Feed Iowa First relies on the enthusiasm and support of community members who volunteer their time and talents to serve on our Board of Directors.
Back, L-R: Eric Wullner, Audrey Tran Lam, Kamyar Enshayan, Jane Melloy, Lynette Richards, Kirsten Running-Marquardt, Deb Engmark, Joe Clark. Front, L-R: August Stolba, Anne Langebartels, Dora Bopp, Brenna Stoops. Board member not pictured: Hannah Anderson. The FIF Board of Directors is working with Kamyar Enshayan and Audrey Tran Lam from the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education and Brenna Stoops from Bluebird Farm near Lisbon, as well as several others not pictured, on organizing efforts for 2019.
Board of Directors
Lynette Richards has spent her life engaging in a wide range of humanitarian endeavors. She has been a Food Activist for over 30 years; long before the term ‘Food Activist’ existed. Lynette founded and directed the Candle Project that operated in New York City and Iowa City from 1990 to 2005. The Candle Project provided good paying jobs for homeless families and had a simple structure; people in economic crisis were hired to make beautiful candles that were sold to national retailers including the Body Shop, Urban Outfitters and scores of other retailers. The Candle Project was featured on the Oprah Show, Good Morning America and People Magazine. Lynette’s innovative work was recognized during an invitation to The White House where this effort was recognized by the US Small Business Administration award as “National Business of the Year for Welfare to Work Initiatives”. Vice President Al Gore presented the award to Lynette. Lynette has volunteered with Feed Iowa First since 2011 and has served on the Board of Directors since 2013. Lynette’s favorite role is that of Distribution Director as she enjoys hearing the stories of the difference Feed Iowa First produce makes in the lives of Linn County residents that struggle with food insecurity. Lynette was a counselor at Metro High School in Cedar Rapids from 1999 to 2014 where she often took a personal interest in her students making sure they were fed and helped to remove obstacles that allowed students to flourish. Lynette also volunteered with Table to Table, an Iowa City nonprofit that redirects wholesome food to serve the hungry, from 1994 to 1999 and served on its Board of Directors from 1998 to 1999. She also currently serves as President of the Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association.
Deb Engmark’s career in horticulture management spanned over twenty years and includes experience as a small business owner of a garden design, maintenance and planting business that led her to a career as head gardener at a National Trust for Historic Preservation site. In 2011 her volunteer commitment at a local food bank introduced her to Sonia Kendrick and the early idea of Feed Iowa First. Growing food, on donated land, for those who otherwise did not have access to healthy alternatives while providing experience to those wanting to learn the practice of farming not only seemed like a great idea, Sonia was doing it. Deb believes that communities thrive when every resident has the same opportunity to participate. That any person in our country, our state or our town could not fulfill their full potential due to consistent access to healthy affordable food is unnecessary and unjust.
Dora Bopp has served on the Feed Iowa First board of directors since its inception. Dora’s educational background includes an AAS in Parks and Natural Resources, BAS in Management and a Master of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition. Dora’s professional work has included Project Management, Community Development and Program Management in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. She passionately believes in the power of nutritious, whole foods to best strengthen the health of our community.
Dr. Hannah Anderson
Dr. Hannah Anderson is a chiropractor specializing in wellness planning, nutrition, women’s health, and pediatrics. She sees nutritional deficiencies in her patients every day, and how it affects their health and well-being. She regularly uses nutritional lab testing to help her patients and has seen how deficient our population has become. Without access to high-quality food, there’s no hope of reversing the health care crisis we’re in right now. Dr. Anderson supports Feed Iowa First because helping families gain access to nutrient-dense food will allow the people of Iowa to live healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives! Many Iowans are consuming calories without getting the nutrients they need, and Feed Iowa First is working to change that.
A senior systems engineer at Rockwell Collins, Joe became involved with Feed Iowa First in 2012 when he heard Sonia talk about her vision for the organization and noticed Rockwell Collins was surrounded by lots of unused land. Under Joe’s leadership, Rockwell Collins started its first garden the next spring. The garden now includes fifty 100-foot rows that are managed by approximately 100 volunteers. Joe also started a garden at Hillside Wesleyan Church and is an active member of the Feed Iowa First board. Joe encourages Iowa organizations and volunteers to get involved in Feed Iowa First. He says that being outside and tending to the garden provides a great balance to his busy schedule, and it has introduced him to many members of the community. Plus, it’s such a great cause. “When I think of the phrase ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ the first thing that comes to mind is that Jesus said to feed the hungry. How much more direct can you get?”
Eric is an IT Project Manager and Business Analyst who spent 25 years managing large-scale projects for global brands in manufacturing, insurance, financial services and telecommunications in New York City. He has always made time to leverage his business and IT skills to help nonprofits of all sizes. After the financial crisis of 2008, Eric returned to Cedar Rapids and eventually settled in the Oak Hill neighborhood where he sees residents struggle to balance the rising cost of living against making healthy food choices. Eric first met Sonia Kendrick, the founder of Feed Iowa First, in 2016 and was inspired by her unique brand of truth-telling about the dangers of a transportation-based food system. He joined the Feed Iowa First Board of Directors in 2017 and now has his hands (and feet) in just about every aspect of Feed Iowa First.
Anne Langebartels recently graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Interactive Digital Studies and Nonprofit Management and a minor in History. She has done marketing and design work for several organizations, including the Northeast Iowa Food Bank and the Center for Energy and Environmental Education, and has a strong interest in marketing, fundraising, and organizational planning for nonprofits, which led her to Feed Iowa First.
Feed Iowa First welcomed two new members from AmeriCorps to our team of talented volunteers in August 2018. AmeriCorps VISTA Service Members are awarded to organizations to help provide direct service and capacity building. The Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa has partnered with the Northeast Iowa Food Bank and Feed Iowa First to utilize AmeriCorps VISTA Members to improve food security in Iowa. Feed Iowa First is so grateful for their talents and the contributions they make on a daily basis.
August Stolba and Anne Langebartels with the Americorp VISTA program visiting our Grow Don’t Mow program at The Accel Group.
August Stolba is participating in his second year of AmeriCorps service, previously serving in Green Iowa AmeriCorps focusing on energy efficiency and sustainability outreach and education initiatives. August studied Design Ecology at The Evergreen State College, focusing on the anthropogenic factors that affect climate change and concluding that food systems are the foundation of creating economically, socially and environmentally sustainable communities.