Get To Know Us
Qiana Mickie, Executive Director
Qiana became the Executive Director of Just Food in May 2017. She previously worked as the CSA Network Manager and most recently returned in September 2016 to serve as the Policy & Advocacy Director/ Farmers Market Network Manager. She enjoys sharing the gift of learner-centered trainings, cultivating community leadership, exploring the intersectionality of food justice, and advocating for sustainable and equitable food/farm policies on the local, regional, and federal level. Qiana earned her Food Hub Management Certificate from the University of Vermont and her B.S. in Marketing from Hampton University. She is a member of the Alliance for Food and Racial Equity (AFRE) and serves on the Organizational Council of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). Qiana loves being an active CSA member of Stoneledge Farm, practicing Vinyasa yoga, and serves on the boards of The Point CDC, Revolutionary Fitness, and the South Bronx Farmer’s Market.
Alexandra Foster, Program assistant
Alex joined Just Food during the summer of 2017 as the Farm to Pantry Intern. As intern, she planned and coordinated the Local Produce Link farm trips as well as created and distributed outreach materials for other Just Food events. She then transitioned to Program Assistant in September 2017 and was responsible for maintaining connections between community chefs, farmers, and pantries partnered with the Local Produce Link program. As the Local Produce Link program came to a close, her role shifted to Operations Coordinator in January 2018, where she manages all organizational needs and acts as point of contact for any general inquiries that come in. Her interest in food justice peaked after writing and executing a research project on urban agriculture. This was further emphasized in her studies of food systems while studying abroad in Italy. While there, Alex noticed the greater appreciation for food and the environment in which it is grown, and the attention to seasonality and food waste. She is passionate about improving accessibility and education of healthy, fresh foods, especially in POC communities. Alex holds a B.A in English and Environmental Studies from Amherst College. She loves to bake and enjoys testing out different vegetarian recipes.
Jenina Podulka, strategic partnerships and communications manager
Jenina joined Just Food in fall 2018 as the Strategic Partnerships and Communications Manager. She is passionate about challenging dominant narratives and lifting up stories of liberation. She creates language, materials, and resources to communicate the value of Just Food's work towards self determination for marginalized people within the food system. She also engages with diverse partners to assess how Just Food's work can be most valuable to them, and develops strategies based on this knowledge. Jenina began her journey using storytelling and communication as a tools while earning her BFA in Filmmaking from Montclair State University. She enjoys reading speculative fiction and using food as a way to reconnect with culture and tradition.
Merelis Catalina Ortiz, Community Food Education + Enterprise Manager
Merelis joined the Just Food team in Fall 2018 as their Community Food Education + Enterprise Manager. She is enhancing our food education work by centering racial equity and food sovereignty through a solidarity and cooperative economy lens. Merelis has been committed to food sovereignty for most of her career. As a CoFED Racial Justice Fellow in the summer of 2018, she launched PAS - People y Alimentos Solidarity program a bilingual offering that focuses on building solidarity among Black, Indigenous, and Latinx- heritage people through land and food at Kelly Street Community Garden in the Bronx. She was previously a worker-owner at Woke Foods, a cooperatively owned food business and is an alumni of Soul Fire Farm's Black and Latinx Farmers Immersion program. Merelis holds a B.A. in International Studies from City College of New York. Merelis enjoys dance offs, preparing remedio caseros, and helping her parents restaurant be more eco-friendly.