Good Food Central Florida is made up of a variety of talented people of all different backgrounds, ages, and skill set. These individuals kindly volunteer their time to work towards a better food system for Central Florida and make a positive impact on their fellow residents.
Maeven Rogers has been a member of Good Food Central Florida since January 2021. During her time at Good Food, she works on communication, education, and outreach initiatives of the policy group with the goal to support a local food system that benefits environmental and human health. Maeven is a UCF graduate attending both graduate school and undergraduate in Orlando, FL. During her time there, she worked on obtaining her bachelor’s and master’s in communications, emphasizing the relationship between behavioral intentions/perceptions and environmental action. She believes that genuine environmental communication can lead to real-world change as she focuses her communication skills on education that can improve engagement with climate efforts and bring awareness to topic areas such as food justice.
Maeven believes that everyone should have access to fresh, organic produce. She says, “The only way we accomplish food freedom is if we allow organic produce to be affordable and accessible to all, that is my goal.” One of the things Maeven gets most excited about Good Food Central Florida is the pure momentum and energy the group has around changing our food system. Maeven’s favorite vegetable is broccoli because of all the good nutrients it has!
Joseph England is currently a Sustainability Project Manager in the Solid Waste department. He served as a Marine Science Technician in the Coast Guard for four years where he worked with environmental regulations. He then went to receive a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from the University of Central Florida, both in History. He has been involved with Good Food Central Florida since the beginning while he was a PhD student at the University of South Florida studying Environmental Science and Policy. He has served many roles within GFCF, and he currently serves as the chair of the Food Recovery subcommittee. His interest was originally peaked in food after a trip to Thailand where he noticed a stark difference between their management and sourcing of food compared to the United States, and he realized he wanted to help change food systems within the U.S. His research interests include food policy, community food security, and coalition building. His favorite vegetable is a cucumber!
Laura joined Good Food Central Florida in the Summer of 2019 when she served as a Local Food & Livability Intern for the City of Orlando. She graduated from the University of Central Florida in Spring of 2020 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies from UCF. She is currently enrolled in UCF’s Urban and Regional Planning Graduate program and holds a graduate certificate in GIS. She also currently works as a GIS Intern for Orange County. Laura is interested in the environmental and social impacts of our local system, and how to create a localized food system that doesn’t rely too heavily on imported goods so local farmers and restaurant owners can have more support and flourish. Laura loves that GFCF gives people a space for people to connect from different positions of the local food systems. Laura’s favorite vegetable is broccoli.
Daniel Friedline currently serves as the Sustainability Project Manager for Livability and Local Food for Green Works Orlando, and has been involved with Good Food Central Florida for 2 and half years. He entered the Air Force straight out of high school and served as a Civil Engineer for six and a half years. He then went on to graduate from the University of Central Florida in 2013 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies- Environmental Track, and started working for the City of Orlando’s Wastewater Department as an Environmental Specialist. As part of his position, he began providing tours that would educate the community on wastewater, and then he went on to create his own education center for the community to not only learn about wastewater, but the other pillars of sustainability that Greenworks focuses on such as food waste, energy, recycling etc. As Sustainability Project Manager, he currently helps run the Black Bee Honey program that empowers black youth and teaches them not only about beekeeping, but how to run an enterprise, and he is working on an urban agriculture ordinance that will provide guidelines for food access and farming for City of Orlando citizens. Over the pandemic he focused on gleaning which allows for produce to be recovered from local farms and donated to food insecure residents. He recovered 24,000 pounds of food, and is helping launch a gleaning initiative through Green Works for Fall 2021in partnership with the Society of Saint Andrews.
Luis Nieves-Ruiz is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and an Economic Development Program Manager at East Central Florida’s Regional Planning Council. He is also a contributing member of the Wallace Center, a national organization that focuses on fostering a more sustainable agricultural system through research, policy analysis and education. He has a Master’s in Regional Planning from Cornell University. Luis began developing his niche for local food systems circa 2009 after researching the economic impact of agribusiness in Orange County, an area of focus that had very little information to work from at the time. This limited access to information drove Luis to extensively research the subject matter and he soon found himself gathering as much information as he could from local libraries, personal field trips and attending planning conferences that addressed food systems. During this time, Luis developed maps that allocated the different branches of agribusiness in Orange County, ranging from farmland to food processing operations. He went on to publish informative papers and provide consulting to help guide our local food system into one that is healthier, more connected, and more efficient. His favorite vegetable is Corn- especially corn on the cob!
Vanessa Balta has been an active GFCF member since 2017. With a background in Environmental Science and culinary arts, she realized the profound effects that food systems have on our environment and found herself wanting to research how to implement more sustainable practices. After graduating with her Environmental Science degree from Florida International University, Vanessa moved to San Diego with her husband where she made the decision to attend culinary school so that she could get in touch with her roots, as her grandmother’s passion for food and Peruvian cuisine has always been inspirational to her. Vanessa went on to gain the hands-on experience in culinary arts that she wanted during her time in San Diego, then in Montreal, and finally in Miami until she decided to go back to school and gain her Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Central Florida (UCF), with a focus on sustainability.
While pursuing her masters at UCF, Vanessa was able to make the connections in her studies to the culinary world that she had been exposed to during her time as a cook. From her research, she realized that Central Florida had a lot of room to make changes for a more sustainable food system and wanted to contribute to the region. Today, she continues to do so through her work, serving as the Sustainability and Permitting Planner for the City of Winter Park and her engagement in Good Food Central Florida. She continues to help us in our mission, advocating for policies and programs that support a healthy, equitable and economically viable food system.
Brittany is a Sustainability Project Coordinator with the City of Orlando where she oversees the commercial and residential food waste recycling programs and pilots, food waste and food rescue related grants, and food waste prevention efforts while working towards the City’s goal of zero waste to landfill by 2040. She received a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from UCF and is TRUE Advisor and LEED Green Associate accredited. She uses her personal and professional passion of zero waste to keep our natural areas pristine and healthy.
Emma Roehrig graduated from the University of Central Florida in Spring of 2021 with a degree in Political Science. Throughout her time at UCF she served as the Sustainability & Innovation Coordinator for UCF Student Government, and interned at the UCF Arboretum’s Community Farm & Garden Team. It was through these experiences that her passion for local food systems grew. She then went on to serve as an AmeriCorp Summer Associate for the City of Orlando’s Office of Sustainability & Resiliency where she was assigned to work on Good Food Central Florida, and the local food sector. She is pursuing a Masters in Environmental Resource Policy at George Washington University in D.C. starting Fall 2021. She is passionate about changing our food systems to provide nutritious food for all while mitigating the climate crisis. Her favorite vegetable is sweet potato!