Meet The Councilors

Good Food Council of L-A Group Picture 2015_By Russ Dillingham

Above: 2015 Good Food Council group photo. Pictured First Row, Seated, l-r:  Mia Poliquin Pross, Kirsten Walter, Erica Madore, Alisa Roman, Julia Harper; Second Row, Standing, l-r: Daniel Wallace, Leelaine Picker, Deb Burd, Bonnie Lounsbury, Camille Parrish, Karen Bolduc; Back Row, Standing, l-r: Belinda Gerry, David Moyer, Nancy Perry, Emily Horton, Bob Thompson. Not Pictured: Christine Bosse, Phil Doucette, Melissa Emerson, Nadifa Mohamed and Rick Belanger.

2017 Council Members


Bolduc_Headshot2014Karen Bolduc, Council Chair, is executive director of the Auburn-based nonprofit Food Joy and manages the organization’s internal farm, South Auburn Organic Farm. She is very passionate about healing the planet and the human condition, specifically the healing that occurs through food – both in agricultural and community settings, and at the dinner table. Karen is currently working to help build a thriving regional food system in Lewiston Auburn, and is pursuing a Masters in Sustainable Food Systems from Green Mountain College. Karen and her husband John live in Auburn with their daughter Elovie, son Rhiordan, and 2 domesticated varmints.


Betsy Bullard, and her husband Bill, are the tenth generation to operate Brigeen Farms, Inc., a family farm in existence since 1777. Betsy’s parents Steve and Mary Briggs are still active in day to day operations, and children Sydney and Will find many projects around the farm. Betsy returned to the farm with Bill in 2000, after graduating with honors from Cornell University and working for several years for Cargill Animal Nutrition in dairy consulting and management training. This began a transition to larger scale and greater efficiency to better position the farm for long term sustainability. Currently Brigeen Farms is the home to approximately 500 mature milking cows and their 450 offspring, with all employees focused on animal health and care. Crop responsibilities are handled by Hood Farm LLC of Turner, enabled a more precise focus on the animals by Brigeen’s crew.


Chabot_TrailDeborah Morrill Burd is currently the Grants Manager for St. Mary’s Health System’s Development Office in Lewiston, Maine. She is responsible for building and maintaining the system’s grant seeking, writing, and research program. She is a founding member of the Maine Women’s Agricultural Network and GrowSmart Maine and has formerly served as a trustee of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, on the board of CEI, the Spannocchia Foundation and the Center for Wisdom’s Women. Currently, Deb is on the board of the Maine Women’s Lobby, the Friends of Lewiston Public Library and on the Steering Committee of the Maine Food Strategy. Deb worked previously as the Executive Director of the Maine based Western Mountains Alliance and more recently as the Executive Director of the New York based National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture. Deb lives in Lewiston and is a graduate of the University of Maine with a background in education.


René profileRené Dumont serves St. Mary’s as the Vice President of Strategic Growth. In this role, René is responsible for strategic planning, business development, marketing, public relations and education. This position also provides strategic direction and operational oversight to the following departments: imaging, lab, pharmacy, rehabilitation and occupational medicine services, volunteers, safety and risk, as well campus facilities management. The senior leader in this role leverages the synergies that exist among these myriad departments in order to 1) achieve consistently high quality patient encounters, and 2) to position the organization for long term growth and sustainability.

René serves the community in the following ways:
– Maine Community Foundation – Androscoggin County Committee Member
– Lewiston-Auburn Public Health Committee, Member and Past Chair
– Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice, Board Member/Past Chair
– Androscoggin Head Start and Child Care, Advisory Committee Member, Past Board

Member/Past Chair
– Community Clinical Services, Board Member
– 2009 recipient of the Jim Phillips Award. “This award is given annually to an individual that exemplifies United Way’s mission, vision and values. The recipient has a character of compassion that shows in his personal, family, business and social life.”

René was born and raised in Lewiston, Maine. He received his BA/BS from Tufts University in 1984, and then proceeded to earn his MBA from Boston University in 1986. He welcomed the opportunity to return home to Maine in 1992, and is pleased to give back to the community where he grew up. He currently resides in Auburn with his wife, Julia. They have five children ages 25-17.


Melissa Emerson bio pic 1.19.15Melissa Emerson, Council Vice Chair, is the owner and director of Pinetree Garden Seeds in New Gloucester, a retail garden company with a focus on home gardeners’ needs. Since taking over in 2011, she has focused on the importance of non-GMO, heirloom, and organic offerings as well as committed the company to cultivating greater agricultural biodiversity, community involvement, and environmental stewardship. Melissa received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Southern Maine and did her Master’s coursework in Health Psychology at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. She believes that healthy food is a vital cornerstone in a thriving community, family, and individual, and that the rich biodiversity of Maine’s harvests should be made more accessible to all. A native of Portland, she now resides in Falmouth with her husband and young son.


Jonah Fertig is the Director of Cooperative Food Systems programs with the Cooperative Development Institute.  He works with farmers, food producers, cooks, distributors, and community members to develop democratic businesses. He is a co-founder and board member of the Maine Farm and Sea Cooperative and has served as a development coordinator for the nation’s first farm & sea-to-institution cooperative.  He also works with New American farmers, assisting them in developing cooperatives and helped Somali Bantu Farmers in Lewiston form New Roots Cooperative, the first New American owned cooperative farm in Maine. Previously, he co-founded Local Sprouts Cooperative in Portland, Maine and helped develop it into a successful worker-owned cafe. He has been involved in community gardening organizing in Portland and New York City and taught gardening and cooking in schools and afterschool programs in the Portland area since 2003.  He also co-founded the Greater Portland Community Land Trust in Portland and was a founding member of the Portland Mayor’s Initiative for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System, as well as the Cooperative Design Lab. He is a facilitator for the Sustainable Food Systems Leadership Institute, as well as a speaker at statewide, regional and national conferences about cooperatives in the food system.  He lives with his partner and two kids at Celebration Tree Farm and Yoga in Durham, Maine.


Kim Finnerty – is the Director of Whiting Farm in Auburn.  She holds a B.A. in Chemistry from West Virginia University, 1996.  Agriculture became an important topic for her while she was a teacher at Edward Little High School. She created the Chemistry through Agriculture program at Edward Little High School as a way of engaging her students in their learning.  She became the director of Whiting Farm in January 2015.  The farm is open 9 months a year selling Poinsettia’s, annuals and fresh produce.  The goal for the farm is to be a working-educational farm that is open to professionals and community members for locally grown produce, education and enjoyment.


Gerry_Headshot2014Belinda Gerry, a lifelong Auburn resident, served in the Maine Legislature from 1994–2000, as Ward 5 Auburn City Councilor from 2000–2006, and also served as an at-large City Councilor from 2009 to 2015 for her hometown. She holds a concern for food security and has worked to address this issue through her public service. Belinda also sees cooking education as a priority, knowing that many in the community lack the knowledge to prepare basic, healthy meals.



GFCLA_Doug_GreeneDoug Greene is an A.I.C.P. planner and registered landscape architect and the city planner for Auburn. After a short stint in college, Doug spent 12 years working on a large 1,000 acre diversified farm in Versailles, Kentucky; the last 3 years raising market spinach, broccoli, green peppers and yellow squash. He enrolled in University of Kentucky after leaving the farm, and got a degree in Landscape Architecture. An interest in land use planning inspired him to become a planner with the City of Lexington and through the course of his 13 years there, worked on subdivision planning, infill and redevelopment, helped develop a citywide greenway plan, a rural land management plan and was the first staff for its purchase of development rights plan. Doug is now helping Auburn prepare for a study of its 20,000 acre Agriculture and Resource Protection Zone.


Bonnie LounsbsuryBonnie Lounsbury is the owner of River Rise Farm in Turner where she grows organically certified vegetables. Organic farming is a third quarter career for her, begun after age 60. Bonnie has approached agriculture and food policy from various directions over the years- as a public member of the Pesticides Control Board, as a founder and the first executive director of the Androscoggin Land Trust, and as a lawyer working on issues of land use and regulation affecting access to farmland and farming operations. She has been a board member of several local and statewide organizations, including the Maine Center for Economic Policy. Bonnie has lived in Auburn for 35 years.


Margaret (Maggie) Maiorana grew up in Michigan, just outside of Detroit.  She became a Maine transplant in 2011 when she enrolled at College of the Atlantic to major in Human Ecology.  She focused on Education, Humanities, and Art.  She has a love for all things food, art, and community centered.  Maggie has worked on farms and in gardens for the past seven years: ranging from small urban gardens to full scale vegetable and animal farm operations.  Throughout this time Maggie has been immersed in public schools as well.  She has volunteered and worked in schools in Detroit and across Maine since 2011: from tutoring English Language Learners one on one to working as a full time teacher here in Lewiston, Maine.  She now works to expand her connection to Lewiston and Maine as a whole through organizing with Maine People’s Alliance, engaging with youth through St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, and as a facilitator for Restorative Justice Institute of Maine.


chris-manson-picChris Manson is the Retail Store Program Manager at the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine. Chris’ role is managing the food bank’s retail store donor’s Fresh Rescue programs, building relationships to rescue more food in maximizing the retail donation programs, and linking those wholesome donations to local hunger relief partner agencies throughout the state of Maine. Chris has been with Good Shepherd for 6 years, starting out as an Agency Services Field Representative in the north region working with all of the food bank’s northern hunger relief partner agencies.  Over the last three years, Chris has held a position as part of the food sourcing team at Good Shepherd helping to procure more nutritious food for families that struggle with food insecurity.  Chris is very passionate about nutrition and its impact on our environment, wellness, poverty, and its link to chronic diseases.  Prior to working at Good Shepherd, Chris worked in Lewiston for the Lewiston MAINEiacs Hockey Club for 6 years in various roles of community relations, promotions, and marketing.  Chris resides in Bowdoin with his wife, Cassandra and two sons, Julian and Luca.


Moyer_Headshot2014David Moyer is the Nutrition Manager for SeniorsPlus, overseeing the Meals on Wheels program and the Congregate Dining Site program for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties, serving seniors and adults with disabilities. David has worked in restaurants in the L/A area for the past 25 years before joining SeniorsPlus. David has been nationally certified as Chef de Cuisine with the American Culinary Federation and has an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts from Southern Maine Community College. He has called Turner his home for the past 40 years.



Missy North-Drain_bio picMissy North-Drain is a SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator at Healthy Androscoggin where she teaches local residents of all ages how to shop, cook and eat healthy on a budget. Prior to this position Missy worked in worksite wellness where she was health coaching hundreds of people at a global company of over 1000 employees. She also has years of culinary & food service management experience. Food and holistic nutrition have always been her passion. She holds a BS in Food and Nutrition with a minor in Sociology from Framingham State University. Missy truly believes that food is medicine as she has overcome personal illnesses with clean nutrition. Missy lives in Lewiston with her husband Mike and her dog Cookie Lyons.


Parrish_Headshot2014Camille Parrish teaches within the Environmental Studies Program at Bates College, where she was involved with the development of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) classes at Bates and within the ES curriculum. She also oversees the internship program for ES majors. She holds a Master’s in Environmental Science from Rutgers University. Camille lives in Auburn and has a long history of involvement with Lots to Gardens and Good Food for Lewiston-Auburn, including assisting with the Community Food Assessment. Camille is also a board member of the Androscoggin Land Trust.


Leelaine Picker retired to Maine from Connecticut after a career in non-profit management, predominantly in the child abuse prevention and anti-poverty sectors. Lee has a particular interest in food security and developing healthy, sustainable farm to consumer systems. She is a graduate of Hartford College for Women and Middlebury College and lives in Sabattus.


Pross_Headshot2014Mia Poliquin Pross serves as the Operations Manager for the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, bringing varied experience in the non-profit and public interest sectors in  areas such as social policy, women’s issues, social services, law, and advocacy. Mia earned her Juris Doctor in 2004 from the University Of New Hampshire School of Law. She also holds a BS in Social Work from Plymouth State University. Mia currently resides in Auburn with her husband, daughter, and dog Spaghetti.



Alisa Roman PhotoAlisa Roman is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America Alisa has been working in kitchens since a young age. Her experience ranges from Baking and Pastry, Kitchen preparation, and Campus Dining Management. Currently Alisa is the Director of Nutrition for Lewiston Public Schools in Lewiston Maine. In her current role Alisa oversees the day to day operations of the Lewiston School Nutrition Program. Alisa is also very active in the community participating in groups that focus on feeding the community and in particular groups that support ending student hunger.



Ellen_Schrader_PictureEllen Shrader, MS, RDN, LD. Ellen is a Health Promotion Coordinator for the Maine SNAP-Ed program at Healthy Androscoggin, as well as a part-time Clinical Dietitian for Metz Culinary Management at St. Mary’s Health System. She graduated from the University of Maine at Orono with a Master’s degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition, as well as the completion of the Dietetic Internship program. Ellen grew up in the Lewiston/Auburn area. Prior to working at Healthy Androscoggin, she volunteered at St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, working with the Lewiston Farmers’ Markets and the Lots to Gardens youth program. More recently, Ellen worked as an Outreach Coordinator promoting the USDA Summer Food Service Program to help increase summer feeding sites throughout the State of Maine. She then worked as a specialist for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, helping to ensure child and adult care providers were implementing the USDA nutrition guidelines into their menus.Her dietetic internship provided her with a variety of clinical experience, as well as food service and community nutrition experience by working with the Department of Education’s Child Nutrition programs and the Fuel Up to Play 60 program through the Maine Dairy and Nutrition Council. She enjoys spending time with family, walking/hiking/running, gardening and traveling when possible.



Bob Thompson bio pic 1.19.15Bob Thompson has been the Executive Director of AVCOG since 1992. Prior to accepting this position, he served as the Director of Development for the City of Lewiston and the Town of Lisbon. Thompson’s affiliation with AVCOG dates back to the mid 1970’s when he held several positions that focused on water quality, land use and development issues. In 2005 he was granted the Public Service Leadership Award by the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce and in 1996 he was recognized by the SBA as Maine Advocate of the Year for Financial Services. Bob is a Litchfield resident.


Kirsten WalterKirsten Walter began her food systems work in Lewiston, Maine, by founding Lots to Gardens in 1999 and now serves as director of the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center.  The Nutrition Center serves as a hub for healthy food initiatives in Lewiston-Auburn and beyond. Kirsten is involved in several regional and state-wide efforts connected to food systems in Maine. She is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in Community Studies, and lives in North Yarmouth.



julia_harperJulia Harper views repairing LA’s food system as a foundational and essential step to achieve a healthy and thriving community for all. Julia started as the GFCLA’s part-time Coordinator in September 2014. In 2017 she also began working at Food Joy & South Auburn Organic Farm. Julia is also engaged as a volunteer in several community-based efforts, including serving on the board for Grow L+A. She holds a degree in Sociology from the University of Maine. Julia is a resident and member-owner of the RAISE-Op Housing Cooperative in downtown Lewiston and lives there with her husband, Craig, and their two furry friends.