Staff & Board
Hailing from Northwest Missouri, Spencer has lived in a handful of places, but came to find home in West Virginia in 2011. As the daughter of a farmer, Spencer can’t ignore her roots when it comes to farming and agriculture. She’s committed to helping those who want to live a farming lifestyle find the resources to do so.
In her other journeys she’s developed a deep commitment to helping communities tell their story. She’s worked with nonprofits, extension service, universities, and political candidates to visually showcase their projects and programs.
In her free time, Spencer operates a small freelance multimedia business and often travels to hear good old-time music played and to visit friends and family.
Spencer holds a B.S. in Communications from Missouri Western State University and a Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis in Local Governance and Community Development from West Virginia University.
Director of Development and Programs
Brandon is a native West Virginian who has recently returned to take part in building out the local food system as well as working on larger economic development initiatives. He earned his doctorate in Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley in 2014, where he examined historical and contemporary methods of oppression in the coal industry, specifically around Blair Mountain.
After finishing his doctoral degree, Brandon moved to Baltimore City for two years, where he built his skills in economic development and alternative business development. During this time he worked on various initiatives including multiple economic development projects, an evaluation of Baltimore City’s energy efficiency program, and a crime reduction project in a highly distressed neighborhood. He also took part in worker co-operative development initiatives in Baltimore City, and which he will be implementing here in WV.
Brandon is excited to be back in WV and working on building out the food economy in the state, and will be bringing his expertise in systems thinking, project management, and program evaluation to further the goals of the WV Food and Farm Coalition.
Evelyn’s passion for food, nutrition, and the environment from a young age influenced her desire to conduct undergraduate research on the alternative food system. The research illuminated many of the disparities within the current food system discussed and read about in her classes, continuing to increase her interest in food sustainability. Since graduating in May 2014, Evelyn has focused her internships, work, and travel on food and farming. Evelyn moved back to West Virginia after fifteen years to join the Coalition as the Foodshed Economic Development AmeriCorps VISTA. After her year service, she was hired to be a full-time staff member at the Coalition. Evelyn works on beginning farmer programing, data collection, and research. She also supports communication and outreach efforts between the Coalition, farmers, and food and farm businesses.
Evelyn holds a B.A. in Anthropology and a double minor in Environmental Sustainability and Economics from the University of Mary Washington (UMW).
Cody Addison was born and raised in southwest Virginia. He studied music and business at Radford University, where he was also the leader of two student organizations. As a musician, he has performed in many classical and modern settings. His past work with nonprofits includes event planning and entertainment, including organizing and performing for donor events. While most of his experience has been in the music business, he has studied fundraising, entrepreneurship, and writing.
Cody joins the Coalition as the New River Gorge Foodshed Development AmeriCorps VISTA. He works in Fayette, Raleigh, Summers, and Nicholas counties to develop participant-driven projects that advance the local food system.
West Virginian transplant, Gabby came to WV as an AmeriCorps VISTA in 2014 an fell in love with all things wild and wonderful. Gabby’s move sparked a passion for agriculture, nutrition, and physical fitness. She has become a farmer, personal trainer, and a graduate student of Public Health since she moved. Recently, she has committed much of her spare time to hiking the Appalachian Trail, which she will be leaving us to finish in May.
Gabby holds a B.S. in Women and Gender Studies and a minor in Business Administration from Clarion University, and is pursuing a Master’s of Public Health from Marshall University.
Cheryl Brown, President
Associate Professor, Agricultural Policy, Resourse Economics, Agribusiness West Virginia University
Mike Costello, Vice President
Owner/Operator and Chef, Lost Creek Farm
Brooke Nissim-Sabat, Secretary
Professor of Foods and Nutrition, Registered/Licensed Dietitian, Pierpont Community and Technical College
Joe Brouse, Treasurer
Director of Existing Business Retention and Expansion, New River Gorge Regional Development Authority
Farm-Food Hub Marketing, KISRA
Project Coordinator, Potomac Highlands Food & Farm Initiative
Manager, Highland Market
Owner/Operator, Hudson Farms
Owner/Operator, Green Gate Farm
Owner/Managing Partner, Wonder Bar Steakhouse
Associate Professor of Geography, West Virginia University