Steering Committee

Carrie Kinne is the Executive Director of the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust. She graduated from the University of Maine and has lived and worked in Maine all her life. Her career has focused primarily in the area of fundraising where she has spent the last twenty-five years working with a variety of non-profits across the state. Carrie loves the state of Maine and exploring all the amazing places that make Maine “the way life should be”. She grew up on the Kennebec River in Farmingdale but now lives in North Yarmouth.

Dave Asmussen holds a degree in plant and soil science. At Blue Bell Farm, he cultivates an acre of mixed vegetables for sale to restaurants, natural food stores and the Bowdoinham Farmers Market.  With a mantra of "vote with your fork” Dave believes that local economies, landscapes and communities can thrive when people make conscientious decisions about where they get their food. Dave and his family live in Bowdoinham.

David Whittlesey is the founder of the Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative (BCDI). David lived in Bowdoinham and taught at Mt. Ararat before leaving to work internationally until 2004 when he returned. He served on the Bowdoinham Select Board from 2009-2011 and on the Comprehensive Planning Committee from 2012-2014. David also volunteers at Bay Day and does water quality testing for Friends of Merrymeeting Bay. David and his family live in Bowdoinham.

Jamie Pacheco attended the University of Maine, achieving a B.S. in Animal Veterinary Sciences. After choosing to exit the veterinary world, she turned to the non-profit sector, doing food system and land-use based work. This eventually led her to co-founding New Beet Market (NBM) in partnership with Seeds of Independence and acting as the Managing Partner. NBM offered internships to high school students as part of their academic curriculum, provided from-scratch, locally sourced school lunches to 2 schools and bought locally sourced food. Jamie lives in Bath with her family.

Karen Parker is the Executive Director for Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. Her passion is finding innovative ways to increase access to healthy food for all. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut. In 2007, she received her MBA from Southern New Hampshire University and in 2011 a Masters in Organizational Leadership. Karen resides in Brunswick with her husband and son. In her spare time she loves to hike and watch her son play baseball.

Kendra Jo Grindle works with the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association focusing on special community-based projects like the Harpswell Needs Assessment and the integration of seafood within local food and education systems. She brings with her a knowledge of fisheries management, regulations, and coastal demographics. Kendra Jo and her husband live in Brunswick.

Lynne Holland is the current Chair of the Merrymeeting Food Council Steering Committee. She was born and raised in suburban Chicago, received her Associates Degree in Horticulture and Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a Marketing minor. She worked for 30 years in various phases of horticultural marketing including procurement and sales in the mass market floral area in the Midwest, South and New England. Currently, Lynne is a Community Education Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator for the UMaine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program. Lynne lives in Brunswick with her husband Ward and daughter Carolyn.

Nikkilee (Lee) Cataldo has served as the Chair of the Merrymeeting Food Council Steering Committee from its inception through November 2017. She has a M.A. in Community Planning and a B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Sustainability. She has been a volunteer leader with MOFGA and the ME School Garden Network, and did an undergraduate internship learning about water quality and local fisheries with the Presumpscot River Watershed Coalition. She lives in Brunswick with her husband, two kids, and eleven chickens. A born Mainer, her favorite meal is softshell lobster and fresh corn cooked in seawater on the camp stove at Stovers Cove in Harpswell.

Tasha Gerken-Nelson studied art history and nutrition and finds ways to creatively combine both interests in her daily life. After following a dream to live in New York City, Tasha returned to Maine, a smaller pond in which to make a difference. Tasha works as a Nutrition Program Coordinator with Maine SNAP-Ed, is a member of the Maine Local Foods Access Network Steering Committee, and is a past leader of the MFC Food Security Work Group. These days you will find Tasha imagining new ways to make delicious dinners, getting exceptionally excited about her favorite things, and offering to care for everyone's kids. Tasha lives in Portland.

Tom Settlemire is a professor emeritus of the Biology and Chemistry Departments, Bowdoin College. He has BS and MS degrees from Ohio State University and a PhD in biochemistry from North Carolina State University. He has published over 30 scientific articles and a textbook in the areas of immunology and microbiology. He served as Vice Chair of the Governor’s Agricultural Advisory Council from 1979 to 1987 and is co-founder of the Downtown Farmers Market in Brunswick. Along with his family, Tom operated a sheep and vegetable farm in Brunswick from 1970 to 2005. He has been a long time member of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust where he has served on several committees and twice as president. He has kept his roots in Brunswick by continuing to own and manage farm and tree growth land while living in Yarmouth.

Vicki Skydell has been an active participant in the Merrymeeting Food Council’s work since its planning sessions in 2015. For the last six years, she has been part of the Steering Committee at Slow Money Maine Network, helping to facilitate connections among farmers, food entrepreneurs, funders, and mentors. She has volunteered with the Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program for several years, as well as the Merrymeeting Gleaners in the last three years. Vicki has been active in her hometown of Bath, where she supports, through the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, the LOCAL Garden, an outdoor classroom which grows food for local hunger relief organizations, as well as Good Food for Bath, a hyperlocal effort to boost the access to good food in her community. Vicki is thrilled to work with the creative and dedicated people she has met through the above mentioned initiatives, working to put more Maine food on more Maine plates.


Merrymeeting Food Council Coordinator

Harriet Van Vleck attended Bowdoin College and 11 years later finally returned to MidCoast Maine after teaching in Oregon, working at Arizona State University, and conducting her PhD and post-doctoral research at the University of Minnesota. Harriet’s doctoral research focused on the impacts of agricultural management on nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas emissions. Her post-doctoral work with the University of Minnesota and The Nature Conservancy focused on the potential economic, ecological, and social impacts of restoring a wide range of grass-based land uses in Minnesota. She now lives in Bowdoinham with her family and serves on the Board of the BCDI and the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation.

Merrymeeting Gleaners Coordinator

Kelly Davis is the Coordinator for the Merrymeeting Gleaners. She is a Master Gardener Volunteer from Topsham and has been involved with the Merrymeeting Gleaners since June 2016, first as a volunteer and now as the paid Coordinator. Kelly has been instrumental in making the program such a success.

Past Steering Committee Members - Thank you!

Kris Ganong lives in Brunswick and has an interest in farming, land conservation and local food production.  She owns agricultural land and works with a local farmer to graze beef cattle seasonally at Five Pines Farm.

Lucretia Woodruff is a farmer and mother of four children at Milkweed Farm in Brunswick. Lucretia has been growing and gathering Medicinal Herbs and vegetables for over 20 years.  At Milkweed Farm, Lucretia grows delicious and nutritious food and medicine for family, friends and the local community, offering summer & fall CSA shares.

Mary Turner works at Good Shepherd Food Bank. She formerly worked at MidCoast Hunger Prevention Program where she was privileged to work with the 14 food pantries and the supporting community partners in the Mid Coast Maine area. She was on the planning committee for the Feeding the 5000 Portland ME 2016 as well as the World Food Day 2017. A graduate of Bentley College, she is the treasurer for the Cumberland County Food Security Council and has been on several nonprofit boards. Mary lives in Brunswick with her family.

Monique Coombs is the current Vice Chair of the Merrymeeting Food Council Steering Committee and the Seafood Program Director for the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association. She loves fishing, eating fish, and living in Maine. Monique is a Maybach Foundation Mentor, a Maine Insider for the Maine Office of Tourism, and on the board for the Casco Bay Tuna Club. Monique attended North Yarmouth Academy and St. Michael's College. She and her family live in Harpswell.