and agriculture policy. Todd also serves as project director for Innovations for Agricultural Value Chains in Africa, where leading scientists and innovators are collaborating with key players in the maize, cassava, and dairy value chains in Africa to identify innovative post-harvest management and processing technologies that reduce post-harvest crop loss. (merid.org).
Liam serves as senior vice president of Root Capital, a nonprofit social investment fund that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses. Liam has played a critical role in leading Root Capital through five years of explosive growth, building the organization’s fundraising, business development, communications, impact assessment and corporate relations. He draws on nearly 20 years of experience working in rural economic development and agricultural value chains in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Prior to joining Root Capital, Liam was director of sustainable coffee for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (now Keurig Green Mountain). He also served as program manager, campaign director and policy advisor for Oxfam America. He holds an M.Ed. in social policy from Harvard University, and a B.S. in agricultural and extension education from Cornell University. Most important, he is a loving husband and proud father of three wonderful kids.
Charlene is the Founder and President of Lodestar Sales & Revenue Management, a consulting firm focused on selling tools and strategies to optimize profit realization. Charlene has been involved in the coffee industry for the last 16 years as a Senior Director for Keurig Green Mountain. Her expertise is in finance and sales to drive change initiatives, building and leading cross-functional teams, and developing and executing strategies to drive results and alignment across the organization. Charlene has a history of coffee industry-related volunteerism, supporting the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, Grounds for Health and Java Jog for a Cause as a board member, grant review committee member, and event volunteer.
Partner, Nzinga International
Kara has 17 years of experience in the field of international humanitarian assistance, complemented by 5 years of experience in the private sector in the fields of international finance and publishing. Her areas of expertise include program management, monitoring and evaluation, communications and organizational development. Her programmatic areas of expertise are food security, HIV&AIDS and livelihoods. She has written papers, guidance and other publications on the topics of HIV, OVC, food security and social protection. Kara is a partner and founding member of Nzinga International, an international consulting firm focused on HIV, food security and nutrition.
Kara has worked as a consultant for the UN WFP, UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, Project Concern International, Tango International and FANTA. She has a Masters degree in Economic and Political Development from Columbia University, a B.S. from the University of Vermont, and holds certificates in Public Health and Livelihoods programming.
Sean is a member of Ben & Jerry’s Global Leadership Team and serves as Director of Public Relations at the company’s headquarters in South Burlington, Vermont. In his role as spokesperson and chief communication strategist, Sean oversees the effort to share Ben & Jerry’s mission, vision and values both near and far. Over his 23 years with the company Sean has been instrumental creating programs, flavors, and managing the relationships with the likes of Elton John, Stephen Colbert and most recently Jimmy Fallon with the flavor Late Night Snack. Ongoing social mission projects for Sean include the company’s Fairtrade sourcing effort and its non-GMO commitment. Sean lives in Hinesburg, Vermont with his wife and two children; in addition to serving on the Food 4 Farmers Board of Directors, Sean volunteers on the DREAM Steering Committee for responsible growth of the mentoring program based in Burlington, Vermont.
President, Vermont Beekeepers Association
Bill holds an A.B. from Harvard College and an M.A. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He has been president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association and the Eastern Apicultural Society. In his varied career, he has been a journalist, high school teacher, politician and is author or co-author of 14 books.
With running partner Rick Peyser, Bill co-authored Brewing Change, Behind the Bean at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters — the inspiring result of those frequent runs and steady conversations. Brewing Change is part travelogue, part social commentary, and part motivating business model for building corporate social responsibility. Brewing Change chronicles Peyser’s 24-year career with an insider’s view of GMCR, one of the largest specialty coffee companies and purchasers of Fair Trade coffee in the world. One hundred percent of the authors’ earnings and 10 percent of Wind Ridge Publishing’s net profits from the sale of Brewing Change benefit Food 4 Farmers.
Ernesto Méndez, PhD
University of Vermont
Ernesto is an Assistant Professor with the Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group at the University of Vermont. His current work analyzes interactions between agriculture, livelihoods, and biodiversity conservation in tropical and temperate landscapes, with an emphasis on small-scale farmers and their organizations. He is a research associate with the Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC) at Antioch University New England, and Adjunct Professor at the International University of Andalucia (Spain).
Ernesto is a founding member of Advising & Interdisciplinary Research for Local Development and Conservation (ASINDEC), in El Salvador, and the Community Agroecology Network (CAN), in California. These partner organizations focus on research and direct support to conservation and rural development efforts with coffee farmer cooperatives in Central America. He holds degrees in Crop Science (California Polytechnic State University), Tropical Agroforestry (Tropical Agriculture Research and Education Center, Costa Rica), and a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Since 1996 Ernesto has worked on interdisciplinary projects related to agroecology, environmental conservation and rural development, as a researcher based in Costa Rica, El Salvador, California, and Vermont.
Eric Nadworny, J.D.
Eric Nadworny is an attorney and has held executive Human Resources positions in healthcare, retail and non-profit organizations. He brings a demonstrated record of strategic and progressive leadership to help businesses meet challenges and respond to competitive pressures. In addition to his professional activities, Eric has been elected twice to public office, has co-authored a book on police policymaking, and has served as a member of Habitat For Humanity and YMCA boards of directors.
Eric is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Boston University School of Law.
Senior Vice President, InterAmerican Coffee
Kayd has been importing and trading specialty green coffee for nearly a decade, and has managed InterAmerican’s San Diego office since 2011. Her dedication to quality, sustainability, long-term relationships with roasters, and partnerships at origin can be felt through her upbeat, positive attitude and contagious enthusiasm for everything coffee related. Kayd spends most of her time drinking coffee, cupping coffee and talking about coffee.
Kayd is Q Certified, active in the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the Coffee Quality Institute. She has been an instructor for SCAA’s cupping education program since 2008. Proficient in French and Spanish, Kayd loves to travel and visits origin often; cupping and sourcing new coffees, hiking around farms and building strong relationships. She has visited and led trips to coffee growing regions in Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and Indonesia. She also loves to play volleyball, snowboard and bike to work.
President, Coffee Gente LLC
Miguel has been involved in agriculture for almost 20 years. His work focuses on creating more sustainable supply chains and creating opportunities for sustainable trade between farmers and workers in the global south and coffee companies in the global north.
From his consulting company, Coffee Gente LLC, Miguel supports coffee companies to secure the long-term supply of the specialty coffee they need while supporting farmers to build more resilient and sustainable communities.
His work with cooperatives, independent smallholder farmers and farm workers helped total Fair Trade coffee imports to increase more than 10 times in 8 years and to reach 1 billion pounds by 2013. Before Fair Trade, Miguel worked in Central America and Ecuador supporting smallholder farmers and in agricultural projects with several products, including bananas, and dry-beans.
He is currently a member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Sustainability Council. He holds an Agricultural Engineering degree from Zamorano University in Honduras and a Masters in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University. He has lived and worked in Ecuador, Honduras, Brazil and the U.S., and he speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Daniele Giovannucci, former food company executive and Senior Consultant to the World Bank Group, began conducting research on sustainability issues in developing nations in 1992. He now regularly advises international bodies and governments (FAO, IFAD, UNCTAD, IDB, EU, USAID, etc.) on agricultural trade competitiveness and rural development strategies for poor regions. He currently directs research on emerging ecological and social standards for The Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA), formed by a consortium of 20 global institutions.
Daniele’s work on the linkages between developing country farmers and global markets focuses on innovative approaches such as emerging ecological and social standards that are fast becoming part of global trade and a basis for Corporate Social Responsibility. Many of his books and papers on markets and agro-enterprise are available at www.DGiovannucci.net.
Vt. Artisan Coffee & Tea
Mané has worked in the specialty coffee industry for 18 years, and prior to that, in the wine industry in California. Mané travels extensively every year to coffee producing countries throughout Central America, South America and Asia where he speaks and teaches seminars on coffee production and quality standards. With most trips, Mané cups coffees from the latest harvests and discovers unique lots of green coffees that he purchases and has shipped back to Vermont to roast. Because of his extensive travels to source, Mané has nurtured direct relationships with many of the coffee farms and families who cultivate the products he sells. Mané often collaborates with the farmer and coops directly in a mutually beneficial way to create great tasting coffees which are fully traceable and are sustainable by current social, economic and environmental indicators.