Session 6 – What’s Next? Chartering a Path Forward for Food Security for Our Community

March 9, 2021 | 10:00-11:30 am EST

This session will explore opportunities for next steps toward becoming a more food secure region. This session will summarize the resources, strengths, challenges, and proposed solutions shared in the first five sessions. Participants will be invited to weigh in and share reflections and help prioritize ideas for action, including short and long-term solutions to address food insecurity and related issues such as housing, child care, health care, and transportation.

Register for one or all of the sessions on Michigan State University Extension registration page.


Session Six Panelists


Mary Clulo
Director of Treasury and Tax
Munson Healthcare

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.


Val Stone
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 Olds
Parallel Solutions

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.

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.


Dan Buron
Executive Director
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.


Tom Emling
Community Advisory Member
Goodwill Food Rescue

Tom Emling is a community volunteer at Our Neighbors’ Garden, hosted by Traverse City’s Central United Methodist Church.

Tom is also a Goodwill Food Rescue community advisory member, in cooperation with Our Neighbors’ Garden, and in partnership with the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District Career-Tech Center Agriscience and Natural Resources’ 11th and 12 grade students academic, greenhouse, and service-learning program, lead by their teacher Brian Matchett.

Until his recent retirement, Tom served for more than 30 years as Michigan State University’s Northern Michigan and Upper Peninsula – Community Partners regional director.


Kris Thomas
Community Volunteer

Kris has a degree in nuclear engineering from The University of Michigan and spent her career working in the nuclear power field. Since moving from Washington D.C. to Northwest Michigan, she has served as a community volunteer for several organizations, including Rotary and the Northwest Food Coalition. She currently serves on several boards and committees for the Munson Healthcare System.

Facilitator/ Technical Support

Jennifer Berkey
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. 

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