Nicholas Freudenberg is Director of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute and Distinguished Professor of Public Health at the CUNY School of Public Health and Health Policy. His research and scholarship focuses on diet-related chronic diseases, urban health, the evaluation of complex urban interventions, and the role of the food industry in health and disease. For 30 years he has assisted NYC organizations to plan, implement, and evaluate policies, programs, and advocacy campaigns to improve community health and reduce health inequities, and he was the co-founder, with Janet Poppendieck, of the NYC Food Policy Center at Hunter College. He holds a PhD and a Masters degree in Health Policy and Management from the Columbia University School of Public Health.
Nevin Cohen is Research Director of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute and Associate Professor of Public Health at the CUNY School of Public Health and Health Policy. For the past 10 years his scholarly work has involved community-based research on urban food policy and food systems disparities, and he is an expert on the food policies and policymaking processes of New York City where for 7 years he also held staff positions in city government. He is the author of Beyond the Kale: Urban Agriculture and Social Justice Activism in NYC (The University of Georgia Press) and holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from Rutgers University and a Masters degree in City and Regional Planning from U.C. Berkeley.
Janet Poppendieck is Senior Faculty Fellow at CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute and Professor Emerita of Sociology at Hunter College. She was the co-founder, with Nick Freudenberg, of the NYC Food Policy Center at Hunter College. Her primary concerns, both as a scholar and as an activist, are poverty, hunger, and food assistance in the United States. She is the author of Breadlines Knee Deep in Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression (Rutgers 1986, University of California Press, 2014), Sweet Charity? Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement (Viking 1998, Penguin 1999) and Free For All: Fixing School Food in America (University of California Press 2010). She holds a Ph.D. and a Masters degree from the Florence Heller Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare at Brandeis University.
Craig is Deputy Director of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute. He comes to us from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Center for Health Equity where he developed and implemented strategies to make it easier for consumers to buy healthier products in food retail venues throughout New York City. He graduated with an MPH in Public Health Nutrition from the CUNY School of Public Health and has a diverse professional background that includes business management, secondary school education, regional agriculture, and technical training.
Charita Johnson is the Director of Youth And Community Development and oversees the Institute’s youth and community development projects. She has a deep interest in community nutrition, nutrition education, food security, and improving access to healthy and affordable foods in low-income neighborhoods. In addition to her public health work, she is also the founder and director of a youth mentoring program, My Sista’s Keeper. She holds an MS in Nutritional Sciences from Rutgers University.
Sarah Garza is Program Assistant for Youth Food Educators at the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute. After providing volunteer care at a free clinic while working as a registered nurse, her passion for preventing disease and promoting health equity led her to the fields of urban public health and community health nursing. As an intern at the Institute she has helped coordinate the Youth Food Educators program and also contributed to policy and community assessment reports. She holds a BSN from Columbia University and a dual MPH/Nursing degree from Hunter College.
Kristin Reynolds is Senior Research Associate at the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute and teaches courses on urban food systems and environmental policy at the New School and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Reynolds’ research centers on urban agriculture and social justice, with current work in New York City and Paris, and she has worked with many community-based organizations and family farms through her research and teaching. She also consults on food systems curriculum development and program evaluation, playing a key role in developing a first-of-its-kind associate in science degree program in Food Studies at CUNY's Hostos Community College and working with not-for-profit groups in New York City and State on participatory program evaluation. She is the author of Beyond the Kale: Urban Agriculture and Social Justice Activism in NYC (The University of Georgia Press). Dr. Reynolds holds a Ph.D. in Geography and a Masters degree in International Agricultural Development from University of California, Davis and bachelor’s degrees in International Soil and Crop Sciences and French Language and Literature from Colorado State University.
Shari Rueckl is the Institute's Administrative Coordinator. After moving to Brooklyn from the Midwest many years ago, Shari's interest in food justice and working to ensure all have access to healthy food was sparked. With a degree, professional background, and business experience in Fashion Design and Manufacturing, Shari fueled her passion for all things food by joining and organizing a variety of community groups across the food system, including the Brooklyn Bridge CSA where she is a core group coordinator. Even though there are farms everywhere near her hometown, it wasn’t until moving to New York that she truly realized the value of good, fresh food and how important it is for everyone to have access to it.