Our staff is the lifeblood of our organization, working hard to reach our goals every day. Their commitment, expertise, and professionalism are second to none. Read more about our staff below.


Dawn Plummer

Executive Director

Dawn has extensive experience serving as director, co-founder and coordinator of local, national and international networks, researcher, coalition builder, community organizer, fundraiser, event and program developer, and has worked for 19 years alongside leaders most impacted by critical issues of food, food systems, as well as economic, social and racial inequality.

Since 2014, Dawn has worked with her team to strengthen the Council as a regional mechanism for food systems decision-making, priority setting and cross sectoral collaboration that aims to build a just, equitable and sustainable food system. She has served in various leadership roles working on issues of poverty, food, sustainable agriculture, health, human rights and community development. Dawn has an MA from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dawn sits on the following advisory boards:

Dawn is a member of the following organizations:


Sarah Buranskas

Project Manager

Sarah provides outreach, coordination and research support to the Council’s Food & Health Equity Working Group and Food Access Initiatives subcommittee and related projects. Previously, she worked as an AmeriCorps Community HealthCorps member at several Federally Qualified Health Centers aiding patients with state benefit applications, as well as a volunteer and site coordinator at urban gardens in both Lansing, MI and Santiago, Chile. In Chile, she was a research assistant on the school food environment in Santiago public schools, specifically focusing on the free school meals program. Most recently, she completed a Master of Public Health at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, where she focused on health behavior and food systems.

Sarah is a member of the following organizations:


Karlin Lamberto

Project Manager

Karlin serves the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council as Project Manager. In this position she provides outreach, coordination and research support to the Council, the Urban Agriculture Working Group and related projects.

Prior to joining the Council Karlin worked in agricultural sales, marketing and distribution in support of Southwestern Pennsylvania family farms. In this role she also worked in program development, grant writing and administration, and client relations. Before entering regional food systems work, Karlin lived and worked in Southern Arizona as an environmental consultant with a regulatory focus on the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Arizona. Karlin is driven professionally and personally by the central importance and implications of our food system on our families, our health and the health of our planet.  

Karlin sits on the following advisory boards:

Karlin is a member of the following organizations:


Sam Applefield

GPFAP Project Coordinator

Sam is excited to be coordinating the Food Policy Council's effort to develop a Greater Pittsburgh Food Action Plan. A recent graduate of the Master's in Food Studies program at Chatham University, Sam is passionate about building stronger regional food systems. Previously, Sam has worked in environmental conservation, international development, and community development. He has a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from Goucher College.


Steering Committee

Our Steering Committee is a diverse group of hard working people that help the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council develop our strategic direction and ensure we’re meeting and exceeding our goals. Learn more about them below.


Anne Marie Kuchera

UPMC Children’s Hospital Pittsburgh Healthy Schools Program

Anne Marie serves as the Director of Community Health for UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh where her responsibilities include identifying health needs of the community and integrating services between community-based and hospital systems that address these needs, with particular attention to the social, behavioral, and environmental factors that influence health.  She has a background as both a licensed nutritionist and licensed counselor, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh. 


Blair Schoenborn

Healthy Food Access Program Manager, Bridgeway Capital

As Healthy Food Access Program Manager at Bridgeway Capital, Blair is responsible for developing and executing financing strategies related to improving food access in western Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Bridgeway Capital, Blair served as a senior analyst at BNY Mellon and was instrumental in launching their global Social Investing initiative. She brings 10 years of project management, stakeholder engagement, and strategic communications experience in both the public and private sectors to the PFPC. Blair holds an MBA in Sustainable Business Practices from Duquesne University and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Allegheny College.


Claudy Pierre

Owner, Eminent Hospitality, Arnold’s Coffee and Tea & The E.A.T INITIATIVE

In a Haitian-American household in Brooklyn, cooking became Chef Claudy’s escape as he helped his grandmother create meals for their large family. After graduating high school, Claudy moved to Pittsburgh, PA to pursue culinary arts. His commitment to community has resulted in partnerships with the American Heart Association, the YMCA, community organizations across the nation, and his newest venture: Arnold’s Coffee and Tea, LLC on the Northside.  Chef Claudy is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and a regular on KDKA's Lynn Hayes-Freeland Show. His community is his inspiration to be the best father, brother, friend, and chef he can be.

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Hannah E. Hardy

Chronic Disease Prevention Program Manager, Allegheny County Health Department

Hannah E. Hardy is the Manager for the Chronic Disease Prevention Program at the Allegheny County Health Department. In her current role Hannah is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the countywide health and wellness campaign called Live Well Allegheny. Hannah has a 18-year career working in a mixture of both non-profit and local government positions in the areas of community development, public health and the environment. Hannah received her Master in Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public & International Affairs and a Bachelor Degree from Miami University of Ohio. She recently started in the PhD in Community Engagement Program at Point Park University. She lives in the City of Pittsburgh with her husband and two sons.

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Heather Manzo

Executive Director, Allegheny County Conservation District

Heather Manzo has a rich background in community and economic development and land use policies. Currently, she is the Executive Director of Allegheny County Conservation District. She previously served as Associate Director for the Northeast Center for Rural Development and Extension Educator at the Pennsylvania State University and was a founding member of the trans-disciplinary field of food systems. 


Helen Gerhardt

Grassroots Organizer, Just Harvest

Information on Helen coming soon!


Jake Seltman

Executive Director, Grow Pittsburgh

Jake Seltman has over ten years of experience in nonprofit leadership with a focus on education, social justice and environmental sustainability.  In his role as Executive Director of the urban agriculture nonprofit Grow Pittsburgh, he is honored to guide the organization towards its mission to teach people how to grow food and to promote the benefits that gardens bring to our neighborhoods.  He believes strongly that growing food is one of the keys to supporting healthy communities and can be a catalyst towards significant and positive social, economic and environmental change.


Jamil Bey

President and CEO, UrbanKind Institute

Jamil is a researcher, analyst, and consultant specializing in challenging common assumptions about ordinary concerns while bringing alternative perspectives for consideration. His integrated systems view of the world provides highly contextualized conclusions, and recommendations that consider the interconnectivity of economics, politics, history, culture, health, social movements, and the environment in his analyses. As the Executive Director of the UrbanKind Institute, Jamil provides an authoritative perspective on the Institute’s three focus areas: Expanding Equity, and Justice; Strengthening the Voices and Participation of Residents; and Improving Youth.

Jamil earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education as well as a Master’s degree and a Ph.D., both in geography all from Penn State University. Growing up in Beltzhoover, Jamil spent much time with a close-knit family regularly discussing injustices in political, economic, and education systems in the US. As an undergraduate, Jamil’s activist identity solidified through participation in various movements to champion justice, equity, and inclusion.


Jonathan Burgess

Policy Director | Urban Agriculture Program lead, Allegheny County Conservation District

Jonathan Burgess is the Programs and Policy Director for the Allegheny County Conservation District (ACCD), where he oversees soil and water programming and legislative engagement work. In particular, he focuses on soils, agriculture, and environmental health. Originally from Woodford County, Kentucky, he is a graduate of the University of the South-Sewanee and Duquesne University. In his free time, he likes to be with his wife and dog in the woods or on the water. 


Jordan Romanus

National Lead Organizer, Restaurant Opportunities Center

Information on Jordan coming soon!


Ken Regal

Executive Director, Just Harvest

As an activist and organizer in Pittsburgh for more than thirty years, Ken Regal organized the campaign in the 1980’s which persuaded the Pittsburgh Public Schools to join the National School Breakfast Program. Ken has consulted for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, served on the national grant making advisory committee of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, and has written and spoken on hunger and poverty issues for a wide range of audiences. He represents Just Harvest on the Board of the Pittsburgh United and on the Allegheny County Health Department Advisory Coalition for its Plan for a Healthier Allegheny. Ken is a native of Brooklyn and a graduate of Brandeis University, and lives in the Highland Park section of Pittsburgh with his wife.


Mim Seidel

Assistant Professor of Nutrition, Chatham University Faulk School of Sustainability

Mim Seidel brings expertise in public health nutrition, food access and food security issues, program planning and development to her faculty position in Chatham University’s Food Studies Program and as the Steering Committee Chair for the Council. Mim focuses on the intersection of public health and regional food systems. Recently, she completed a research intervention to increase utilization of WIC farmers' markets checks and is partnering with the University of Pittsburgh to enhance the use of a local Mobile Market.

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Naomi Ritter

Program Manager, EAT Initiative

Naomi Ritter has worked with local organizations, such as the Urban Redevelopment Authority, 4-H of Allegheny County, the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, and Penn State Outreach to improve the disparities in the areas of policy, non-profit management, and programming as they relate to communities of color. Ritter is currently the program manager for the EAT Initiative, Inc. and uses her passion for food, writing, and health, to alleviate the wage disparity that is felt most in communities of color, while simultaneously serving as a role model to young women.

 Ritter holds a BA in Rhetoric & Political Science with a concentration in Integrated Marketing Communications and an MA in Social and Public Policy, focused focus in Policy Analysis and Administration, both from Duquesne University. A proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., a gardener, yogi, foodie, and healer, whose ultimate goal is to heal minority and underserved communities through writing, food, and holistic health.


Raqueeb Bey

Garden Resource Center Coordinator, Grow Pittsburgh. Owner, Black Urban Gardeners & Farmer of Pittsburgh Co-op

Raqueeb Bey is an urban agriculturist, community activist and mother of six phenomenal children. She is the Garden Resource Coordinator for Grow Pittsburgh Garden Resource Center, a tool lending library in Pittsburgh's East End. In 2011, Raqueeb founded Mama Africa's Green Scouts, a youth program that teaches community gardening, green sustainability, African-centered culture and community leadership skills. She also founded the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-Op (BUGS FPC) in June of 2015, where she is the Executive Director.

Raqueeb volunteers for Landslide Community Farms as well as being a steering committee member for PaWagn and the Homewood Collaborative. She also chairs the Homewood Sustainability Action Team and is on the subcommittee for Pittsburgh’s eco-innovation district and The Real Estate Task Force Committee for the Uptown Partners.


Rebecca Bykoski

Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant Program Manager, Sustainable Pittsburgh

As a program manager at Sustainable Pittsburgh, Rebecca designs and implements programs to incorporate sustainable business practices into the region's restaurant industry. With the combination of a focus on environmental quality, social equity, and economic prosperity, the program strives to initiate and maintain lasting, positive changes for restaurants and Southwestern PA. Along with a goal of reducing environmental impacts, Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants will also improve the economic status of the region, its communities, and the restaurants themselves, all while enhancing social equity and uplifting Pittsburgh neighborhoods and the people residing within them.