Lead Partners

Laura Porter – Program Coordinator

Laura Porter is Holyoke Food & Fitness Policy Council’s Interim Program Manager.  She facilitates the coordination of the collaborative, oversees communications and outreach efforts to partner organizations, supervises  grant and report writing and project evaluation.   With a background in industrial and systems engineering that later shifted to a focus on adult education, ESOL instruction, and community development, Laura brings her passion for community organizing to support the multi-faceted efforts of the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council.  Her experience includes a two year term of service in the Peace Corps in El Salvador, a Master’s of Arts in Teaching ESOL and Spanish, and many years of ESOL instruction throughout the Pioneer Valley.  In her free time, she loves spending time with her son, playing in the dirt and watching things grow in her home garden, cooking,  dancing, and hanging out with friends around a fire.

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Jesus Espinosa, Nuestras Raices

Jesus Espinosa is the Nuestras Raices farmer’s market manager. He is in charge of facilitating connections between Nuestras Raices farmers and retail and wholesale buyers of produce grown at La Finca, and is also spearheading efforts to create a Holyoke Agriculture Commission.

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Chef Ana L. Jaramillo, Holyoke Health Center – Health & Wellness Coordinator

In late summer of 2010, Ana started working at Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council as the Child and Adolescent Health and Wellness Coordinator. A Colombian native, Ana grew up cooking with her Colombian mother, learning many of the traditions of classical Colombian cuisine. Her family owns a food company, and in her early teens, she worked at her family’s restaurants and business, expanding her culinary knowledge.

At the age of 24, Ana graduated as a Food Science Engineer in Medellin, Colombia. To further hone her talent, she enrolled and graduated in the Connecticut Culinary Institute. Her education and extensive knowledge of culinary and gastronomy has given her a wide range of ideas to draw upon and a broad framework to create innovative Latin cuisine. She has worked in various restaurant settings, from University of Massachusetts Catering Department as a culinary student intern to the Dean Technical High School as a Culinary Instructor. She has been working in collaboration with Holyoke Public Schools to increase awareness of school wellness within the public school system culture and overall school environment, focusing on programs and policies that promote healthy eating, physical activity, and nutrition education and physical education. Ana has been an active board member of the Pioneer Valley Chef Association for the past three years, and also serves as Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council’s representative at meetings of Holyoke Public Schools’ Health Advisory Council, the School Food Task Force, PVGrows steering committee, the Holyoke Youth Task Force, and many other leadership activities with partner organizations.

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Liz Budd, Greater Holyoke YMCA – Built Environment Coordinator

Liz Budd, Greater Holyoke YMCA – Built Environment Coordinator

Liz Budd was born and raised in rural Massachusetts. She attended Mount Holyoke College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies as well as a Bachelor of Arts in dance from the Five College Dance Department. Liz moved to Holyoke in 2006 where she began her career as an Environmental Organizer for community based organization Nuestras Raices. After working for Nuestras Raices for 3 years she moved on to become the Community Wellness Coordinator for the Greater Holyoke Y.  While at the Y she became involved with the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council as the Built Environment Coordinator.  Her activities include coordination of the Holyoke Urban Bike Shop, extensive fitness, Nutrition and Wellness programming, facilitation of the Natural Resources Committee, as well as supporting systems and policy change efforts aimed at promoting healthy active lifestyles through the city’s built infrastructure and natural environment.

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Catherine Sands - Partnership in Practice

Partnership in Practice is the evaluation team lead by Catherine Sands. Catherine Sands, MPPA, Director of Fertile Ground farm to school programs, and lecturer of Community Food Systems at UMass Amherst; and Carol Stewart, MPPA, current Ombudsperson at Mount Holyoke College and former Director of Mediation Services at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in New York City. This team offers a mix of resources including experience in community organizing around food access and school food, skilled community-based participatory research and evaluation, multi-sector collaboration and conflict resolution expertise including facilitation and negotiation skills. With ongoing support from the University of MA School of Public Health & Health Sciences and the Center for Public Policy, strong ties to the to the Holyoke community and a knowledge and appreciation of the diversity of Holyoke, Partnership in Practice strives to engage the community in a multi-method, participatory evaluation process.

Ashley Metellus - Youth Food Advocate

Ashley Metellus earned a Bachelors of Arts in Global Health and Development at Mount Holyoke College. During that time, she spent six months in Haiti after the hurricane to help with relief efforts and document community leadership. While in college Ashley also spent six months studying abroad in Salvador, Brazil where she focused on Latin American studies and community development. Upon her return she founded C.A.M.B.I.A.S., which is a leadership and college awareness program for middle school students in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Ashley is currently a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst obtaining a Masters in Public Health in Health Policy and Management. She is working on the development of a sexual health program in Bellabe, a small village in southwestern Haiti. The program seeks to increase positive and respectful sexual relationships and engagement of safe sexual experiences. Ashley also works as a Health Educator for a study that looks at different ways to reduce diabetes and heart disease among Latinas postpartum. Ashley is interested in youth engagement, community development and empowering women to improve their health outcomes.

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Anne Cody – Kindergarten Initiative Coordinator

Anne Cody is the Farm to Institution Coordinator for Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council and also works on behalf of Nuestras Raices.  She recently completed the pilot year of the Holyoke Kindergarten Initiative in ten Holyoke Public School classrooms with terrific success, a program that uses local food and farming to teach very young students the basics good nutritional choices through taste tests, farm field trips, a new curriculum, and parent participation. She is deeply committed to local agriculture, having worked for many years with the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, as a Farm Viability Enhancement/APR Improvement Program business plan consultant for the Mass. Department of Agricultural Resources, and as owner of her own small farm. Prior to her work in agriculture Anne was a financial technology executive in Boston, New York, and Chicago.  She is the mother of teenage twins, an advocate of historic preservation, and a graduate in economics from Wellesley College.

Contact Anne