Staff


Alyssa Charney, Policy Specialist

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Alyssa holds an M.S. in Agriculture and Food Policy and an M.P.H from Tufts University.  She also has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Vassar College.  As a FoodCorps member in rural Montana, Alyssa established and expanded a farm to school program, and she has worked on food and agriculture policy at the Center for Rural Affairs, New England Farmers Union, and the National Farm to School Network.  After interning with NSAC while in graduate school, she was the lead contributor to the 2015 Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program. Alyssa staffs NSAC’s Conservation, Energy, and Environment Committee.

Jeremy Emmi, Managing Director

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Jeremy oversees NSAC operations, capacity-building and diversification of the coalition, and strategic planning, with a goal of winning on the coalition’s shared issues.  He previously worked as Network Coordinator for the RE-AMP Network, a systems mapping and alignment effort focused on climate change advocacy in the Midwest; prior to that, he was Executive Director of the Michigan Nature Association, a statewide land trust.  He holds a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School and a B.S. in Botany and Plant Pathology from Michigan State University.

Emma Ertinger, Operations Coordinator

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Emma assists with NSAC operations and budget, and coordinates NSAC’s annual meetings. Previously she worked for the New York City Council as an aide to Deputy Leader for Policy Brad Lander. Prior to that, she served as an AmeriCorps Member in Brooklyn, working on SNAP, WIC, and Medicaid enrollment. She holds an MPA from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a B.A. in Anthropology from Nazareth College.

Shavaun Evans, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator

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Shavaun holds an M.Ed. in Community Development Action from Vanderbilt University and an undergraduate degree from Centre College in Danville, KY. She has organized grassroots food and farming campaigns in the Southeastern U.S., including a successful parent and student-led school food reform campaign in Nashville, TN. She’s also collaborated with advocates in Tennessee and Kentucky to manage farmers’ markets, community gardens, and local policy campaigns. Shavaun collaborates with NSAC staff and members to implement the coalition’s grassroots campaigns.

Greg Fogel, Senior Policy Specialist

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Greg is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of California, Berkeley.  He holds an M.S. in Environmental Planning and a Master of Public Policy degree.  Greg has worked as a campaign coordinator, an educator, a researcher, and an advocate in the U.S. and abroad.  Greg staffs NSAC’s Conservation, Energy, and Environment Committee and coordinates NSAC’s annual appropriations work.

Sarah Hackney, Grassroots Director

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Sarah works with NSAC’s member organizations and allies to empower and mobilize grassroots food and farm voices nationwide. She staffs NSAC’s Grassroots Council and facilitates its work developing grassroots advocacy campaigns. Raised in rural Florida, her prior work has included community-led efforts to improve small farm viability, increase fresh food access, and build leadership in rural communities in the Pacific Northwest.  She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College.

Ferd Hoefner, Policy Director

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Ferd has been NSAC’s senior Washington, D.C., representative since its founding in 1988 and oversees NSAC’s federal policy work. Prior to his work with NSAC, for nearly a decade he represented Interfaith Action for Economic Justice and its predecessor, the Interreligious Taskforce on U.S. Food Policy, on federal farm, food, and development policy. He has consulted with many NGOs and has served on numerous USDA advisory committees. A graduate of Oberlin College, he has also undertaken graduate work in ethics and economics at Wesley Theological Seminary and American University.

Wes King, Policy Specialist

Wes has worked on sustainability and food policy issues for the past 8 years. He staffs NSAC’s Marketing, Food Systems and Rural Development Committee. Wes spent the past 6 years at NSAC member organization, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, working on food access, farmers markets and working-lands conservation policy; and leading efforts to create a more risk and scale appropriate regulatory environment for farms and local food businesses. Prior to that he worked for the Illinois Environmental Council. Wes holds an M.A. and B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois.

Reana Kovalcik, Associate Director for Communications and Development

Reana supports NSAC’s policy and grassroots efforts by translating challenging policy language into digestible and actionable communications and by providing the development support needed for robust fundraising. Reana grew up in the Chicago area and earned her BA in Urban Policy from De Paul University. She later moved to NYC, where earned her MA in Urban Policy Analysis from The New School. While there, she worked for healthier school food programs and policies at Wellness in the Schools and on local food legislation with New York City Council Member Gale Brewer, with whom she helped develop NYC’s first package of local food sourcing legislation in 2011.

Sophia Kruszewski, Policy Specialist

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Sophia leads the coalition’s work on food safety, with a focus on FDA’s new rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  Sophia staffs NSAC’s Food System Integrity Committee, and has contributed to NSAC’s work on conservation, climate and energy, and crop insurance.  She grew up on a diversified family farm in Michigan, and is a graduate of Vermont Law School and the University of Michigan.

Juli Obudzinski, Senior Policy Specialist

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Juli holds an M.S. in Agriculture and Food Policy from Tufts University.  She has researched regional food production capacities, coordinated federal grant programs on organic and specialty crop research, and helped develop a policy platform for expanding Iowa’s local food economy.  She staffs NSAC’s Research, Education, and Extension Committee and also works on beginning and socially disadvantaged farmer initiatives.

Paul Wolfe, Policy Specialist

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Paul has worked on sustainability and food issues in the United States Senate for over 8 years. He holds a J.D. from the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and a B.A. in Political Science from Gonzaga University. Paul has spent the last six years working for Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).  Prior to that he was the Senior Policy Analyst for the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production where he contributed to the Commission’s final report and led its Congressional education efforts.  Prior to that he worked for Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD). Paul handles NSAC’s Farming Opportunities and Fair Competition Committee which seeks to bring fairness to the structure of agriculture for all types of farmers, especially new and beginning farmers.