Letter From the Board Chair
Dear Friends -
Heartside Gleaning Initiative had much to be grateful for in 2017. As the economy in Grand Rapids continued to improve, the number of food insecure households declined. We celebrate this progress, but recognize the need for better access to healthy food still exists for thousands of low-income people in our city and neighborhoods.
This year, we were able to increase our outreach to many more individuals through deeper partnerships with agencies like God’s Kitchen of Catholic Charities West Michigan and new partnerships with food pantries including The Other Way Ministries and The Pantry.
We also suffered deeply from the untimely passing of one of our biggest champions, Board Treasurer and former director of the Fulton Street Farmers Market, Melissa Harrington. She and her family remain in our hearts and prayers. We will be forever grateful to her impact on our community and in starting our organization.
Finally, from the entire board, we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who donated to improve the health of our community, including our farmers, volunteers, donors and community partners. Thank you.
Lisa G. Sisson
Chair, Board of Directors
Board of Directors
LISA SISSON, CHAIR | GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY HOSPITALITY & TOURISM MANAGEMENT
Lisa is a registered dietitian nutritionist and Assistant Professor in the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department at Grand Valley State University. Her areas of interest include access to healthy food, food policy, and community-based nutrition and food service. She works with several non-profit organizations including the Kent County Food Policy Council and The West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.
EMILY EVERS, VICE-CHAIR | BLANDFORD NATURE CENTER
RORI WESTON, SECRETARY | FULTON STREET FARMERS MARKET
Rori is the Executive Director + Market Manger of the Fulton Street Farmers Market. Rori has a background in Hospitality + Tourism Management, farming and has been apart of the Grand Rapids food scene for years. She loves building relationships with the vendors + patrons and enjoys working closely with community partners to help create a fruitful food system for all. Rori has served on the HGI board since 2015. Rori also serves on the Grand Rapids's Urban Agriculture Committee.
SUZAN COUZENS | DEGAGE MINISTRIES
Suzan has served in the Heartside neighborhood as a Parish/Faith Community Nurse for the past 22 years. Her passion is to empower the homeless to remove barriers to health through assisting Heartside residents in creating a culture of health. Her work with a team of Heartside residents and others has focused on improving the nutrition of those living in the neighborhood and/or eating at soup kitchens in the neighborhood. Through various community partnerships, access to healthy food has improved.
ANDREW BOSTWICK | EARTHKEEPER FARM
Andrew is a farmer at Earthkeeper Farm with his spouse, Rachelle Bostwick. He is often seen keeping things running and helping at Market on weekends. Andrew is passionate about sustaining food networks at local markets through gleaning with Heartside Gleaning Initiative and farmer collaboration. Andrew spends his free time with his children, and enjoys photography.
DANA EARDLEY | FULTON STREET FARMERS MARKET
Dana is passionate about finding community based solutions towards creating equitable food systems. Dana believes that together our farms, restaurants, grocers, and food entrepreneurs provide the foundation for a strong local economy that celebrates a connection to our planet and our people.
BRUCE BARRESI | COMMUNITY MEMBER
Bruce is a well-known, long-time resident of the Heartside neighborhood. He can frequently be seen talking with those who work, live, and play in Heartside. He spent his summers working on his uncle's cherry farm in northern Michigan and attended Grand Rapids Community College. Bruce is also a long-term member of the Community Care and Enrichment Team.
TOMMIE C. WALLACE | COMMUNITY MEMBER
Tommie graduated from Wilberforce University with a major in Fine Arts and a minor in History. He lived in the Heartside neighborhood for almost 20 years and continues to volunteer and create works of art there. Several of his murals can be seen in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.
KRISTIN MORETTO| GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY BROOKS COLLEGE
Kristin Moretto, Ph.D. is the inaugural Director of the Office for Community Partnerships and Student Professional Development in the Brooks College. Kristin previously served as the the Director of Experiential Learning in the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Director for Service-Learning at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she oversaw the growth of academic service-learning, directed a community-based research grant program, and led the NASPA CLDE initiative. Moretto also directed the Michigan State University Student Food Bank and worked in the Office of Faculty and Organizational Development.