Skip directly to content

2012-2013 Regional Field Organizers

Breland Draper, Northwest Field Organizer
Boise, ID

Breland Draper is a born and raised Idahoan. He spent his youth the agricultural rich Snake River plain in the southern part of the state. He moved to the Boise area to attend the College of Idaho, where he received a BA in Environmental Studies. Breland’s interest in food began with his two-year involvement as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force. As a VISTA, Breland worked to organize farmers markets across the state, performed focus groups with food stamp participants, helped organize events to highlight food security, and organized communities to perform community food system assessments. Breland’s interest in food mostly centers on food security and food justice, but he has a passion to connect local food producers with consumers. Today, Breland works as a contractor for several food security studies and projects. He is also working on finishing his Masters in Community and Regional Planning from Boise State University. Breland lives in an extremely small cottage in Boise’s North End with his wife Cassandra and their two dogs Layla and Lakota. <breland@realfoodchallenge.org>

 


 
Alex Villegas, California Field Organizer
Santa Cruz, CA
 
Alex was raised in a rural part of San Diego, where she was surrounded by farming and agriculture but never had a particular interest for either in her adolescent years. After pursuing a degree in Fine Arts her freshman year of college at the University of San Francisco, she had an epiphany at the start of her sophomore year while visiting the Slow Food Nation open-air market. At this marketplace she was exposed to the farm-to-table concept, and after tasting a basket of fresh ruby-red strawberries straight from a local farm she was hooked. She moved home during the school year to take a new direction in her academic career and began attending a community college. During this transitional time, she was very involved in volunteering with San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project, a non-profit that focused on community engagement and education in the food system. From this experience she learned about the power that communities have in working together towards a common goal. From her experiences working with San Diego Roots, she wanted to learn more about how people connect with one another, which brought her to change her major from Fine Arts to Cultural Anthropology. She decided to complete her degree at UC Santa Cruz, where she could be immersed in a climate that encouraged the discussions of sustainable food systems and social justice. Now as a recent graduate of UCSC, Alex is interested in further exploring how people connect and interact at various levels within local, regional, and global food systems, and is energized to be part of the Real Food Challenge to work with a team of young adults interested in this same work. In her spare time, Alex enjoys eating figs, running, gardening, all things goats, riding her bike, photography, and hiking adventures with her friends. <alexandra@realfoodchallenge.org>

 
Chloe Rice, California Field Organizer
Cool, CA
 
Chloe is a frugivore, a fashion designer, and future fruit farmer who, having lived all over the U.S., has always found the answer to the common question, “So, where ya from?” to be a little complicated. With deep roots in America’s high-five (Michigan), she’s called both suburban Grand Rapids and inner city Detroit home, as well as rural Douglasville, Georgia, but no matter where her family bounced around they always came back to California, where she was born. Having spent half of her life in urban Oakland and the other half up in the rural Sierra Nevada foothill town of Cool (Google it, it’s real!), she witnessed and experienced the all too common food desert and the poor health that they produce in both settings. In overcoming illness, food allergies, and obesity with a raw plant-based diet, she grew into an advocate for equal and ample access to REAL, healthful, just food and for the rights of animals, farm-workers, and the environment alike. When she’s not studying, eating, or talking about food, she’s probably out running on a mountain trail with her husky Dingo, talking to her tiny succulents, or drawing up a pattern for her next unitard. She’s currently finishing up at Cosumnes River College, from which she’ll be transferring in pursuit of a doctoral degree in Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems next fall. She eagerly awaits the challenges and adventures lying ahead in working with fellow energized and empowered California students to build lasting partnerships between California Community Colleges (the world’s largest higher education system in the world), universities, and the ever-growing number of sustainable farms here in the golden state. <chloe@realfoodchallenge.org>
 

 
 
Heather Frambach, Regional Field Organizer
Austin, TX
 
Heather Frambach is a native of San Jose, California. She is currently finishing up her Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin, where she has been grateful for the opportunity to get plugged in to Austin's burgeoning food systems renaissance as a grad student, on-campus activist and dining hall worker and a researcher for the city-county Sustainable Food Policy Board, where she's found her calling at the nerdy nexus between policy/planning and healthy food systems. As the daughter of a white Republican and a Mexican-American Democrat, Heather feels she is in a unique position to critically examine the discourses of race, power, purity, and health on the political left and right with regard to the rhetoric of food. In addition to food scholarship in this vein, Heather has also been active in organizing on the US-Mexico border in solidarity with women workers in struggle within US-owned factories, and her research on the subject was recently published in the Journal of Workplace Rights. Her recent research on the political establishment and rhetoric of the community garden movement will be presented at the 2nd annual Food Studies Conference in October 2012, and her thesis research on how universities can be change agents in regional food systems aligns perfectly with RFC's mission! <heather@realfoodchallenge.org>
 

 
Alex Frantz, Midwest Field Organizer
Chicago, IL
 
As a 90’s child on the north shore of Chicago, Alex developed tastes for specific brands of processed foods and vehemently rejected other versions of the same dishes—beginning her life as a notoriously picky eater. Mac N Cheese was not Mac N Cheese unless the cheese came as powder in a packet. She preferred tomatoes from the grocery store to those from the garden and loved frozen green beans straight from the package. She ate fast food at least one a week. Although she spent a lot of time rejecting and accepting certain foods, she never thought about what she was REALLY eating, what factors affected her access to the food, who produced the food, or what it meant not to consider all the dynamic ways food functions in one’s life and connects one’s life with others. She needed to GET REAL! Her life was changed by a bit of reading, a switch to a vegan lifestyle, and a new perspective on the place of food in society. As a sociology major at Villanova University concentrating in Peace and Justice, she discovered that many of the issues she had studied—disenfranchised communities, health deterioration, environmental degradation, abuse of animals, immigration policies, dynamics of power and privilege—could connect under the umbrella of food justice and food policy. After working for the past year as a NW RFO, Alex is excited to bring her learnings about transformative organizing and the power of student action back to the heartland as a 2nd year RFO based in Chicago! <alex@realfoodchallenge.org>
 

 
Siri Simons, Midwest Field Organizer
Eden Prairie, MN
 
Siri graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management. Anxious to address environmental issues rather than just learn about them, Siri launched and led a successful Beyond Coal campaign to move her campus off of coal in 2009, later traveling to wild and scenic Alaska for a similar effort. Inspired by her fellow students-turned-leaders and activists, she was enchanted by community organizing, the power of persistence, and social movement theory, but hungry to tackle a more universal issue. Siri's interests in community and leadership development, social justice, and sustainability converged during her role advocating for Frogtown Gardens, an urban farm in one of St. Paul, Minnesota's lowest-income, minority-rich neighborhoods. Other than calling for the Real Food Revolution, Siri spends time exploring the Midwest via bike, boat, and foot, experimenting with sweet potato pizza crust, and learning Spanish. <siri@realfoodchallenge.org>
 

Bonnie Maye May, Southeast Field Organizer
Hammond, LA
 
Bonnie Maye May grew up in Jackson, Mississippi and was raised in both poor public schools and a rich private Baptist school, where she noticed early on the social segregation and uncomfortable racial hostility of the South. She was also a die-hard Captain Planet fan and spent all of her best times playing outdoors as a child, but she never realized that she herself could actually have a voice in environmental or social justice issues -- or that there were people out there making real solutions for these problems! Once she was introduced to sociology and student activist groups in college, there was no turning back. For the first time in her life she felt empowered and able to make a change. Food became important to her because it combined so many issues that she cared about -- sustainability, social-justice, and health. Formerly a picky-eater and fast food enthusiast, Bonnie started to change her eating habits and soon developed a greater appreciation for eating food that was both real and culturally important, as well as a celebration. She studied environmental sociology and earned a master's degree in Applied Sociology with her focus on food justice at Southeastern Louisiana University. While in graduate school, she worked with other students to bring awareness about real food to their campus, where they organized their school's first farmers markets. Now she is spending some time calling New Orleans her home. Besides Real Food Challenge, Bonnie adores old faerie lore, chocolate, belly-dancing American Tribal style with other supportive women, thunderstorms, playing dressing up, and snuggling with her awesome cat and partner in crime, Clyde. <bonnie@realfoodchallenge.org>
 

 
Jacqueline Garrison, Mid-Atlantic Field Organizer
Baltimore, MD
 
After earning a degree in anthropology from the University of North Texas, Jacqueline moved to Baltimore to explore the diverse geography of the Mid-Atlantic in hopes of finding a place to settle down and commit to. While growing up she was uprooted frequently but has lived most of her life somewhere in the Southern United States. Jacqueline became interested in food activism through her struggle to find inexpensive, healthy, and delicious food to cook for her family while living below the poverty line. Early on she realized that our current food system is grounded in social injustice and has had a hard time (up until the Real Food Challenge!) finding activist groups that make the right connections between environmental issues and oppression. Jacqueline enjoys reading queer theory, Latin American history, and soft science fiction. When she's not talking with people about how to best change our food system, she can be found indulging in spicy food, punk music and reality TV shows. <jacqueline@realfoodchallenge.org>
 

 
 
Leila Quinn, Northeast Field Organizer
Boston, MA
 
Leila grew up in New York City loving the tucked-away green spaces of parks and gardens. She left the bustle behind to get a BA in environmental studies, with a concentration in conservation, and a minor in gender studies from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts (class of 2012). She discovered her passion for food, education, and social justice through organizing with New England Climate Summer and Students for a Just and Stable Future, volunteering at Gardening the Community (Springfield, MA), and working at Heifer International's Overlook Farm. She continued to work in urban youth education and agriculture dedicated to eradicating food deserts on a floating farm at Groundwork Hudson Valley's Science Barge. Now located in Boston, she works as a program associate for Generation Citizen, organizing college students to teach an action-based civics course in local middle and high schools.  She loves traveling internationally (Kenya, Tanzania, Canada, Russia, Mongolia are most recent adventures), sending homemade postcards and letters through snail mail, and playing Ultimate Frisbee, and biking. <leila@realfoodchallenge.org>