Our staff: consulting


Karen Shore, Director of Consulting and Technical Assistance
Karen leads the consulting team to help other communities and organizations throughout the U.S. benefit from The Food Trust's deep knowledge base and successful, innovative programs. Karen has her master's degree in public health; is the mother of three; and loves gardening and cooking.

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Deb Bentzel, Associate Director, Community Food Systems

Deb leads The Food Trust’s local food systems work, directing he agency’s farm to institution initiatives and farmers market program. She earned her Masters in public health from Boston University, and prior to joining The Food Trust in 2012, served as Fair Food’s Farm to Institution Program Manager. Deb’s a lifelong lover of running and an avid home cook and baker.

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Juan Vila, Project Manager
Juan provides technical assistance and training to organizations nationwide that are implementing Healthy Corner Store Initiatives. His two favorite hobbies are brewing beer and board games!

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Jamese Kwele, Project Senior Associate
Jamese develops and manages programs spanning a variety of areas including early childhood nutrition, farm to shelter and community health. She has a special interest in maternal-child health and is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) through the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice. Jamese holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.


Kelsey Porter, Project Manager

Kelsey works on farm to school initiatives locally, regionally and nationally as well as various consulting projects across the country. In her free time, Kelsey enjoys cooking, gardening and knitting.

Marisol Zavaleta

Marisol Zavaleta Martin, Healthy Retail Associate
Support The Food Trust in the implementation of a healthy corner store program in San Jose, CA that focuses on improving access to healthy foods and beverages, promoting equity and helping support the health and well-being of San Jose residents. Marisol enjoys strength training and loves dark chocolate and spicy food.


Isel Otero-Vera, Project Coordinator, Community Food Systems
Isel coordinates projects related to policy change and advocacy for farm to early care and farm to school initiatives. She also supports on-the-ground farm to early care programming in the Delaware Valley Region. In her free time, Isel enjoys walking in the woods, traveling and trying different types of foods.

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