Posted June 22, 2021
FINE welcomes aboard three Project Associates this summer! Momoko Hirose, Megnot Mulugeta, and Sheryl Rivas each bring a unique depth of experience to our network. FINE is undertaking numerous projects this summer which will directly benefit from their varied backgrounds.
"Momoko and Megnot's farming and graduate school experiences and their commitment to community-building and network-weaving," comments FINE's Director of Programs Tania Taranovski, "are already adding so much to our efforts."
"And Sheryl, having worked in a variety of food systems roles already," adds FINE's Director of Research and Evaluation Hannah Leighton, "brings a unique and valuable lens to our research and evaluation work."
Read on to get to know them!
Hello everyone! I’m Momoko Hirose (she/her) and am excited to join FINE as Programs Associate. This summer, I will be supporting multiple projects with the Farm and Sea to Campus Network, from the Campus Data Center to developing webinar and case study content. I am also excited to develop further networks and collaborations with community colleges in the New England area.
Food has always been a huge passion of mine, from going to Volante Farms in Needham, MA to visiting farmers markets as a child. Having healthy, local food accessible to all communities is very important to me, and focusing on institutions makes a lot of sense since these places can provide food for so many people. I have worked primarily on the growing and selling side as a farm and farm stand manager, so I look forward to understanding more about the food system, institutional food supply chain, and the different people and organizations involved. I am a firm believer in committed, collaborative community action and am always interested to learn more about what’s happening locally.
Hi there, I’m Megnot Mulugeta (she/her), joining FINE as a Programs Associate. I’m currently a graduate student in the Food Systems program at the University of Vermont, an experience that has opened my eyes to the complexities of the food system beyond my own experience in community and urban farm work. A little overwhelmed with what I didn’t know about food systems, I was drawn to FINE because of their focus on vital parts of food systems that I’ve often overlooked, like the role of institutions and supply chains. That being said, I’m really looking forward to better understanding how to support network building, identify leverage points for change, and learn about communication strategies. This summer, I’ll specifically be focusing on projects within the Farm to Campus Dining sector as well as assisting with webinars and the newsletter! You can find me at [email protected].
Hello! I’m Sheryl Rivas and I'm the Research and Evaluation Associate here at FINE.
This summer, I'll be gathering data for FINE's metrics project in order to better understand and measure farm to institution's (F2i) impact across the six New England states. I’m also supporting an upcoming campus dining database that will shed more light on farm to college activity and its overall impact. Aside from this, I’m really looking forward to researching food in correctional facilities—I care deeply about criminal justice reform and have recently learned more about the dire conditions of food behind bars (through Impact Justice’s work). Finally, I'm excited to take a deeper dive into the role F2i plays in supporting community resiliency and equity within local food ecosystems. I'll be collecting case studies and presenting my findings in a future blog post — stay tuned!
A little about me: I come to FINE having worn a few different hats within our food system — I've worked in restaurants, classrooms, nonprofits, and large scale food production facilities. Right now, I'm completing a Masters in Food Studies at NYU, where my focus is on sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty. I'm drawn to FINE's mission because I truly believe institutions have the power (and responsibility) to facilitate major changes in our food system. During my college years at Wesleyan in Connecticut, I became involved with my campus food co-op as well as Food Not Bombs, and it was then that I really started to care about where my food came from and started to draw connections between policy, land, power, and the role that institutions can play in promoting a sustainable food system.