By Peter Allison, Executive Director

Posted March 1, 2018


Farewell to Nessa Richman, FINE’s Research & Evaluation Director

Dear Colleagues,

After four years serving FINE in many different capacities, including leading the New England Farm to Institution Metrics Project which resulted in the creation of the New England Farm to Institution Metrics Dashboard, Nessa Richman is leaving the FINE team. We will miss her dearly.

Nessa has served in many roles during her time at FINE, from development to strategic planning to evaluation. Her research work, in particular, has made an impact on key stakeholders across New England including funders, government agencies, and policy-makers, helping them to understand and value the potential of institutional food markets to transform the region’s food system. It has also helped to inform business and marketing decisions being made by New England food producers, processors, distributors, and institution food buyers.

Christine James from The John Merck Fund recently said, “To her many roles, Nessa brought the rigor of an experienced researcher; significant understanding of agriculture and food systems policy, particularly as it pertains to farm-to-institution; strong relationships with important stakeholders ranging from public agency heads to local farmers to academics; a deep commitment to ensuring healthy food reaches all consumers, especially those who are regularly fed by schools, hospitals, and other institutions; and an abiding respect for the small-scale farmers and food entrepreneurs of New England.” 

We are excited that Nessa will stay involved New England food system work. She will be the first full-time network director for the Rhode Island Food Policy Council. The council, which was established in 2011, promotes a more accessible, equitable, and sustainable food system in Rhode Island. Its work is coordinated by a statewide collaboration of diverse, committed, and engaged stakeholders from all sectors of the food system. As network director, Nessa will lead the council in achieving its mission to create partnerships, develop policies, and advocate for improvements to the state’s food system to increase and expand its capacity, viability, and sustainability.  

While we will surely miss Nessa, we are excited that FINE’s research and evaluation work will be continued under the direction of research and evaluation manager Hannah Leighton, including the upcoming reimplementation of FINE’s farm to campus survey (email [email protected] for more information).  

FINE looks forward to collaborating with Nessa in her new role as network director of the Rhode Island Food Policy Council. Please join the full FINE staff and Network Advisory Council in wishing her the best in her future endeavors! You can reach her at [email protected] after March 5th.


Peter Allison,

FINE Executive Director