Katherine Soll, CEO/Director. Kathy Soll believes that all New Yorkers should be committed to ending hunger, food insecurity and poor nutrition in one of the world’s greatest cities and that connecting youth to this mission and each other is a critical part of achieving that goal. Teens for Food Justice was built on the concept that hands-on volunteering and helping others builds character and creates a unique level-playing field where people of all backgrounds can contribute equally through hard work and commitment, something hard to find in an increasingly polarized, stratified world. She also believes that a service is a powerful tool for tapping young people’s talents, resources, and abilities, helping them flourish and work productively with others, and that youth who help solve social problems become more positive, engaged, hopeful adults who remain active throughout their lives on behalf of social change. Prior to forming Students for Service in 2010, Kathy raised and educated two children in New York City’s public and independent school systems, serving in various leadership capacities within their schools’ PTAs and other community organizations. A lifelong New Yorker, she has also worked in the for-profit sector in management and marketing.
Harrison Hillier, Hydroponics Manager. Harrison graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in 2013, before doing further coursework at NC State. At these institutions, he gained hands-on experience and insight into both soil-based and vertical hydroponic farming techniques. He has over four years of experience designing indoor vertical hydroponic systems and developing commercial grade methodology for crop management from seed to harvest in greenhouses and indoor farms.
Clare Hyre, Program Manager. Clare graduated from Guilford College with a double major in Peace and Conflict Studies and Religious Studies in 2008. After graduating and prior to joining Teens for Food Justice, Clare apprenticed on several small-scale CSA farms, as well as managed several farm education programs and farmers’ markets. In 2016 Clare graduated from New York University’s Food Studies Master’s Program, where she studied the intersection of food systems and social justice. Clare is thrilled to bring her experiences in working with youth, building sustainable food systems, and strengthening communities in New York City to Teens for Food Justice.
Joshua Serrano, Development and Communications Manager. Joshua received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in May 2016. Before joining the TFFJ Team, Joshua was an Americorps Public Ally at Fair Chance, where his work focused on partner communications and new partner outreach, and a Research Assistant at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he worked on the Criminalization of Poverty Project, focused on the growing ways in which those in poverty are disproportionately targeted, marginalized, and prosecuted. He is from Brooklyn, New York and spent time as an undergraduate studying in Vietnam and Washington DC. He also is a former New Economy Maryland Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.
Taylor Pate, Advocacy & Community Engagement Coordinator. Taylor graduated from Hendrix College with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Politics. During that time, Taylor worked for various non-profit organizations such as Heifer International and The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance on addressing local and global food insecurity through agriculture and nutrition education and food policy. In 2017, Taylor received an M.S. in Food Security and Development from the University of Reading in Reading, UK, where she also carried out research studying the impacts of gender mainstreaming in urban food systems. After graduation, she moved to New York City to work with Slow Food USA on their national policy and advocacy efforts. Taylor looks forward to further integrating food justice and public policy themes into the TFFJ programming and providing students with tools to increase their own confidence in becoming community advocates.
Matthew Horgan, Curriculum Writer. Matthew graduated from SUNY Binghamton University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree and from St. Edward’s University with a Master’s degree in Environmental Management and Sustainable Development, where he studied in Texas, France, and Costa Rica.
He is passionate about environmental education and maintains a person blog, SustainEveryone.com, about sustainable food systems. Lastly, he is an armature hydroponic gardener, who spent some time over the past year taking introductory classes on hydroponic systems and constructing a deep-water culture hydroponic system in his apartment to grows leafy greens and herbs. He hopes to continue working at the intersection of hydroponic systems and environmental education in the future.
Alyssa Vazquez, Farm Manager, Urban Assembly Unison School. Alyssa joined Teens For Food Justice as a member of its first teen volunteer team in fall 2013 and returned as a mentor the following year. She is currently in her fourth year of college at Brooklyn College, where she is majoring in Urban Sustainability with a concentration in Environmental Science. She is involved with Ecology clubs at Brooklyn College and volunteers at the aquaponic greenhouse on campus in the Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center, or AREAC. She also spends her summers teaching high school students about gardening and environmental sustainability at Brooklyn College.
Erika Nillo, Farm Manager, Dewitt Clinton HS. Erika is from a small town in Wisconsin and has experience with administrative work, working with children as a nanny and instructor, management in the restaurant industry, yoga and meditation. She’s passionate about creating change and inspiring people in any way she possibly can. She leads by example with her own health and fitness goals along with acting through kindness in all situations. She’s easy to approach and cooperative. All her life she’s been a people person with communication skills both personal and professional; which she attributes to growing up in a large family surrounded by various types of personalities and a wide range of age groups. Giving Erika a platform and tool to guide her while working with people. Her hobbies include reading, music, writing and the arts.
Jesse Ahinful, Farm Manager, DeWitt Clinton HS.
Jesse is a graduate of John Jay College where he earned a Bachelors in Criminal Justice. He plans to attend law school after his service term with Public Allies, and aspires to become an attorney and ultimately a judge. In his past non profit experience, Jesse has worked extensively with youth from disadvantaged communities. He strives to educate, empower, and inspire young people to take control of their own lives by identifying their individual strengths, talents, and interest, and using them as a tool to create change in their own communities.
Azza Bushra, Farm, Food Justice & Nutrition Intern. Azza is a junior at Brooklyn College, where she is studying Nutrition. She graduated from Kingsborough Community College with an Associates in Culinary Arts. She started off at Teens For Food Justice as a volunteer chef helping out with the cooking aspect of the program. She hopes to convey through her food that cooking can be healthy, simple and fun.
Jordi Mednick, Communications Intern. Jordi is a third-year student at Emory University, double majoring in English and Environmental Sciences. She has completed internships in public relations and science communications. Though this is her first internship at a non-profit, she has experience working in schools and is excited to interact with students. She looks forward to learning more about sustainable, healthy eating opportunities in NYC and beyond.