For someone whose Italian ancestors grew vegetables, cooked from scratch, and treated dinner as a family gathering, my love affair with really good food started in my Nona’s kitchen. This love has been interwoven into my life and experiences ever since.
I believe that our food system is broken and we need to fix it. This is not only for us, but also for those that will follow in our footsteps. It is our responsibility to identify why it is broken and provide solutions on how we can fix it. This requires change: in how food is produced, stored, prepared, and consumed. As our food system improves, we will be healthier, happier, and be rewarded with an improved society. As Executive Director of Spence Farm Foundation, that is my mission and passion.
My journey to create a healthier food system started in my family’s kitchen–I just didn’t realize it at the time. I am a wife, mother, chef, registered dietitian, and food advocate. My experiences range from working at St. Francis Medical Center as a Certified Diabetes Educator to owning Basil’s Harvest, a culinary kitchen where farmer/chef collaborations were developed through strategic planning and implementation. Over the last 27 years’ I have immersed myself into the local food scene as a University of Illinois Cooperative Extension board member, entrepreneur, educator, public speaker, and part of a team that created a multi-farm CSA. To further my understanding of sustainable food systems, I have made it my life’s mission to further my education. Currently, I am completing my master’s degree in Sustainable Food Systems at Green Mountain College in Vermont.
My heritage, passion, and experience have given me the opportunity to be a part of the Spence Farm Foundation. We are working to build a healthy food system through the education of farmers, chefs, institutions, and people who are interested in improving the health of their environment and their community.