Who We Are

REAP’s mission is to transform communities, economies and lives through the power of good food
  • 1997

    REAP Food Group was originally founded under the name Dane County Research, Education, Action and Policy on Food Group. A diverse group of academics, elected officials, and citizens concerned about food issues came together to discuss galvanizing civic engagement through local sustainable food.

  • 1999

    Planning for the Food For Thought Festival begins. For the first time, all of the passionate people and groups engaged in sustainable food work presented together publicly, raising awareness of what it means to build a sustainable food system.

  • 2002

    REAP volunteers created the Farm Fresh Atlas in partnership with the UW Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) and the Dane County Farmers’ Market. The online version launched in 2017 at farmfreshatlas.org.

  • 2013

    A growing understanding and awareness of local food and sustainability combined with local coalitions, tasks forces, and staff helped us add more annual events like the Buy Fresh Buy Local program and Farm to School programs. We also changed our name and officially became REAP Food Group, no longer an acronym.

  • 2020

    We still do our work with the help of volunteers, and provide a voice for the movement working to grow a food system that is environmental and economically sustainable. Our commitment to connect eaters, producers, buyers, community members, and policy makers – to nourish the links between land and table - is as strong as ever.

MEET OUR TEAM
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HELEN SARAKINOSEXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Helen's BIO

Helen Sarakinos is a seasoned advocate and organizer for issues that impact our community’s kids, citizens, food, and water. As a program and Policy Director of River Alliance of Wisconsin for 15 years, she worked with residents, businesses, farmers, municipalities and legislators across the state to protect access to clean water and to ensure citizens have a say in decisions about how to use it. Helen received her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from McGill University in Montreal. She lives on the near east-side of Madison with her husband Jake, son Milo, and daughter Kyra, where they try to get everywhere by bike as much as possible, rarely miss the weekly farmers’ market and jealously guard their front yard peaches from covetous neighbors every fall.

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HALEY TRAUN – FARM TO SCHOOL & COMMUNITY INTERIM DIRECTOR

Haley's BIO

Haley, originally from La Crescent, MN / La Crosse, WI, attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison and graduated in 2017 with bachelor’s degrees in History and Environmental Studies. She discovered a passion for sustainability and environmental education after spending a semester studying the natural history of the Colorado Plateau region from the walls of a tent. After a summer internship as a Troy Kid’s Garden Educator through Community Groundworks, she began an AmeriCorps service year for REAP’s Farm to School Program. Teaching nutrition and cooking to Madison students allowed her to expand on experiences of working with youth of all backgrounds and to further connect with the Madison food and agricultural communities. She transitioned to the role of Farm to School Education Coordinator with REAP after completing AmeriCorps in August 2018, and is thrilled to lead this year’s four AmeriCorps Nutrition Educators. When she’s not dressing up as vegetables for kids and growing the next generation of eaters, she enjoys cooking, flexing her (light) green thumb, any outdoor activity, and experiencing live music.

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SUSAN COFFINADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR

Susan's BIO

Convinced that every vibrant organization needs a stable base, Susan has honed her financial and organizational skills at a number of Willy Street businesses, including Nature’s Bakery, Red Caboose Day Care Center, and most recently, TDS Custom Construction. After years of raising sheep and living on a community-run vegetable farm in southern Dane County, she is now enjoying the pleasures of life in on the near east side. And while she has traded in her sheep for a pair of zebra finches, she continues to be fascinated by fiber arts in all forms, often trailing yarn and knitting needles into staff meetings and spending evenings stitching colorful art quilts. She also enjoys canning tomatoes in the fall, hanging out with her retired sheepdog Bella, and nurturing an ever-expanding collection of plants in her sunny river-view windows.

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NOAH BLOEDORN – EVENTS COORDINATOR & FARM FRESH ATLAS MANAGER

Noah's BIO

Noah grew up in Kenosha, WI before moving to the Isthmus to attend the University of Wisconsin Madison. Growing up in a politically active family, he developed an enthusiasm for learning about environmental, economic and social justice issues. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a certificate in Sustainability in the spring of 2018. After working various jobs in the food industry throughout high school and college, he saw how our food system touched the topics he was passionate about and food systems quickly became the focus of his papers. In 2016, he joined REAP as a Development Intern and has evolved into REAP’s Events Coordinator and Farm Fresh Atlas Manager. Through these roles he is excited to expand on REAP’s work to build community in our local food system. When he’s not at REAP you can probably catch Noah reading, cooking, or trying to find a game of pick-up basketball.

BOARD MEMBERS

OFFICERS


DREW HOWICK (Chair)
Founder, Howick Associates


NAN FEY (Vice-Chair)


RUSS LEMMON (Treasurer)
UW Health Northeast Family Medical Center


SHARON LEZBERG
Community & Economic Development Educator, Dane County UW-Extension


DIRECTORS


ADAM BARR
Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce


HEATHER CLEFISCH
Vice President & Division General Counsel, Spectrum Brands


JILL JACKLITZ
Director of Education, University of Wisconsin, Center for Patient Partnerships


ANDREW HANSON
Perkins Coie LLP


STEVE STUMBRAS
Director of Sales and Solutions, Purple Cow Organics



NIC MINK
Sitka Salmon Shares


SUSAN TROLLER COSGROVE
Author, Journalist, Owner of Cluck the Chicken Store


LAUREN RUDERSDORF
Raleigh’s Hillside Farm, Midwest Environmental Advocates


VOLUNTEER
From prepping snacks for kids to assisting at events, volunteers keep us going.
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Want to support building a healthful, sustainable, and local food system?
CAREERS & INTERNSHIPS
Be part of the movement! Our members are passionate about building a strong local food system.
There are no opportunities at this time.
REAP Food Group values diverse life experience in its staff and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Those who are multilingual and/or multicultural, members of racial/ethnic minority groups, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Celebrating Local & Sustainable Eating
EVENTS
REAP events celebrate Southern Wisconsin’s bounty and connect eaters and producers.
EVENTSEVENTS
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