Ari Rosenberg began farming on a family-owned vegetable farm in Loudoun County, Virginia at the age of 17. As she squished potato beetles and unrolled hay bales she was opened to the struggles of family farmers and to the importance of supporting local growers and manufacturers. While studying at Bates College Ari became active Maine’s food justice movement, developing connections with local farmers, volunteering with urban gardens and local non-profits and working at four farms in the state . While studying abroad in Nepal and India in 2004-2005 she experienced first-hand the reality of global food disparity issues; this inspired her to become more involved in food security work when she returned home. In June 2006, she began working at Lots to Gardens, a youth and community driven organization that maintains 15 gardens and green spaces in Lewiston, Maine. For over five years she supported children, youth, and adults in learning more about how to grow food, why growing food is important, and how eating fresh foods can support physical and mental health. Ari served as the Urban Farmer and Educator for the Center for Environmental Transformation in Camden, NJ from 2013-2014. While there she expanded their youth programs to include more leadership opportunities, worked with youth to start a hot sauce business, and managed two vegetable gardens, two urban orchards, a native plant nursery, and a greenhouse.
Ari went to her first RIC conference in 2007 and never looked back. She helped plan the 2009 conference in Maine and Massachusetts and has been on the RIC Advisory Council since around that time. When she is not growing, cooking, or preserving food you will probably find her riding her bicycle over the Ben Franklin Bridge or running around a frisbee field.
John Wang works as the Youth Programs and Community Outreach Manager for The Food Project’s North Shore site. In this role, he is responsible for maintaining, managing and supervising staff in TFP’s 3 core youth programs, community programs, external relationships and collaborations. John has worked at TFP since 2005 and previously served as a founding staff member of The Food Project’s North Shore site, where he helped establish youth programming. From 2008 to 2012, John worked as the Intern Program manager for TFP’s Greater Boston and North Shore sites – training and developing youth-led external and internal curriculum. Before coming to The Food Project, John traveled widely and lived in many different parts of the United States. He grew up in Illinois and attended the University of Illinois, where he earned a BA in microbiology and chemistry. After college, John worked for City Year in Seattle; participated in AmeriCorps VISTA at an HIV clinic in San Diego; and earned an MS in international health policy and management from Brandeis University. John also holds a certificate of Non-profit Leadership and Management from Boston University. Outside of work, he loves to backpack, take photographs, play soccer, cook, and, of course, eat. John first became involved in RIC in 2005 and helped to organize the 2009 Maine and Massachusetts RIC conference.
Doron Comerchero is the co-founder and director of “Food, What?!”– a youth empowerment and food justice program in Santa Cruz, California, using food and sustainable agriculture, as the vehicle for growing strong, healthy, and inspired teens. Roots deep in the East Coast, Doron spent most of his 20’s bouncing around the South Bronx as a community organizer and outreach coordinator for NYC’s community gardening program, GreenThumb. It was during this time that Doron attended the second Rooted in Community Conference in 2000 and became deeply inspired. Following that event, Doron joined the board of the American Community Gardening Association and chaired the youth committee. At that point, Doron joined a team of two other individuals repping RIC’s early support structure to help lead and guide RIC for the next five years. Rich soil called, and he found himself having transitioned from city life to living in a tent on a beautiful piece of farmland in Santa Cruz as an apprentice at the UCSC Farm and Garden. To continue to build his toolkit to eventually create “Food, What?!” he decided to try on his hat farming full time as part of a crew on a 50-acre site in Western Massachusetts called Food Bank Farm. Doron returned to Santa Cruz in 2007 to start FoodWhat at Life Lab (a local non-profit). Doron rejoined the RIC Advisory Council that same year, and FoodWhat was part of the Bay Area Collective that led the 2008 RIC Summer Summit. Doron continues to serve on the Council and is often stirring up impromptu dance parties or motivating folks to get out to roller skating jams.
Ayisah worked for the Rural Coalition as a fellow in Washington, D.C. for 3 years. She helped with the organization of the office and did computer work and social media. While in her position, she had gotten to gotten to do Hill drops, a gala at the Press Club and to sit in on Small Farms Conferences. She’s traveled to North Carolina to be apart of the American Indian Mother’s Conference and helped at an important GOAT meeting on the Farm Bill. Throughout her childhood, Ayisah traveled to many different places all over the world. From Guatemala to Prague to South Dakota. In 2015 she helped to create the Youth Food Justice Zine and now works with the DC based group Ecohermanas a women’s group working with Mother Earth. Ayisah first became involved with RIC by attending the 2012 Iowa RIC conference and then in 2013 being part of a panel of youth of color with Will Allen. She has been apart of the board ever since.