FED 2019 Speakers

We're honored to have the following speakers at FED: Food Expo & Discussion this year!


root to shoot cooking in your own kitchen


Abra Berens

Abra Berens is a chef, former farmer, and writer. She believes that the meals we eat should change with the seasons and that their ingredients should come from nearby. She strives to make simple, delicious meals that champions the region. She started cooking at the storied Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, MI. She then went on to train in the garden-focused kitchen at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, Ireland. In 2009 she co-founded Bare Knuckle Farm in Northport, MI, where she farmed and cooked for 8 years. After years of farming, she returned to the kitchen full time, opening and helming the café at Local Foods in Chicago, IL. In 2017, she left her Executive Chef position to return to the mitten state to join the team at Granor Farm in Three Oaks, MI, where she combines her love of farms and restaurants to create one-of-a-kind dinners on the farm celebrating the best of South West Michigan’s diverse agriculture.

Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables is her first cookbook and is rooted in her experiences as a chef, former farmer, and everyday eater. It is a teaching cookbook that aims to help build reader’s confidence in preparing vegetables by providing easy-to-follow recipes, detailed explanation of cooking techniques, and a myriad of variations for each recipe to inspire future dishes.



Nate Loucks

Nate Loucks is a pastor, peacemaker, and social entrepreneur. In 2010, he was the church planter of State Street Community Church in downtown LaPorte. State Street is a church community cultivating a just and generous expression of the Christian faith through tangible expressions of love and grace. He is also the President and Chief Peace Officer of the Pax Center. The Pax Center is located in downtown LaPorte as well. The mission of the Pax Center is to engage the poverties of hunger and loneliness. In 2016, in a collaboration with the City of LaPorte and the Main Street Association, the Pax Center became the visionary partner of the Jackson Street Community Garden.

Food Rescue

Find out about innovative programs around Indiana addressing food waste and food insecurity at the same time

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Steve Beekman

Steve Beekman is the executive director of the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, where he has been leading the staff, volunteers and community in the fight against hunger for over five years. He holds a Master's Degree in Leadership Development, with a focus on nonprofit. Steve has more than 20 years of nonprofit leadership experience, including roles with the American Cancer Society and Boys & Girls Clubs.


Annie Marie Radtke

Society of St. Andrews

Ann Radtke began as the Program Coordinator for Society of St. Andrew in May of 2018, five months after the Indiana Regional office opened in Indianapolis. Ann, together with Regional Director Dawn Barnes, is working to establish and build a volunteer fueled gleaning program in Indiana. Society of St. Andrew covers all 92 counties in the state. The organization focuses on building relationships between farmers, volunteers, faith based organizations and members of the community committed to helping end hunger in Indiana and also address environmental and sustainability efforts through the reduction of food waste at the agricultural level.

In the 2018 season, Society of St. Andrew along with over 700 volunteers and 33 farmers have helped to save and distribute over 300,000 pounds of produce throughout the state of Indiana. Ann brings to her position a passion for food, agriculture and community building. As owner of Little Cottage on the Valley Ann dove into market farming with both feet when she moved to Johnson County to try her hand at Urban Farming on a one acre plot. Ann spent two years growing flowers which she arranged and sold at farmers markets in and around Indianapolis along with homemade breads, fresh greens and tomatoes. Ann believes that by connecting people to one another through agriculture and through the sharing of food we can build bridges and create strong community supports to help others in times of need. When the opportunity to work with communities, volunteers and farmers across the state to reduce food waste and help provide farm fresh food to underserved communities arose, Ann jumped at the opportunity to rise to the occasion.

Ann is excited and motivated to continue to build upon the relationships created over the past year and is looking forward to creating new connections to help rescue more food to help feed food insecure Hoosiers across the state.


Nora Spitznogle

Nora Spitznogle is Senior Director of Program for Second Helpings, Inc. She oversees the Hunger Relief, Culinary Job Training, and Food Rescue programs as well as the volunteers and partner agencies. Nora is an Indiana native, growing up on a farm in Boone County. She graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management, working in the casual dining sector before coming to Second Helpings. She is a columnist for the Broad Ripple Gazette and a regular contributor to NUVO Newsweekly.


Jim Conklin

Jim was born and raised in Elkhart, Indiana. He has been married to his wife, Amy, for 23 years and has two boys. Tyler (23) is a student at IUSB studying accounting and Derek (19) is a student at IUPUI studying Business Administration. Jim has a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from Butler University and a Masters in Accounting from IUSB. He is currently the Director of Finance for a small family owned company in Bremen, IN called Headsight and the Co-Founder and Board President of Cultivate Culinary School and Catering. Jim has 20 years of experience in working in various roles of accounting for multiple companies in the Northern Indiana area and 5 years of experience in Public Accounting.

Jim is deeply inspired by his Faith to help others in need. A major medical battle in 2010 motivated him to start walking out his faith by serving on the board for the Crossing, a local faith-based alternative school and inspired him to start Cultivate. Cultivate was formed in August 2016 just as a culinary school for students at the Crossing and their food rescue operations begun after a visit to 2nd Helping in Indianapolis in the spring of 2017. Cultivate has opened Jim's eyes to the needs of members of our community especially around food insecurity.

Home Apothecary

This workshop will give you the knowledge and skills to begin your journey in making your own tinctures, herbal salves, medicinal teas and syrups.


Jennifer Shelhart

Jennifer is a herbalist, and owner of Kinfolk Herbs, a mobile herb and tea shop promoting do it yourself herbal remedies and her own line of essential oils. As a conservationist, Jennifer serves on the invasive species committee for Valparaiso Chain of Lakes Watershed and Swarner Nature Preserve. As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, Jennifer founded multiple non profit organizations related to ecology and social justice. In 2018, she started the first of its kind metaphysical exposition in NWI with great success. "Vibe After 5" a now annual event features topics such as holistic wellness, philosophy, and awareness of the relationship between mind and matter. At home on 3 acres Jennifer is raising an urban homestead including herbs, garden vegetables, chickens, aquaponic fish, honey bees and 4 awesome kids.


Get your hands dirty learning about backyard composting and building soil health in the garden.

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Christine Maloney

Christine, an Advanced Permaculture Designer and Educator, received her certifications through the Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA) in 2016 and 2017, but has been applying permaculture principles and techniques in her life for many years. She is the lead designer and educator for Grounds for Growth, and hosts Permaculture Primers, Workshops and Socials around northwest Indiana. She has established the NWI Permaculture Facebook page, as well as the NWI Permaculture Meetup group to reach out to and connect those interested in regenerating our culture and restoring balanced ecological and social practices by mimicking nature's harmonious systems. With nearly two decades of teaching experience, she has assisted several small businesses in their effort to become more environmentally friendly through composting and recycling, and has composted over 9,000 pounds of food and paper waste. For the past year and a half, she has worked at Shirley Heinze Land Trust as their Education Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator. Her goals include developing a household composting program for the region, pursuing a Diploma of Permaculture Education, and continuing to build community resiliency and connections.

Seed Saving

Learn techniques for saving seeds, saving money and regenerating biodiversity!


Ben Cohen

Bevin (Ben) Cohen is an author, herbalist, gardener, seed saver and wanderer. He is also the founder of MI Seed Library, a community seed sharing initiative that has worked closely with a number of communities to help establish seed library programs across his home state and beyond. He spends his time outside of his gardens offering workshops and lectures across the country on the benefits of living closer to the land through seeds, herbs and locally grown food. Bevin finds himself at home wherever his hands are in the soil, sowing the seeds of yesterday to reap the bountiful harvest of tomorrow.

Author of FROM OUR SEEDS & THEIR KEEPERS; a collection of stories

Just a few generations ago we were a nation of seed savers because it was essential to our survival. Many of us have lost touch with this ancient practice, but the knowledge is still inside each and every one of us just waiting to be unlocked. As the demand for locally grown food increases, the demand for local seed is not far behind. After all, food is only as local as the seed that grows it.

There are seed stories within all of us and there are new stories waiting to be written every day. The pages of this book are filled with tales from many seeds and their keepers; meant to inspire and entertain you, but most importantly, these stories will cause you to ask yourself the most important question,

“Whats YOUR seed story?”

Farms to Schools

Learn how one local school is making farms-to-schools a multidisciplinary program and find out more about the new statewide initiative “Indiana Grown for schools.”

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Naima Gardner

Naima is a recent graduate of Indiana University’s Master of Public Health program. Naima also has a degree in culinary arts, worked as a chef before graduate school and served as the operational coordinator for the Indiana Healthy Food Access Coalition and Campaign Coordinator for Healthy Food Financing for the American Heart Association. She now serves as the Nutrition Coordinator for the Indiana State Department of Health, overseeing the newly launched Indiana Grown Farms to Schools program. She has a passion for social justice and health equity and looks forward to a long career working for meaningful policy change that will improve health and expand access for our most vulnerable populations. Naima was born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana where she currently resides with her husband, Chris, and daughter, Syeeda.

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Josh Craig

Joshua Craig is the Media Specialist at Munster High School and has lived and worked around the country from North Carolina to California and now resides in Hammond, Indiana. He is a passionate advocate for children, a father, and an enthusiastic if amateur home cook.


Tanera Winters

Tanera Winters has been in K-12 foodservice industry for just over 20 years. She has worked in a variety of school districts starting off as a food service supervisor in the Chicago Public Schools. Over the course of her career she has had a variety of positions from assistant director, director of food service, purchasing analyst, production manager, and district manager in large and small districts.

She currently is the director of dining services at School Town of Munster.

Eating Local Every Day

Foraging, preserving and more

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Foy Spicer

Foy Spicer is a local food advocate living in Wabash County, Indiana. A former Gabis Arboretum Horticulturist, she currently works seasonally on three small farms: RiverRidge, Joyfield and Hawkins. Between her home vegetable garden and the farms, she has been preserving the harvest to feed her family of four sustainably since 2012. Some of her recipes and garden adventures can be found at www.FoyUpdate.blogspot.com.

Advocacy in the Food System

Making real change in our local food system and beyond.

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Sherri Dugger

Sherri Dugger serves as Executive Director of Indiana Farmers Union, as a rural affairs consultant for The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and as a Midwest outreach consultant for Earthjustice. A food safety trainer and certified farmers market manager, Sherri regularly presents at workshops and conferences and works extensively with farmers and farm organization leaders throughout the state. An advocate for local and regional food systems, environmental sustainability, humane animal agriculture, and diversified family farming, Sherri also frequently lobbies at the Indiana Statehouse and on Capitol Hill. She is a member of both the Indiana Agriculture Advisory Council and the National Agricultural Advisory Council for HSUS.

Sherri resides on a small farm in Morristown, Indiana, with her husband, Randy, and their dogs, cats, donkeys, goats, alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. At Dugger Family Farm (duggerfamilyfarm.com), the Duggers manage an on-farm store, where they sell Indiana-made products. They grow vegetables and produce specialty jams through their private label, Kick Out The Jams.

Food safety on the farm

Get an introduction or refresh yourself on the food safety modernization act (fsma) and your farm food safety plan

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Nathan Boone

Nathan Boone is a seasoned organic farmer with more than 20 years of experience in produce and flower production in California and New Mexico. He also works as an agricultural consultant in food safety training, transitioning to organic production and beginning farm business planning and financial management.

Nathan grew up farming on a conventional grain and livestock operation in Boone County, Indiana. After graduating from DePauw University, he migrated West to explore organic food production. In 1998, he was hired by Seeds of Change to manage their 7 acre certified organic research farm in Northern New Mexico. Shortly after, Nathan moved to Sonoma County, California to manage Oak Hill Farm, a well established 40 acre organic operation specializing in produce, ornamentals and field-grown flowers.

After managing these farms, Nathan launched his own operation, First Light Farm in Sebastopol, CA. Within 5 years, First Light Farm grew into a dynamic 20 acre operation marketing through a CSA program, farm stand, 5 farmers markets, a pumpkin patch, restaurant accounts and wholesale distribution to 6 Whole Food Markets stores in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In 2015, Nathan sold First Light Farm and moved back to Indiana to take over the family farm. Boone Family Farms is 200 acres with 70 acres currently in transition to organic certification.

Community Resource Mapping


Christina Garza

Christina has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit organizational development, program evaluation, youth workforce development, fundraising, and strategic partnerships. Having dedicated her career to strengthening the nonprofit sector to deliver transformative, high impact services that improve people’s daily lives, Christina is especially passionate about developing non-profit professionals to carry out mission and vision. The Chicago native holds a master’s degree in political science, and is a licensed minister. Christina is also an adoptive mother and an active foster grandparent. When she’s not capacity building, she enjoys salsa dancing, antiquing and traveling.

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Kathy Sipple

Kathy Sipple is a local social systems pioneer. Her areas of practice range from social media organizing to leading the local food swap and timebank. She brings a message of radical collaboration and will be sharing tools that can be used at the grassroots level to co-create food access solutions and build more resilient, sustainable communities.