The New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network Launches a Pilot Mentorship Program

Peggy Briggs, New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network | Communications & Outreach Working Group Chair

Connecting Food Service Professionals to Build a Sustainable Regional Food System

Are you a food service director, chef, purchasing agent or dining service manager looking to source more local and regional food products in the new year? Don’t go it alone! Our supply chain development working group is launching the pilot round of an innovative mentorship program designed to link food service professionals to share best practices and to provide support for sourcing local and regional products.

In line with the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network’s vision to build a strong, inclusive, and collaborative network working to build an equitable and transparent supply chain of healthy local and regional food for college campuses, the mentorship program matches mentees with specialists in order to leverage regional expertise and facilitate real-time, one-on-one coaching.

Need to kick-start a regional purchasing plan, solve problems as you develop your plan, or tweak your established local purchasing program? Farm and sea to campus mentors are ready to team up in dynamic working partnerships to help create creative menus, train your kitchen and frontline staff, and manage budget constraints as you shift to local/regional sourcing.

Mentees who sign up for this six-month pilot mentorship program beginning in January 2018 can expect these opportunities for learning and development:

  • Brainstorm and develop new ideas for sourcing local and regional food
  • Problem-solve with a peer who understands your constraints and pressures
  • Systematize local and regional food buy plan with short-term and long-term goals
  • Develop leadership skills to train and develop your team
  • Receive support and encouragement to overcome obstacles

Apply here to partner with a farm and sea to campus mentor and you’ll be paired with a hand-picked mentor selected to help power your 2018 local and regional food sourcing goals! 

Applications are due by Jan. 5th. Selected applicants will be paired with their mentor by mid-January.

Mentors for the 2017-2018 school year include: 

  • David Gould, Executive Chef, Rhode Island School of Design
  • Crista Martin, Director for Strategic Initiatives & Communications, Harvard University Dining Services
  • Stuart Leckie, Senior Director of Sustainable Enterprises, St. Joseph’s College


Mentor Bios

Crista Martin

Director for Strategic Initiatives & Communications, Harvard University Dining (HUDS)

Since joining HUDS in 1998, Crista Martin has helped establish HUDS' full-service marketing and design center, providing all communications support for its 30-plus operations. Crista and her team coordinate online and print marketing, social media, market research, and public and media relations. The communications team has won numerous awards from such organizations as the University & College Designers Association and the International Association of Business Communicators. Crista is a frequent presenter and volunteer with NACUFS. Crista also spearheads HUDS Strategic Initiatives, guiding the planning and implementation of work in the areas of sustainability, food donation, business development and planning, customer service and more. She is a member of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) Nutrition Roundtable, serves on the Menu of Change University Research Collaborative spearheaded by the Culinary Institute of America and HSPH, and was named a "Food Hero" by the City of Cambridge in 2015 for her work on HUDS' food donation program. Crista has worked for several non-profit associations, and has degrees from Boston University and American University in public relations and creative writing.

David Gould

Executive Chef, Executive Chef, RISD Dining + Caters, Rhode Island School of Design

David Gould directs the culinary vision of RISD's self-operated dining and catering department, which includes four dining venues, a full service catering division, and a special events food truck. He has worked as a steering committee member with FINE's New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network, and is currently an active member of Chefs Collaborative. After earning degrees from Union College and The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, David worked in fine dining and catering in New York, Northern California, and New England. His passion for seasonality and local sourcing has grown the breadth of RISD's dining options to include elements of education and community-building. In doing so, RISD Dining has become Farm Fresh RI’s second-largest buyer in the state. David is excited to work with FINE to help others develop successful local purchasing programs with a focus on strategic vision, menu planning, recipe development, and staff training/engagement

Stuart Leckie

Senior Director of Sustainable Enterprises, Saint Joseph's College

Stuart Leckie serves as the senior director of sustainable enterprises at Saint Joseph's College. Stuart first came to the college in 2000 as general manager of the cafe under its previous management by Bon Appetit. Four years ago, he oversaw the successful transition of the college's food-service operation to the college-owned Pearson's Cafe. Since 2000, Stuart has played a leadership role in launching several of the college’s social and environmental commitments to food sourcing, community service and waste management. Areas that Mr. Leckie currently oversees include the following: Pearson's Cafe, conferences and events, Pearson's Town Farm, Catherine's Cupboard Food Pantry, retail dining, and the campus store. In addition, Stuart co-chairs the college’s sustainability task force and works closely with their resident entrepreneur on various mission-aligned business ventures. The first of three projects, the Institute for Local Food Systems, will break ground in the spring of 2018. Mr. Leckie grew up in England, attended Hartsdown School of Technology, and now resides in South Portland, Maine.