January 26 | 10:00-11:30 am EST
The third session focuses on how decisions are made to address the needs of those experiencing food insecurity, and who is making those decisions. The session will include a reflection in the way decisions have been made in the past, and opportunities for understanding needs and root causes and making meaningful and high impact decisions together in the future.
Participants will learn how some local agencies and nonprofits worked together in new ways to evaluate changes in demand and supply of food in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Case studies from the Grand Traverse Area, and from Des Moines, Iowa will be featured. Speakers will share information about how data from community members, and about community needs and resources, informs decisions-making within an individual organization, like a food pantry, and also across multiple agencies and entities through collaborative information-sharing and assessment.
View the Pre-session Reading Materials to have a better understanding of the topics that will be covered during Session Three.
Session Three Recording
Session Three Panelists
Director of Treasury and Tax
Mary works in Munson Healthcare in the Treasury department. She ran the food pantry for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church for 18 years as a volunteer leader. She has served as the chair of the Operating Committee of the Northwest Food Coalition since March of 2018. Mary also participated on the systems team that created the Food Security System Map. She has a B. A. in business administration from University of Notre Dame and a Masters of Public Health Administration from the University of Chicago.
Food Coalition Coordinator, Food Rescue Coordinator
Goodwill Industries of Northwest Michigan
Bachelor of Social Work, Central Michigan University
Val works for Goodwill in the Food Rescue program. She coordinates the Northwest Food Coalition monthly member meetings and the gathering of pantry and meal site statistics on people served. She organizes collaborative activities for members such as food drives. She has experience with many food programs serving Northwest Michigan such as Commodity Foods. Val served as a Community Service Coordinator for 27 years at the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency (NMCAA). During her time at NMCAA, Val helped found the Northwest Food Coalition in 1994. While coordinating the Food Coalition, Val also helped start Food Rescue in 2009.
She is a Traverse City native and lives there with her husband and partner in crime. She loves art and floral design.
Megan has spent her career dedicated to community growth and development, land and water conservation and restoration, food and farming systems, housing, transportation, and access to nature and outdoor recreation. Pairing her professional experience in community and organizational development with a personal zeal for building trust and openness in decision-making, Megan founded Parallel Solutions in 2014. http://www.parallelmi.com
She is a 1999 graduate of Miami University (Ohio) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies/Western College Program. She earned a Master of Arts in Organizational Management from Spring Arbor University, and pursued additional training in mediation, mindfulness, and workplace diversity.
Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan
Taylor Moore serves as Manager of Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan, a program of Goodwill Northern Michigan. A culinary graduate and holding a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Political Science with a focus in social policy, Taylor has led Food Rescue’s transition in adopting systems change practices to address food insecurity and food waste. Since Taylor joined the team in 2015, Food Rescue has prioritized access to healthy food by increasing services to and connection with local farmers through its Healthy Harvest program, the Northwest Food Coalition’s Farm to Neighbor Program (F2N), Groundwork’s Local Food Relief program, and, most recently, assisting the Area Agency on Aging’s USDA produce distribution. Taylor understands an equitable food system to be a primary function of sustaining and improving one’s sense of belonging to a community.
Food Equity Specialist
Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities
Christina works as a Food Equity Specialist at the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities in Traverse City, Michigan. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in the Program in the Environment, with a focus on Environmental Justice, from the University of Michigan. Christina farmed vegetables for community supported agriculture programs, farmers markets and schools prior to landing at Groundwork, where she uses this farming experience to build systems that support local farmers and connect fresh, healthy local foods to food pantries and meal sites across the region.
Goodwill Northern Michigan
Dan Buron is the executive director of Goodwill Northern Michigan, a non-profit social enterprise that operates 9 retail and e-commerce businesses that supports the vision of a community:
- Where everyone has a safe and secure place to live.
- Where everyone has access to healthy food.
- Where the working poor have opportunities for training and advancement to family-sustaining wages.
A graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota with a BA in Psychology and a master’s degree in Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dan has 20 years of leadership experience with Goodwill organizations throughout the United Sates. Long a fan of the Northern Michigan region, Dan moved here with his wife and two daughters in 2016. In 2019, Dan completed the Ironman 70.3 Traverse City Triathlon, raising money for Food Rescue as part of the Charity Challenge.
Public Health Planner
District Health Department #10
Regional Community Coordinator
Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region
Erin Barrett, Certified Health Education Specialist, is currently a Public Health Planner for District Health Department #10 and a Regional Community Coordinator for the Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region (NMCHIR). As part of her work with the NMCHIR, Erin supported the development and current implementation of the MiThrive Outcomes Framework. Additionally, the NMCHIR is committed to increasing coordination and alignment across sectors, amplifying resident voice and resident power, and promoting health equity through system policies and practices.
Erin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health Education from Central Michigan University. Erin is in her final semester of graduate school, obtaining a Master of Public Health with a concentration in health disparities at the University of Indianapolis. Erin’s academic and professional interests include health equity, social justice, community engagement, and population health. Erin also serves as Member at Large for the Society of Public Health Education – Great Lakes Chapter. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering, traveling (pre-pandemic), and learning new skills.
Chief Executive Officer
Des Moines Area Religious Council
Matt Unger has been CEO of the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) since July, 2019. Unger came to DMARC after a 6+ year tenure at the Food Bank of Iowa which saw him begin as Program Manager and finish his time there as Chief Operating Officer. His leadership at the Food Bank included the implementation of three new programs, a merger with the Food Bank of Southern Iowa, and oversight of the Food Bank’s warehouse remodel.
Prior to joining the non-profit sector, Matt spent more than a dozen years working in the world of political campaigns and management of state government. His political career spanned multiple Iowa Caucus campaigns, Iowa Gubernatorial campaigns, and a four year stint as Chief of Staff to Lt. Governor Patty Judge. Judge and Unger then partnered in a consulting firm, PJJ Solutions, where they would focus not just on political campaigns, but business and organizational strategy as well as public policy.
Originally from Wisconsin, and with a stint in Illinois between, Matt has called Des Moines home for nearly twenty five years.
Data, Analytics, and Program Coordinator
Des Moines Area Religious Council
Daniel Beck has been with DMARC since 2010 in varying roles as the organization has evolved. Though the employment title and purview has modified as well, he has served as Data, Analytics, and Program Coordinator since 2013. With an educational background that included certifications as a nutritionist and a fitness/wellness consultant, the fit with DMARC was natural as the network began more heavily focusing on its work involving community wellness and nutrition in its food pantries. Daniel is a passionate advocate for equity of nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices for the under assisted communities that have long been deprived of affordable choices to improve family health and wellness. In this capacity, Daniel was one of the developers of DMARC’s health incentive, Food Pantry 2.0 model in an effort to evolve the function of what a food pantry is, to include a more choice laden, dignified environment.
Facilitator/ Technical Support
District Director – District 3
Michigan State University Extension
Jennifer serves as the District Three Director and provides administrative oversight for the six county MSU Extension offices in Northwest Lower Michigan including; Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Kalkaska and Manistee Counties. She has worked for MSU Extension for 22 years and prior to this assignment she worked as an extension educator providing supervision for SNAP-Ed nutrition instructors as well as taught food safety education for the community. She has been active in multiple leadership positions within her community; PTO president at two schools as well as served as President of MEAFCS (Michigan Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science Educators). Jennifer has been an active member of the Northwest Food Coalition by linking the nutrition and food safety resources to the pantry members.
She lives in Traverse City with her two daughters and her golden doodle. Jennifer enjoys participating in her daughter’s school and sporting events as well as hiking on our beautiful northern Michigan trails or boating on the bay.