OUR MISSION

Connecting you with our food system and its value in our daily lives — from dirt to dinner.

Meet the Team

Our team combines food industry expertise with experience as conscientious consumers making informed food choices.

Lucy M. Stitzer

Lucy’s passion for ensuring people everywhere have access to healthy, safe, and sustainable food began when her first child was born. Lucy and two of her sons have a unique blood disorder which encouraged them to ‘eat well’ and live a healthy lifestyle. She began researching what foods could help. What the young, working mom found was a vast and complex food system.

There was (and still is) a wealth of misinformation, fads and outright lies about food. Lucy’s journey with her sons inspired her to research and understand the science around food and food production. As a former board member of her family’s agricultural company, Cargill, she developed a strong understanding of the food supply chain.

Today, Lucy also believes an educated food consumer can transform the global agricultural system. She is determined to make evidence-based food research and information accessible to consumers so they can make the best choices for themselves and their families.  By demanding best practices using innovation, technology and sound science, consumers can ensure farmers and producers use fewer chemicals, create healthier soil, protect clean air, and bring the healthiest, sustainable food to market. At the same time, Lucy believes that consumers are capable of aiding American farmers and food producers to be profitable, eco-sensitive and more competitive in the global agricultural market.

Through D2D, Lucy is putting food knowledge and power where it belongs -- with the consumer.

When not working on D2D, Lucy is the Chairman of Waycrosse Inc. and is the Chairman of Rush Creek Golf Course. She serves on the Board of Hamlin Capital Management and she is also a Trustee of the James Beard Foundation. She began her career in banking and finance.

Lucy loves excitement and fun activities with her three boys and husband. She runs, skis, golfs, gardens, rides motorcycles, and flies airplanes.

Hayley N. Philip

Hayley joined D2D in 2018 as Marketing Director. As the granddaughter of a farmer and growing up in California’s Central Valley, one of the nation’s most productive agricultural regions, Hayley’s interest in food, farming, and agriculture began at a young age. But it wasn’t until a few years ago when she was trying to make healthier meals for her family, that she realized the enormous challenge people faced in getting actual facts about our food and food system.

During that time, Hayley found herself navigating through a jungle of misinformation, misleading labels and “fake” diets and health claims. As her frustration mounted, Hayley wondered if the glut of food misinformation was contributing to millions of Americans now facing obesity and chronic illnesses (like Type 2 diabetes). Determined to be part of the solution and help people use food to better their own health, Hayley jumped at the chance to be part of the D2D team.

Hayley also leads the team in debunking popular fad diets, fast-nutrition, and myths about ‘quick’ dietary fixes. Hayley also researches and writes about the intersectionality of regeneration and sustainable growing methods that will safely produce enough food for future generations.

Hayley is a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara with degrees in Sociology and Marketing.  She moved to New York shortly after graduation, where she worked in sales and marketing for almost a decade before joining D2D.

Hillary E. Kaufman

Hillary believes in the power of research to substantiate sound decision-making, especially when it comes to learning about our food system. Hillary’s earlier career centered on forecasting consumer trends and researching potential investment ideas in the healthcare and consumer goods spaces. But as her family grew, Hillary’s priorities shifted. So, in 2017, she joined Dirt to Dinner.

As a team member, Hillary manages the Dirt to Dinner website and makes sure readers have a great experience navigating all our content across our varied subjects, media experiences, and platforms. Given her love of cooking, she’ll write about the issues affecting our decision-making at the grocery store. This often includes all those gimmicky labels we see on our foods that make us falsely assume one product is superior. The worst offender to date? Non-GMO salt.

Hillary hopes her contribution to the site helps readers make research-driven food decisions for their families, as it has with hers.

Garland West

Garland has spent four decades immersed in the complex world of food and agriculture, as both a profession and a personal passion. As a contributing writer to Dirt-to-Dinner, he applies that experience and keen interest in all things food-related to focus on our modern global food system, sustainability and other timely topics.

Over his career, Garland has applied his academic training in journalism to coverage of agricultural, environmental and trade policy in Washington and Europe for clients that include major corporate leaders and prominent global consulting firms. His resume includes postings in Washington, Minneapolis, London, New York, Chicago and Detroit, both as a corporate executive and president of his own communications company. He is a published author and public speaker on agriculture, trade and public policy matters, as well as a consultant to various organizations on organizational leadership.

He and his wife Nancy today reside deep within in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where they maintain an animal sanctuary and savor a more contemplative and relaxed pace of life.

Khala Hurd

Khala graduated with a B.S. in Communication from Cornell University. Most of her experience has been in Digital and Social Media, working for Modern Marketing Inc., Thrive LOUD, and WEtv at AMC Networks. Khala grew up in Upstate NY where you pass dairy farm after dairy farm driving along the backroads - where you can still get glass jugs of milk and fresh cheese and ice cream from the Byrne Dairy. However, growing up, she knew very little about agriculture and our global food system. This is one of the biggest reasons she joined the Dirt to Dinner team - to learn more about the most important topic in the world of where we get our food so she can educate others who may think similarly.

Khala is especially interested in debunking various health myths, especially those that involve trendy diets and fads on social media. In her free time, Khala enjoys exercising, reading, and experimenting with new recipes, especially when she gets to make them into videos for all D2D followers to enjoy. For the team, Khala is the Social Media Manager, where she creates content for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Tik Tok, while also writing nutrition and Featured 5 articles, and creating graphics. Khala is also heading up our new education platform, where teachers, students, and all kinds of educators can get information on their food. Khala is most excited for this initiative because she can help others learn more in school than she ever did about our food system.

Contributing Writers

Michael Doane

Michael Doane is the Global Managing Director for Sustainable Food and Water for The Nature Conservancy. Michael started farming at a young age and is a partner in his family’s cattle and row crop farming operation located in Kansas. He combines his passion for agriculture with his love for nature in leading one of The Nature Conservancy’s top global priorities to provide food and water sustainably.

Richard Owen

Richard Owen has been a part of the Produce Marketing Association since 2009, when he joined as Director of Global Business Development and has served as Vice President of  Global Membership and Engagement for the past three years. Prior to his time at PMA, Owen’s career included time as the Director of Agricultural Affairs at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative where his portfolio included Russia, Eastern Europe, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Israel. Richard was also head of the Airline Passenger Experience Association, Montana Grain Growers Association, and National Association of Wheat Growers Foundation.

Tim Sprinkle

Tim Sprinkle is a writer and editor based in Denver, Colorado. whose work has appeared in Wired, The Atlantic, Entrepreneur and many other national publications. He is also the author of “Screw the Valley: A Coast-to-Coast Tour of America’s New Tech Startup Landscape.”

Nyasha Mudukuti

Nyasha Mudukuti is a science communication and network associate with the Cornell Alliance for Science, where she was a 2019 Global Leadership Fellow. She is a Mastercard Foundation scholar from Michigan State University, where she majored in plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology. She is also a BSc honors graduate in biotechnology from Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe. Nyasha served as the 2016 AGCO Africa Ambassador, advocating for agricultural reforms across the African continent. More recently, she was a speaker at the 2019 Oxford Farming Conference. She also participated in the World Food Prize’s Borlaug Dialogue in both 2014 and 2018.

Jack A. Bobo

Jack Bobo is the CEO of Futurity, a food foresight company that helps brands get ahead of trends so they don’t get run over by them. Futurity leverages insights in food technology, consumer attitudes and consumer trends to deliver meaningful results for their clients. Jack is a regular speaker on global trends in agriculture, consumer perceptions of risk, science communication and the art of networking.

Previously, Jack was Chief Communications Officer for Intrexon, a synthetic biology company developing revolutionary solutions in food, energy and health. In 2015, he was named by Scientific American one of the 100 most influential people in biotechnology today. Prior to his career at Intrexon, he served at the U.S. Department of State as a senior advisor on global food policy, biotechnology and agricultural trade. He received a J.D., an M.S. in Environmental Science, a B.A. in psychology and chemistry and a B.S. in biology from Indiana University.

Joan Conrow

Joan Conrow has 35 years of experience as a journalist and editor and runs her own communications consulting service. She specializes in environmental issues, biotechnology, and agriculture, and is especially interested in how these highly charged topics are playing out globally. Her clients include the Cornell Alliance for Science. Joan has written countless newspaper and magazine articles, scripted and produced documentaries, contributed to academic publications, and authored travel guides. She holds a BA in history and journalism, and is certified in beekeeping, mediation, and facilitation. She lived and reported in Hawaii for nearly three decades before relocating to the high desert of New Mexico. Joan resides in Santa Fe, NM, with her two rescue dogs.

Sasha Gennet

Sasha Gennet, Ph.D., leads The Nature Conservancy's Sustainable Grazing Lands strategy in North America, a role that relies heavily on her 20+ years of experience in natural resource management, research, planning and policy. Sasha leads an interdisciplinary team of science, conservation, policy, and communications experts to achieve widespread adoption of conservation management practices on U.S. grazing lands, as well as protection and conservation of working lands.

Sarah Evanega

Dr. Sarah Evanega earned her PhD in plant biology and science communications from Cornell University and serves as the Director for the Cornell Alliance for Science—a global communications effort that promotes evidence-based decision-making in agriculture. She teaches courses on agricultural biotechnology at the graduate and undergraduate level. In addition, she serves as Senior Associate Director of International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and holds an adjunct appointment in the Section of Plant Breeding & Genetics in the integrated School of Plant Sciences at Cornell. Sarah was instrumental in launching the CALS initiative, AWARE (Advancing Women in Agriculture through Research and Education),which promotes women in agriculture. She enjoys life in the Finger Lakes with her husband and three young children.

Joseph Opoku Gakpo

Joseph Opoku Gakpo is a broadcast and online journalist with the Multimedia Group Limited in Ghana, working with Joy FM, Joy News TV, and www.myjoyonline.com. He works on the Environment Desk, producing documentaries, news reports, and feature articles on agriculture, the environment, and rural development. He has a master’s degree in communications studies from the University of Ghana, and is a member of the Ghana Association of Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA). He was awarded the 2015 GJA prize for Best Journalist in Poverty Alleviation Reporting for “Poor Millionaires,” his story about cocoa farmers. His main interest is telling the story of how farmers and rural residents struggle to survive, with the objective of bringing development to their communities. He is a 2016 Cornell Alliance for Science Global Leadership Fellow.

Diane Wetherington

Diane R. Wetherington is CEO of iDecisionSciences, LLC, and a provider of specialty crop consulting services, and iFoodDecisionSciences, Inc., a software solutions provider for the food industry. Helping the food industry supply consumers with healthy, safe food in a cost-effective, environmentally-sustainable manner is what drives Diane in her work. She believes data and data analytics are key to better understanding and improving both food growing and processing.  She is an avid runner and enjoys eating as much local food as possible while traveling. Diane previously held leadership positions with AT&T and MasterCard, where she worked in developing technological solutions for their customers. She holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in economics both from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Susan M. Leaman

Susan Leaman, Vice President of iDecisionSciences, LLC has worked as a consultant to the fresh produce industry since 2006. Susan works with companies and associations to develop solutions that address produce-related food safety issues. In her personal life, she is passionate about nutrition and healthy eating, enjoys gardening and tennis, and (along with her husband aka the household chef) enjoys hosting friends and family in sharing good food and wine.  As a mother to two school-aged children, she is embroiled in a daily struggle to get her children to more eat fruits and veggies instead of sugary snacks. Susan holds a master’s degree in toxicology from the University of Washington’s School of Public Health.

Serena Lomonico

Serena Lomonico is a Fisheries Research Associate with The Nature Conservancy's California Oceans Program. Serena holds a master's in Environmental Science and Management from UC Santa Barbara. At UC's Bren School, Serena focused largely on international fisheries management. Serena holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from UCLA, and has previously worked as a Science Crew member with the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program and a consultant with the Galapagos National Park.

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