The World Food Prize Foundation

Speakers

Angie Albright

Assistant Director, HACAP Food Reservoir

Angie Albright is the Assistant Director of the HACAP Food Reservoir and has been at the food bank for 9 years. Her work has centered around establishing new partnerships and developing targeted programs that serve our neighbors in need. Over the years, Angie has seen the HACAP Food Reservoir grow... [ View ]

Alexandra Bauman

Navigation & Supportive Services Director, Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

Alexandra Bauman is a Registered Dietitian and the Navigation & Supportive Services Director at the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Aging and Disability Services. She manages the Older Americans Act programs and services for the state of Iowa. She also serves as the Director of the... [ View ]

Bergetta Beardsley

Vice President of Philanthropy, Food Bank of Iowa

Bergetta Beardsley serves as Vice President of Philanthropy and has been with Food Bank of Iowa since August 2018. Bergetta leads the fundraising, volunteer and marketing teams. Prior to joining Food Bank of Iowa, she was Director of Donor Relations at the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, and previous... [ View ]

Lyndi Buckingham-Schutt

Assistant Professor, ISU and Food and Health Specialist ISU

In 2022, Lyndi Buckingham-Schutt joined Iowa State University as an Assistant Professor in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department and a Human Science Extension and Outreach State Specialist in Food and Health. Lyndi’s research and Extension programming focus on evidence-based policy, systems, and environmental change approaches to improve food... [ View ]

Ashley Danielson

Nutrition Coordination Director, Nutrition and Aging Resource Center

Ashley Danielson is the Nutrition Coordination Director for the Nutrition and Aging Resource Center. In her role, she supports all partners such as communication and subject matter experts with content that reflects nutrition and aging innovation nationwide. Within this, she provides technical assistance and highlights the work of Innovations in... [ View ]

Teresa Davis

Owner, West Forty Market

Teresa Davis is the owner of West Forty Market, an all-Iowa meat market located in Ankeny. She was raised in Greene, IA - where her parents still reside and own the small town grocery store. After years of corporate America, Teresa saw a need for the local community to have... [ View ]

Ilsa DeWald

Local Food and Farm Manager

Ilsa DeWald works for Johnson County, Iowa as the Local Food and Farm Manager. She oversees the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm, a 160-acre farm that provides a public space for connecting to the land and local history through inclusive, community-led opportunities. She provides community and resource connections, collaboration assistance,... [ View ]

Shannon Draayer

Executive Director, WesleyLife

Shannon Draayer serves as Executive Director of Community Nutrition for WesleyLife. Shannon has expertise in community health transformations, having worked for a policy consulting firm and for Blue Zones Project, a community health initiative prior to joining WesleyLife. In her role with WesleyLife, Shannon leads the Non Profit’s focus on... [ View ]

Luke Elzinga

Policy & Advocacy Manager, DMARC Food Pantry Network

Luke Elzinga is the policy and advocacy manager at the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Network, which last year assisted over 65,000 people facing food insecurity in Greater Des Moines. Luke is the current board chair of the Iowa Hunger Coalition, and serves on the Iowa Food... [ View ]

Kelly Garcia

Director, Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

Praised for transformative leadership, Kelly Kennedy Garcia serves as the Director of the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Governor Kim Reynolds appointed Garcia to oversee the state’s social services agency in November 2019. She was unanimously confirmed by the Iowa Senate on February 26, 2020. Later that... [ View ]

Ray Gaesser

Farmer and Conservation Advocate / Owner, Gaesser Farms / Solutions From The Land

Ray was born on a small farm in southern Indiana, where he grew up to love agriculture. At the age of 25 he married Elaine on November 19,1977, two weeks later they moved to southwest Iowa to begin their life and farm. They have two adult children Jennifer and Christopher.... [ View ]

Tim Getty

Regional Nutrition Services Coordinator, Heritage Area Agency on Aging

Tim Getty is the Regional Nutrition Services Coordinator for Heritage Area Agency on Aging and is responsible for the coordination of nutrition related services for older adults such as on-site dining, Meals on Wheels, and Nutrition Counseling for seven counties in eastern Iowa. In his 11 years at Heritage, the... [ View ]

Marte Gomez Leal

Minister of Agriculture and Development, Mexico

Marte Gomez Leal is an extraordinary cultural promoter who has generously contributed to the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura, the Museo Soumaya, among other institutions, promoting the enormous artistic and cultural heritage that Marte R. Gomez bequeathed to Mexico, being the custodian and devoted... [ View ]

Tommy Hexter

Rural Organizer and Educator, Iowa Farmers Union

Tommy works for Iowa Farmers Union as a rural organizer representing family farmers in state and national politics. In that role, he is co-chair of the Local Food Policy Network for the Iowa Food System Coalition. He also serves as the director of Grinnell Farm To Table, a local food... [ View ]

Kevin Hoppe

Sr. Manager, Omni Commerce, WK Kellogg Co

Kevin Hoppe is the Sr. Manager of Grocery Omni Commerce at the WK Kellogg Co and has been with the organization for 25 years working across sales, research and brand. In his current role, he is responsible for partnering with customers like Hy-Vee to inspire the shopper where and how... [ View ]

Bob Howard

Marketing Director, Country View Dairy

Country View Dairy specializes in dairy products including sour cream, cream, yogurt and premium frozen yogurt made from the freshest possible high quality Grade A pasteurized all natural non-homogenized milk from their herd of happy and healthy Holsteins and Jersey cows all happening right on the farm. Country View Dairy... [ View ]

Becca Huber

Food Sourcing Manager, Northeast Iowa Food Bank

Becca Huber is the Food Sourcing Manager at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. She has been at the food bank for four years sourcing donated, purchased and USDA commodities products both locally and nationally to retain food in the food bank. One of her favorite ways of procuring food is... [ View ]

Eugenia M. Kendall

Strategic Planning and Assessment Coordinator, Iowa HHS Division of Aging and Disability Services

Eugenia Kendall has her Masters of Social Work Degree from St. Ambrose University and has been working with the Iowa HHS Division of Aging and Disability Services for almost three years. She previously worked at an Area Agency on Aging for seven years as a part of their leadership team.... [ View ]

Michelle Kenyon

Executive Director of Field to Family, Field to Family

Michelle Kenyon has served as the Executive Director of Field to Family since 2017. She is an active member of the Iowa Food Hub Managers Working Group, Iowa LFPA Community Food Distribution Committee and Iowa Local Food and Farm Advisory Council. Michelle led a collaborative effort to design & launch... [ View ]

Jill Lange

Nutrition and Physical Activity Administrator, Bureau of Nutrition and Physical Activity

Jill Lange, MPH, RD, LD is the Nutrition and Physical Activity Administrator with the Bureau of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services. The primary programs and projects at the Bureau include the Iowa Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC),... [ View ]

Brian Lohse

Owner, Brick Street Cafe and Brick House Fitness

Brian is the former owner of Brick Street Market in Bondurant and currently owns Brick Street Cafe and Brick House Fitness. Prior to his election to the Iowa House of Representatives in 2018, he served on the Bondurant City Council for nearly 10 years. In the Iowa House, he serves... [ View ]

Luke Lynch

Senior Community Engagement Officer, United Way of Central Iowa

Luke serves as the Senior Community Engagement Officer at United Way of Central Iowa, where he helps convene community coalitions around issues such as food, housing, transportation, re-entry, and youth gun violence. Luke also participates in coalitions convened by local government and nonprofit organizations, including the City of Des Moines’... [ View ]

Grant Menke

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig appointed Grant Menke as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture in January 2023 where he is responsible for the operations of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, focusing on policy, budget, and personnel. Prior to joining the Department, Menke served as Vice President of... [ View ]

Mike Naig

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Mike Naig grew up on a family farm in the northwest corner of the state near Cylinder, Iowa and he continues to be involved in the operation today. Mike is a graduate of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake with degrees in biology and political science. He and his wife... [ View ]

Jessica Nelsen

Health and Well-Being and Essential Needs Officer, United Way of Central Iowa

Jessica Nelsen believes that human connection and creating a sense of belonging for all is the key to living a fulfilled and purposeful life. Jessica has had the pleasure of working alongside some of our communities’ biggest change makers and champions and has seen firsthand, the lasting impacts of curious.... [ View ]

Gretchen Nollman

Food Sourcing Manager, River Bend Food Bank

After finishing college, Gretchen worked for multiple different agriculture companies where she traveled/lived in Central and South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa before spending the majority of her career in south-central Illinois. Gretchen relocated to southeast Iowa in January of 2014, where she worked in agriculture for another 9 years,... [ View ]

Melissa O'Neil

Chief Executive Officer, Central Iowa Shelter & Services

Melissa O’Neil has been the Chief Executive Officer of Central Iowa Shelter & Services since February, 2016. Prior to her position with CISS, Melissa worked at IJAG as Vice President. She has consistently served in leadership roles including Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for three years... [ View ]

Emmaly F. Renshaw

Executive Director, Feed Iowa First

Emmaly, Executive Director of Feed Iowa First, brings a multifaceted skill set and deep expertise to the organization. With a keen understanding of the complexities within the food landscape, she actively addresses barriers to food access for marginalized communities, identifies gaps in culturally relevant food offerings, and advocates for effective... [ View ]

Kelly Ridenour Giurato

Regional Coordinator, SILT

As Cedar Rapids Regional Coordinator, Kelly Ridenour-Giurato blends diverse experience with deep community commitment. Overcoming challenges early in life, she transitioned from finance to the nonprofit sector, notably aiding Iowa Veterans. At Eat Greater Des Moines, Kelly directed the USDA-funded Regional Food Systems Partnership grant, showcasing strategic prowess and fostering... [ View ]

Shaffer Ridgeway

Farmer

Shaffer Ridgeway, a resident of Waterloo, grew up in Alabama on a small cow/calf operation owned by his father. He attended college at Alabama A&M University, where he received his bachelor's degree in Agribusiness. After college, he started his career with the Natural Resources Conservation Service as an intern in... [ View ]

Sami Scheetz

State Representative, Iowa House of Representatives

Sami was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The son of an immigrant teacher and a lawyer, Sami learned from a young age the value of a good education, workers’ rights, and helping one’s own community. Sami graduated from George Washington High School, a public school in Cedar Rapids, where... [ View ]

Chris Schwartz

Executive Director, Iowa Food System Coalition, Black Hawk County Supervisor

Chris Schwartz was born and raised in Dubuque before moving to Cedar Falls/Waterloo to study music and political science at the University of Northern Iowa. Chris is a well-known community activist and organizer in the Cedar Valley and an outspoken advocate for those he feels are left behind by current... [ View ]

Felicia D. Smith-Nalls

Community Relations Programs Manager, Tyson Foods

Felicia Smith-Nalls is a native of Waterloo, Iowa, a graduate of Wartburg College and the University of Iowa College of Law. Felicia is the Community Relations Program Manager for Tyson Foods. Felicia is also the Artistic and Festival Director for the North End Cultural Center and is active on various... [ View ]

Patty Sneddon-Kisting

Executive Director , Urbandale Food Pantry

Patty Sneddon Kisting is the Executive Director of the Urbandale Food Pantry and has her MPA in Nonprofit Governance + Health & Human Service. Patty has led her organization during unprecedented times with a passion and dedication to helping our most vulnerable populations. Her authentic leadership style and ability to... [ View ]

Ivy Sprague

Director of Strategic Communications, Hyvee Inc.

Ivy A. Sprague is the director of strategic communications for Hy-Vee, Inc. and has more than two decades of marketing and communications experience. She’s worked in communications roles in agriculture, healthcare, financial services, retail, and marketing agencies, and often says that if you can think of a topic she’s likely... [ View ]

Aaron Thormodsen

Head Grower, WesleyLife

Aaron Thormodsen is the Head Grower at Wesley life Meals on Wheels and has 9 years' experience in hydroponics and controlled environment agriculture. Starting at Cal Poly Pomona in Los Angeles California he helped build and operate aquaponics systems for research and for use at homeless shelters in the Pomona... [ View ]

Jacob Wanderscheid

Executive Director, Food Bank of Siouxland

Jacob has served as the Executive Director of the Food Bank of Siouxland since 2020. He has worked for the Food Bank for nearly 11 years. In his career at the Food Bank, Jacob has held many roles from Agency Relations to Transportation and Logistics. He has seen the Food... [ View ]

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