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Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Speaker Profiles

Erika Allen; Growing Power

Adam B. Becker, PhD, MPH; Executive Director, Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) 

Rochelle Davis; Healthy Schools Campaign 

John Edel; The Plant

Mari GallagherMari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group

Lena Hatchett; Loyola University Chicago

Mei Ling Hui; Urban Forest and Urban Agriculture Coordinator, San Francisco Dept. of Environment

Jim LoBianco; Streetwise/Neighbor Carts 

Kate Maehr; Chicago Food Depository  

Pam Martin; Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

John ‘Tad’ Read; Senior Planner, Boston Redevelopment Corporation  

Bradley Roback; Coordinator of Economic Development, City of Chicago, Department of Housing and Economic  Development (HED) 

Barton SeaverDirector of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard's School of Public Health

Jim Slama; FamilyFarmed.org

Bral Spight; UrbanPonics, LLC

Nancy C. Tuchman; Director of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago

Ken Waagner; Founder, Education, Agriculture and Technology

Jennifer Walling; Illinois Environment Council 

Angela Odums Young; University of Illinois Chicago

Detailed Profiles

Erika Allen; Growing Power

Erika Allen is Chicago Projects Manager for Growing Power, a nationally acclaimed non-profit organization and land trust providing equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe, and affordable food, especially in disadvantaged communities. She helps food producers of limited resources strengthen their farm businesses and work in partnerships to create healthy and diverse food options in inner city and rural communities.

Erika and her father, Growing Power founder Will Allen, have recently received significant attention for their work, including a feature article in The New York Times Magazine. Erika is co-chair of the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council, and was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn in 2008 to the Illinois Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force. In 2007 she was honored by Family Focus for her work in community food systems, and in 2006 she received the Good Eating Award from the Chicago Tribune. Erika has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MA in art therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Adam B. Becker, PhD, MPH; Executive Director, Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC)

Adam B. Becker, PhD, MPH is Interim Co-Director of the Maryann and J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program at the Children’s Hospital of Chicago Research Center, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Executive Director of the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC).  CLOCC is a nationally recognized organization with a coordinated, multi-sector and multi-level approach to preventing childhood obesity.  Since 2002, it has been the catalyst to build a broad-based network of over 3,000 individuals representing over 1,200 organizations working together to create and support environments that promote healthy eating and physical activity.  CLOCC has been identified as a leading community model by the Institute of Medicine, American Medical Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  It is housed at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Dr. Becker received his Master of Public Health in 1994 and his Ph.D. in 1999, both in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University Of Michigan School Of Public Health, and his BA from Tufts University in Medford, MA.  Dr. Becker has extensive training and experience in the practice of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and has written a number of book chapters and articles on this approach to examining and addressing public health problems.  Some of the issues to which Dr. Becker has applied this methodology include:  the impact of stressful community conditions on the health of women raising children, youth violence prevention, and the impact of the social and physical environment on physical activity.  Dr. Becker was a member of the faculty for six years at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.  He taught courses in community organizing, qualitative methods and CBPR, program evaluation, and community change strategies.  Prior to becoming the Executive Director of the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), Dr. Becker was Director of Evaluation and Research at the Louisiana Public Health Institute in New Orleans.

Rochelle Davis; Healthy Schools Campaign

Rochelle Davis is the President and CEO of the Healthy Schools Campaign, a national not-for-profit organization that advocates for healthy school environments. Davis served as the Principal Investigator for the NIEHS-funded Partnership to Reduce Disparities in Asthma and Obesity in Latino Schools, which worked closely with community organizing for environmental justice around children’s health disparities.  Davis is a member of the EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee and is co-chair of the Working Group on Education and Health, a working group of the National Prevention Advisory Committee.    She is co-author of Fresh Choices, a cookbook published by Rodale Press and Executive Editor of the Quick and Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools. She is the recipient of the Chicago Tribune’s 2007 Good Eating Award.

John Edel; The Plant

John Edel is both an eco and social entrepreneur. His most recent endeavor, The Plant, is a project combining adaptive industrial reuse and aquaponics to create the nation’s first vertical farm. Located in a former meatpacking facility in Chicago’s historic Stockyards, The Plant will be powered entirely by the waste of neighboring businesses.

John also is the owner and developer of the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center, a green business incubator in the Stockyards Industrial Corridor. As General Contractor, Edel took the facility from a burnt-out shell to 100% occupancy while using a mixture of waste-stream recycled materials and leading edge technology to make the building exceptionally energy efficient and pleasantly non-toxic. The renovation was assisted by a core group of volunteers and by bartering with suppliers, tenants and scrappers. The building’s green roof is a photo of Edel’s daughter Zoe rendered in 9,600 sedum plants, each of which is a pixel in her image.

In previous careers, Edel taught computer graphics, designed sets for broadcast television, art directed video games and worked as a chef on private railroad cars. He has a lifelong dream of combining industrial preservation, agriculture and food production in a sustainable fashion.

Mari Gallagher; Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group

Mari Gallagher is President of Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group (www.marigallagher.com), a national firm based in Chicago. She authored the breakthrough study that popularized the term “Food Desert” nationally in 2006 and encouraged Congressman Bobby Rush to enter “Food Desert” language into the Farm Bill. In large part because of Mari’s work, millions of dollars have been invested in underserved areas across the country. She has been tracking the Chicago Food Desert each year for five years and has played a major role in seeing its reduction. Directing, tracking, and measuring community investment impact is a core specialty. Mari also has hands-on experience. As a former practitioner, she developed a $75 million shopping center anchored by a full-service grocery store that included community employment programs with the grocer for retail jobs and with the unions for construction jobs. Mari’s research methods run the gamut of detailed data development, indices, and mapping to large online and face-to-face surveys and focus groups. Her work includes identifying and implementing practical Good Food solutions. Mari is the Founding President of the National Center for Public Research and a board member of Familyfarmed.org. She has her advanced degree in urban planning and community development but her work on using the built environment to improve public health and her innovative metrics such as Years of Life Gained earned her a special three-year appointment as Associate Professor in the health department at Northeastern University, as well as invitations to advise Congress, the Institute of Medicine, and other venerable institutions.

Lena Hatchett; Loyola University Chicago

Lena Hatchett, PhD is an Assistant Professor in The Department of Public Health Sciences at Loyola University Medical Center. Dr. Hatchett received her Ph.D in Social and Health Psychology from State University of New York Stony Brook and her post-doctoral training in Community Prevention Research from University of Illinois at Chicago.  Dr. Hatchett has more than 10 years teaching and research experience to reduce health disparities among ethnic/racial minorities in the US and Africa. Her primary research interests are in community-based approaches for chronic disease prevention and the promotion of physical activity. Her recent work includes a community health outreach project aimed at implementing culturally relevant approaches to prevent overweight/obesity for underserved African-American communities.                                                                       

Mei Ling Hui; Urban Forest and Urban Agriculture Coordinator, San Francisco Dept. of Environment

As the Urban Agriculture Coordinator for San Francisco’s Environment Department, Mei Ling Hui serves in a lead role guiding policy development, acting as a liaison for city departments and community groups, and providing technical expertise for city-wide initiatives. She developed and maintains the most cohesive data on UA projects and manages a broad range of tools and programs to support urban gardeners, including several communication and collaboration platforms, a Feasibility Study and Strategy Plan for commercial urban agriculture in SF, and the Urban Orchards program that supports community led fruit tree planting and care through San Francisco Climate Fund. She serves as the urban agriculture representative on the Food Security Task Force, engaging support for key state legislation and developing projects that drive the connect between food security and hyper-local food production.

Jim LoBianco; Streetwise/Neighbor Carts

Jim LoBianco is the Executive Director of StreetWise, Inc., which serves Chicago as a workforce development agency designed to help the homeless and those at risk of homelessness out of poverty. In the spring 2011, Jim and StreetWise collaborated with Neighbor Capital to launch Neighbor Carts, a new social enterprise dedicated to addressing two critical issues: 1) Creating new job opportunities for at-risk adults; and, 2) Promotion of healthy living through the sale of easily accessible fresh produce across Chicago, with a specific focus on food desert communities.

Jim attended undergrad at Loyola University, Chicago, and graduate school at DePaul University for Human Services and Counseling as well as Northwestern University for Public Policy Administration. Jim has spent the majority of his professional career working in the areas of homelessness and poverty. Prior to StreetWise Jim worked for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley as Deputy Chief of Staff for Human Services and then as Deputy Commissioner in charge of the Office of Homeless Services. In March 2011, Jim was appointed by Rahm Emmanuel to serve on the Social Services and Healthcare Committee of the Mayor-Elect’s transition team. Jim continues to advise Mayor Emanuel’s administration on issues of poverty and homelessness.

Kate Maehr; Chicago Food Depository

Kate Maehr became chief executive officer of the Greater Chicago Food Depository in 2006. Under Kate’s guidance, the Food Depository has vastly expanded operations and distribution to meet rising demand throughout Cook County. Kate’s vision for the organization led to the development and current implementation of a five-year strategic plan – Growing the Field – that launched in 2010.With this plan, the Food Depository is increasing access to nutritious food, strengthening community responses to hunger, mobilizing the public to end hunger, implementing new outcome measurements and strengthening its infrastructure. Significant progress has already been achieved, including the expansion of produce distribution to 33 percent of all food. A leading voice in the fight to end hunger, Kate is co-chair of the Illinois Commission to End Hunger, a board member of Feeding Illinois – the state’s coalition of food banks – and a member of the State of Illinois Social Services Advisory Council. Kate is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and The Chicago Network. Kate holds a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College and a master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Wisconsin. She received an honorary doctorate from Knox College in 2011.

Pam Martin; Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

Pam’s research broadly focuses on reconstructing changes in deep ocean temperature, chemistry, and ocean circulation using variations in microfossil geochemistry as proxy data for climate change. The goal is to understand the role of the oceans in the carbon cycle and climate change as well as to document natural climate variation, her interest in past climate change and an interest in environmental issues has recently drawn me towards issues within environmental science related to present climate change and disruption of natural biogeochemical cycles, including the carbon cycle and greenhouse gas emissions. Her focus in this area has been on the impact of agriculture at regional and national scales.  Previous research has looked at the Chicago area food system and the regional ‘food shed’.  Pam received her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of California, Santa Barbara, 2000.

John ‘Tad’ Read; Senior Planner, Boston Redevelopment Corporation

John (Tad) Read is Senior Planner at the Boston Redevelopment Authority where he focuses on transit-oriented development (TOD), transportation, land use and sustainability planning.  Currently he is leading the BRA’s Citywide Rezoning for Urban Agriculture initiative.  Tad began his career leading neighborhood and transportation planning projects in southern California.  During the 1990’s he turned his attention to housing policy and development as Housing Administrator in the City of Santa Monica.  After coming to the east coast to earn a mid-career Masters in Design Studies degree at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard in 2004, Tad served first as TOD Planning Manager for the Massachusetts Office for Commonwealth Development before coming to the BRA.  Tad holds a B.A. from Williams College and M.A.in Architecture and Urban Planning from UCLA. 

Bradley Roback, Coordinator of Economic Development, City of Chicago, Department of Housing and Economic  Development (HED)

Bradley is a member of the Open Space and Sustainability Division in the Bureau of Planning and Zoning.  In his role with the DHED, he focuses on food policy and incorporating food into local land use planning projects. 

Barton Seaver; Director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard's School of Public Health

Barton Seaver is on a mission to restore our relationship with the ocean, the land, and with each other—through dinner.

He believes food is a crucial way for us to connect with the ecosystems, people, and cultures of our world. After graduating with honors from the Culinary Institute of America, a transformative trip to Morocco landed him in the seaside village of Essaouira, where survival is directly linked to the oceans. His time spent with the locals taught him generations-old fishing methods and shaped his belief that, at its root, sustainability is both an ecological and a humanitarian issue.

As an executive chef, Seaver opened seven restaurants and gained numerous awards and acclaim for his food and for the environmentally conscious businesses he ran. Highlights of his culinary career include three times being named a Rising Culinary Star, twice earned Best New Restaurant awards, and in 2009 Seaver was honored by Esquire magazine as Chef of the Year. His restaurant Hook was named by Bon Appetit magazine as one of the top ten eco-friendly restaurants in America.

His passion for serving sustainable foods led him to be named a Seafood Champion by the Seafood Choices Alliance, a Legend & Leader in ocean conservation by Blue Vision, and was recognized by the Blue Ocean Institute for his efforts on behalf of our blue planet.

Barton left the restaurant industry to pursue his interests in sustainable food systems and accepted a Fellowship with the Explorer Program at the National Geographic Society. For the past three years he has used this position to explore the confluence of human and ecological health. As part of this exploration Barton has traveled the globe and gained deep insight into the human and economic systems that govern our relationship with nature. This knowledge enables him to engage with all sectors of communities, business, and governments to pursue meaningful change that sustains both human interests and environmental resiliency.

Barton’s work as the Director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard's School of Public Health aims to highlight the important connection between environmental resiliency and human health while ensuring the profitability of local food producers. Complementary to his role at Harvard, the New England Aquarium named Barton their first Sustainability Fellow in Residence to help relate the Aquarium’s conservation messages with our dinner plates.

As the author of two books, Barton continues to explore these themes with the home cook. His first book, For Cod & Country, showcases seasonal seafood, vibrant spices, and farm-fresh produce. Recipes for family-friendly meals include easy-to-follow instructions, helpful tips, and purchasing recommendations for any cook who aspires to turn a meal into a relationship with our resources and better health. Seaver released his second cookbook, Where There’s Smoke in April of 2013. Here he extends his message to meat, seafood, and vegetable recipes for the grill and connects our relationship with celebratory food with portion size and the ethics involved in raising food on the land.

As a speaker, Barton has engaged diverse audiences both domestic and international ranging from dozens of universities, business groups, government officials, and community organizations. He is a regular participant at the Aspen Institute, and has delivered a talk at the prestigious TED conference.

Seaver’s insights into sustainable food have been featured in countless publications including Cooking Light, O: The Oprah Magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, the Washington Post, and Fortune. He has appeared on CNN, NPR’s All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, 20/20, and hosted the national television program In Search of Food on the Ovation Network. He is a regular guest on the radio show National Geographic Weekend and a regular contributor to the National Geographic blog Ocean Views.

Recently, Barton was named by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the United States Culinary Ambassador Corp.

Jim Slama; FamilyFarmed.org

For the past two decades, Jim Slama has been a national leader in promoting environmental sustainability and the Good Food Movement. Leading up to the formation of FamilyFarmed.org and the Good Food Festival, Jim had an accomplished track record in environmental advocacy. In 1996 Jim launched Sustain on the heels of creating a successful multimedia campaign that shut down an incinerator that released 150,000 pounds of lead into the air annually. Sustain went on to become one of the country’s leading environmental communication groups and had many regional and national victories. These included the Keep Organic Organic Campaign, developed in partnership with the Organic Trade Association. The effort helped generated 275,000 comments to the USDA opposing standards that would have allowed food that was genetically engineered irradiated and grown in sewage sludge to be called organic. Other victories included stopping the state of Michigan from drilling for oil on the shores of Lake Michigan and forcing Congress to adopt a real recycling program when it was exposed that they were only pretending.

Jim and his companies have received a great deal of recognition. FamilyFarmed.org’s work earned the Yahoo! for Good Green Award. In 1999 Jim was named by Crain’s Chicago Business to its “Forty Under Forty” annual list of leading young business and civic leaders. Jim also received the Chicago Tribune Good Eating Award for his contributions to the Chicago food and beverage world. Jim was the founding publisher and editor of Conscious Choice magazine. During his 14 years tenure, Conscious Choice was named nine times by Utne Reader as a member of the Best of the Alternative Press. His work has been featured in Crain’s Chicago Business, The New York Times, Ode Magazine, Chicago Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Bral Spight; UrbanPonics, LLC

Throughout his career, Bral Spight has advanced an understanding of the intersection of public, private, and civic interests in the development of mixed-use urban areas. He is also Executive Director of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Initiative at City Colleges of Chicago. Spight was previously Chief of Staff with the Public Building Commission of Chicago, a $350-million enterprise charged with developing new police, fire, library, and education projects. He has been a developer with Joseph Freed and Associates as well as with SIVIC Real Estate, LLC, a firm he established in 2002 to pursue retail and mixed-use urban development projects. His first exposure to non-traditional agricultural concepts was as an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company. Spight holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business. 

Nancy Tuchman; Director of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago

Nancy C. Tuchman, Ph.D., Aquatic Ecology Professor at Loyola University Chicago has served as Loyola’s Vice Provost, Associate Provost for Research, as Program Officer at the National Science Foundation and President of the Society of Freshwater Science.  Her research on human impacts on aquatic ecosystem structure and function has been continuously funded for 20 years, and her lab has graduated over 60 undergraduate researchers and over 30 graduate students. She was recently appointed to serve as Founding Director of Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES) which will be launched in August, 2013 with a new 88,000 sq ft facility.  The IES will offer excellent interdisciplinary academic programs in environment science, environmental studies, food systems & sustainable agriculture, conservation & restoration, and environmental policy.  She started the Office of Sustainability  which works to reduce our campus environmental footprint to our status as one of the most sustainable campuses in the mid west.  Tuchman also founded Loyola’s Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy, (CUERP) in 2006. Within the Institute and CUERP, she developed an interdisciplinary program called Solutions to Environmental Problems (STEP) where students from the Sciences and Social Sciences work closely on projects with students from Communication, Business Management, Economics, Education, and Law to address environmental issues. For example, students designed, built, and now manage a biodiesel production operation using waste vegetable oil from campus cafeterias to fuel campus buses, and they have brought biodiesel curriculum and technology to 25 local high schools, who now make their own biodiesel. STEP students addressed the Food System by developing a 2 acre organic farm with farmer’s market and CSA on Loyola’s new campus in McHenry County, IL, as well as a farmer’s market on our lakeshore campus.  These programs include substantial citizen science and community outreach components, and effectively capture the energy and enthusiasm of undergraduates who are dedicated to alternative energy, conservation, restoration, social justice, and food and water security.

Ken Waagner; Founder, Education, Agriculture and Technology

Ken Waagner is the founder of E.A.T. - Education, Agriculture and Technology is an organization devoted to strengthening the local food system via an integrated multi-disciplinary approach which includes sustainable food production, distribution and access combined with consumer education and awareness. Ken is currently working with a number of institutions and non-profits in the City of Chicago providing technical support and resources to change the way people eat, learn and live.

Jennifer Walling; Illinois Environment Council

Jen Walling started as executive director of IEC in January of 2011. She previously worked as chief of staff to State Senator Heather Steans. As part of her work, she and Senator Steans won the Outstanding Government Leadership Award from the Illinois Recycling Association in 2010 for their work on the passage of Illinois’ first commercial food scrap composting legislation. She also worked for the Environmental Law and Policy Center and SCARCE, an environmental education non-profit in Glen Ellyn, and interned for then Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn. Jen obtained her law degree and master’s degree in Natural Resouces and Environmental Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Law School in 2006, after gaining her undergraduate degree in NRES at the University of Illinois, as well.

Angela Odums Young; University of Illinois Chicago

Dr. Angela Odoms-Young is an Assistant Professor in Kinesiology and Nutrition in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Her research is focused on understanding social, cultural, and environmental determinants of dietary behaviors and diet-related health conditions (including obesity, diabetes, and cancer) in low-income and minority populations. Her current projects include studies evaluating the impact of the new WIC food package on dietary intake, weight status, and chronic disease risk in 2-3 year old low-income children; examining relationships between neighborhood food availability, eating behaviors, and weight status in Latino children; developing culturally appropriate nutrition education for African-American parents of young children; using community-based participatory research to adapt an evidence-based weight loss intervention for low-income African American women; and understanding the influence of food marketing on dietary intake in African American families. Dr. Odoms-Young completed a Family Research Consortium Postdoctoral Fellowship examining family processes in diverse populations at the Pennsylvania State University/University of Illinois at Urbana and a Community Health Scholars Fellowship in community-based participatory research at the University Of Michigan School Of Public Health. Dr. Odoms-Young earned a B.S. degree in foods and nutrition from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University in human nutrition and community nutrition, respectively. 

Loyola

Institute of Environmental Sustainability
Loyola University Chicago · 1032 W. Sheridan Road
Chicago, IL 60660 · Phone: 773-508-2130 · IES@luc.edu

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