Who We Are

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Food Policy Council consists of a Director and a Board of Directors which relies on a Panel of Experts to guide its strategic planning and activities. We believe that by working together, we can build a better food system for our community.

Kimberly Heaton

Board Chair

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Kimberly joined CMFPC in January 2019 and has enjoyed being part of an organization working to positively impact our local food system.  In 2018, she returned from spending a year and a half traveling abroad with her husband, Daniel, where she deepened an interest in helping to create more sustainable food systems in the US, particularly focused on waste reduction and healthy food access.  This interest led her to CMFPC as well as to her current role at Merchants Distributors, a local wholesale grocery distributor, as Director of the Growth Office, where she is responsible for the strategic growth portfolio of the company. 
Kimberly is most happy when spending time with her husband and young daughter, traveling, being outdoors, cooking, or participating in events and activities around Charlotte.  She loves being connected to the community around her, so reach out anytime!

Email me: mail@example.com

Jalah Clayton, MPH

Program Director

Jalah joined the Food Policy Council in 2021 as a Program Director. In this role, she strives to grow our programs to meet more of the needs of our community by helping make fruits and vegetables more accessible while supporting local farmers. Her passion lies in building capacity in communities by leveraging local assets and resources to better engage and empower community members. She believes that everyone should be supported in the pursuit of holistic healthby prioritizing economically feasible options for preventative health care and disease prevention.Jalah is also a recent graduate of UNC Greensboro (Go Spartans!) where she achieved her Master’s degree in Public Health concentrated in Community Health Education and an alumni of UNC Chapel Hill (Go Tar Heels!), where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Exercise and Sports Science and Sociology. During her time at UNCG she earned her Certifications as a Health Coach and  CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. In her leisure time, you can find Jalah exercising, making and/or eating delicious food, and spending time with her family.

Iris Cheng, MD FACP

Panel of Experts

Iris Cheng is a primary care internist and medical educator with a deep interest in food insecurity and health outcomes. Through her work with Atrium Health’s Community Health Division, she was instrumental in introducing processes for screening and addressing food insecurity within her healthcare system . She also helped develop an emergency food pantry at Biddle Point Clinic as well as a mobile food pharmacy supported by One Charlotte Health Alliance, a collaborative effort between Atrium Health, Novant Health and the Mecklenburg County  Health Department.  A graduate of Stanford University and University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, Iris is Professor of Medicine at UNC School of Medicine Charlotte Campus, Atrium Health and has committed her career to caring for underserved patients while working on ways to improve community health.  Iris enjoys spending her free time with her two grown daughters and husband, and also enjoys cooking, more recently baking  pandemic  friendly sourdough bread.

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Jody Francisco

Committee Member

Jody Francisco is the Manager of Culinary Development and Community Partnerships for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

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Colleen Hammelman

Policy

Colleen Hammelman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at UNC Charlotte. Her research and teaching address questions of social justice in urban food systems with a focus on food security, migrant communities, and urban agriculture. She received her PhD in Geography and Urban Studies from Temple University in Philadelphia, an MA in International Affairs from American University in Washington, DC, and a BA in Political Science from Colorado State University. In her free time, you’ll likely find Colleen with her husband and two sons digging in their backyard garden or out exploring our region’s greenways and hiking trail.

https://pages.uncc.edu/colleen-hammelman/

Email me: colleen.hammelman@uncc.edu

Marc Weiss

Treasurer

Marc Weiss is an accountant from Mooresville, NC and currently manages the finances of the CMFPC. Marc owns MGW Accounting Services, a premium accounting and bookkeeping firm. He strongly believes that the community can fix its medical woes through clean, fresh and locally grown whole food. Marc strives to replace cheap and always available fast food with organic fruits and vegetables.

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Bria Harris

Food Access Program Coordinator

Bria Harris is the Food Access Program Coordinator and leads the Double Bucks Program that strives to help make fruits and vegetables more accessible to underserved communities while supporting local farmers.  In the past, Bria has worked to serve her local community on issues such as tobacco control, adverse childhood experiences, food access, refugee holistic health and cardiovascular health with organizations such as Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Health Department, Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency and the American Heart Association. Bria received her BA in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her MPH (Masters in Public Health) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  Ms. Harris is also a Certified Health Educator Specialist.

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Scout Denning

Food Corps

Having grown up in a rural county, I’ve always been surrounded by farmland. At a young age I became enamored with food, the land and people who cultivate it, the routes through which it sustains communities, and all of the relations that it builds. Food justice work is a huge part of my identity and I am always honored to work beside those in similar pursuits. I have a B.A. in Agroecology and Rural Development Strategies, and am a farmer and food advocate in practice. FoodCorps is one way in which I hope to be an accomplice in empowering communities through food sovereignty.

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Erin Hostetler

External Affairs Chair

Email me: Ehostetler@energyenviro.org

Erin Hostetler—External Affairs Chair
Erin Hostetler is the Program Coordinator the Energy & Environment Innovation Foundation and Rivendell Farms of the Carolinas where she is actively involved with food systems and environmental work. Erin holds a Master of Arts in Global Ethics & Human Values from Kings College London with a focus on food ethics and has spent the last four years working as a farmer to gain the food systems experience needed to make true change in her community. As a Charlotte native, she is committed to furthering awareness of the food community in her hometown and promoting active involvement within it. Erin also owns The Patio Farmer, a consultation business where she teaches people how to grow food in small spaces. In her free time, you’ll likely find Erin with her sleeves rolled up, sweat on her brow and hands in the dirt. 


Nicole Peterson

Vice Chair & Chair of State of the Plate Task Force

Nicole D. Peterson is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at UNC Charlotte, where she addresses social aspects of environmental problems and the value of anthropology for real world problems, including food access in Charlotte. She received for PhD from the University of California, San Diego, and her BA in Biochemistry from Rice University. She was also a 2015-2016 Science and Technology Policy Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

https://clas-pages.uncc.edu/nicole-peterson/

Email me:​npeterson@uncc.edu

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