Helen Sarakinos - Executive Director
Helen Sarakinos is a seasoned advocate and organizer for issues that impact our community's kids, citizens, food, and water. As a program and Policy Director of River Alliance of Wisconsin for 15 years, she worked with residents, businesses, farmers, municipalities and legislators across the state to protect access to clean water and to ensure citizens have a say in decisions about how to use it. Helen received her master's and bachelor's degrees from McGill University in Montreal. She lives on the near east-side of Madison with her husband Jake, son Milo, and daughter Kyra, where they try to get everywhere by bike as much as possible, rarely miss the weekly farmers' market and jealously guard their front yard peaches from covetous neighbors every fall.
Amy Bruner Zimmerman - Business Development Director
Amy first found her passion for local food as an Economic Development Consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. While there, she teamed with nearly 100 organizations throughout Wisconsin to build the State’s Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program and co-led the efforts to launch the first statewide Farm to School effort. Prior to that, Amy learned the ins and outs of our food systems through sales and brand management positions with Fortune 500 food companies. Since leaving the State, she started her own consulting business where she helped farmers, food businesses, and organizations propel the growth of Wisconsin food by offering, financial, marketing and project management support. Amy has a passion for bringing good food to good people and believes in doing work that has lasting, measurable results. When Amy’s not at work you can find her chopping vegetables and chasing butterflies with her kids, and planning her next National Park vacation.
Hannah Wente - Communications Director
Hannah started as REAP’s Communications Director in August 2015. As the communications guru, she is responsible for promoting REAP's programs and events via social media, newsletters, web and graphic design. She also manages the Farm Fresh Atlas and leads a statewide coalition to connect more people to local food. She has a Master of Public Health from UW-Madison and a graduate certificate in health communication from the University of Sydney in Australia. Hannah is passionate about food systems change and its potential to decrease the incidence of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. She supports increased transparency in food marketing and policy changes which can improve food justice by ensuring people have the knowledge and resources they need to regain power in food decisions. Prior to REAP, she was the Wisconsin Director of the American Parkinson Disease Association and a Marketing Specialist for Dean & St. Mary’s. Hannah enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, practicing yoga and paddleboarding in her free time.
Sarah Larson - Farm to Business Program Director
Sarah became REAP's Farm to Business Program Director in September 2014. Her responsibilities include the Buy Fresh Buy Local program, our new Farm to Healthcare initiative, and our overall Farm to Business framework. Prior to REAP she worked at DATCP managing a statewide AmeriCorps Farm to School Program and spent over four years with Wisconsin Specialty Protein and the tera’swhey® brand. Sarah believes that we are where we eat and that we can keep flavor in the business of food. She looks forward to working with the Southern Wisconsin food and health communities to increase the use of local products and promote a sustainable and healthy food system. When not at REAP you can find Sarah on campus (getting her Master’s in Public Health), on roller skates, with her dog Radar, or playing Scrabble.
Natasha Smith - Farm to School Program Director
Natasha began managing REAP's Farm to School Program in August 2013. She runs the weekly REAP Snack Program and works closely with the Madison Metropolitan School District Food and Nutrition Department to increase and promote district purchasing of locally-grown fruits and veggies. Originally from Gloucester, Massachusetts, Natasha grew up romping the oceanside but has come to love the countryside almost as much. After attending college in Rhode Island, Natasha moved to Madison for graduate school, studying local and sustainable food systems at UW-Madison. She believes that the health of both our children and our farmers is crucial and loves that farm to school bundles the interests of students, families, farmers, communities, and environments. In her spare time, she likes growing things, throwing things, the outdoors, and good company.
Ross Cohen - Farm to School Program Coordinator
Ross became REAP’s Farm to School Program Coordinator in the beginning of 2017. In this role Ross supervises REAP’s Farm to School AmeriCorps members, and oversees the logistics of Family Food Fest and the summer food program. Coordinating the Farm to School program allows Ross to share his passions for education, healthy eating, and sustainable agriculture. Ross's prior experiences include Manager of the Monona Farmers' Market and teaching middle school in the Verona Area School District. Ross has a Masters of Arts in Education and has started multiple school gardens and edible forests. In addition to farm to school education, Ross loves gardening, hiking, cooking, curling, fishing, playing volleyball and ultimate frisbee, and being a Badger.