Adirondack Food System Network hires first program manager

Swayer Bailey and Josh Stephani (Provided photo)

KEESEVILLE — AdkAction recently announced the appointment of Josh Stephani as the first program manager for the Adirondack Food System Network.

This new role was created to spearhead the network’s initiatives designed to better understand system-wide issues and pursue collaborative solutions to cultivate a more resilient food system in the Adirondack region.

“In the network’s recent strategic planning effort, we realized that fulfilling our goals to support sustainable farmers, food distributors and retailers, eaters and composters in a geography as large as the Adirondacks will require immense time and visionary leadership,” said Sawyer Bailey, AdkAction executive director. “As the network’s host organization, I’m proud AdkAction has hired a leader as collaborative, knowledgeable, and well respected as Josh Stephani to take the network and our food system to the places we envision.”

Stephani brings over a decade of experience in agricultural programs and nonprofits: Developing education, produce prescription and farmers market programs to support low-resource communities and regional producers. On his off days, he is an adjunct instructor at SUNY Adirondack. He holds a Masters in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and a Masters in Environmental Studies. Additionally, he is a Ph.D candidate studying the intersection of food, community and agriculture within rural environments. His expertise in program development, stakeholder engagement, and strategic planning will play a crucial role in advancing the network’s mission.

“More than ever, we need leaders who understand the structure of the food system: From production, processing, markets, distribution and access. And Josh Stephani is poised to act on current barriers in the food system that affect producers and consumers equally,” said Dillon Klepetar, co-chair of the Adirondack Food System Network’s Steering Committee. “What’s most impressive about Josh’s background is that his commitment to local food is quantifiable. We welcome his boots-on-the-ground approach and every organization representing the Network is energized by his new role.”

Josh Stephani (Provided photo)

Stephani will oversee the development and implementation of key projects including building relationships across the food system, advancing and advocating for policy change, coalescing meaningful food system data, and conducting outreach and education. He will spearhead the annual Adirondack Food Justice Summit and other events around the region. His work will also involve engaging with various stakeholders to ensure that the network’s efforts are inclusive and impactful.

“I am excited to take on this role to advance the strategic plan of the Adirondack Food System Network through policy initiatives, networking and fostering relationships across the region. I am grateful to the work of the Steering Committee and the perseverance to create a more equitable, resilient, and just food system for the Adirondacks,” said Stephani. “Through continued collaboration and transparency, we can meet the challenges facing our unique communities across the Park.”

Stephani’s hiring marks a significant step for the Adirondack Food System Network as it aims to enhance its outreach and impact. His appointment will begin May 28, and he will based out of AdkAction’s Keeseville office when he is not working with collaborators across the Adirondack region.


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