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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hannah started as REAP’s Communications Director in August 2015. As the communications guru, she is responsible for promoting REAP’s programs and events via social media, newsletters, web and graphic design. She has a Master of Public Health from UW-Madison and a graduate certificate in health communication from the University of Sydney in Australia. Hannah is passionate about food systems change and its potential to decrease the incidence of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. She supports increased transparency in food marketing and policy changes which can improve food justice by ensuring people have the knowledge and resources they need to regain power in food decisions. Prior to REAP, she held marketing roles at several healthcare organizations including the American Parkinson Disease Association, and most recently Dean & St. Mary’s. Hannah enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, practicing yoga and paddle boarding in her free time.
Natasha began managing REAP’s Farm to School Program in August 2013. She runs the weekly REAP Snack Program and works closely with the Madison Metropolitan School District Food and Nutrition Department to increase and promote district purchasing of locally-grown fruits and veggies. Originally from Gloucester, Massachusetts, Natasha grew up romping the oceanside but has come to love the countryside almost as much. After attending college in Rhode Island, Natasha moved to Madison for graduate school, studying local and sustainable food systems at UW-Madison. She believes that the health of both our children and our farmers is crucial and loves that farm to school bundles the interests of students, families, farmers, communities, and environments. In her spare time, she likes growing things, throwing things, the outdoors, and good company.
JILL JACKLITZ (Chair)
Director of Education, University of Wisconsin, Center for Patient Partnerships
DREW HOWICK (Vice-Chair)
Leadership and Organization Development National Practice Director, Patina Solutions
NAN PETERSON (Secretary)
Child Health Advocacy Program Director, American Family Children’s Hospital
STEVE STUMBRAS (Treasurer)
Director of Sales and Solutions, Purple Cow Organics
Vice President & Division General Counsel, Spectrum Brands
Director of Strategy and Innovation, UnityPoint Health – Meriter
Madison Food Policy Council
Assistant Director – Public Policy, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
Senior Attorney, Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau
Cheesemaker/Farmer, Landmark Creamery and Windy Fleece Farm
Community & Economic Development Educator, Dane County UW-Extension
SUSAN TROLLER COSGROVE
Author, Journalist, Owner of Cluck the Chicken Store