Castanea Fellows


The Castanea Fellowship creates opportunities for transformative leadership to thrive. Castanea Fellows will build power to shift structures and culture towards the creation of a more equitable, sustainable, and healthy food system for children, families, and all communities. Castanea Fellowship is nurtured by a stellar Steering Committee, supported by a powerhouse advisory council, informed by hundreds of conversations with food system change-makers, and inspired by a decade of successful alumni from the W.K. Kellogg Food and Community Fellows. Here is our vision:

Castanea Fellowship Final from Alexandra Christy on Vimeo.

The 2019 cohort is deeply rooted in land, seeds, and cultural sovereignty. The cohort’s leaders are actively working to reclaim, own, and share land and practices that re-root the food system closer to indigenous and immigrant cultural practices. The cohort’s work connects food to culture as a means of practicing liberation, health, community-building, and bringing people closer to the roots of what food means to us as people.

Our vision is realized through these amazing leaders.

Meet Our 2019 Fellows

Aileen Suzara
Founder, Manager
Eduardo Rivera
Farmer/Owner operator
Sin Fronteras Farm & Food
Emily Moose
Director of Communications and Outreach
A Greener World
Erika Allen
Co-Founder and CEO of Operations
Urban Growers Collective

Geeta Maker-Clark
Director, Integrative Medical Education, Culinary Medicine
Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago

Leonard Diggs
Director of Operations and Farming
Pie Ranch

Lilian Hill
Executive Director
Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute

Maeraj Sheikh
Chicago Policy Action Council

Mark Winston Griffith
Executive Director
Brooklyn Movement Center
Martin Lemos
Interim Executive Director
Deputy Director
National Young Farmers Coalition
Rowen White
National Program Coordinator
Indigenous Seedkeepers Network
Shorlette Ammons
Equity in Food Systems Associate/CORE Team Lead
Center for Environmental Farming Systems


Send a note with your congratulations, hopes, and appreciation for their work to build a more just food system.

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We were humbled by the response to the Castanea Fellowship. More than 400 applications were received, allowing us to see the depth of leaders in the field. During the course of reviewing the applications, the Selection Committee and Steering Committee acknowledged the outstanding pool and decided we had a unique opportunity to select both the 2019 and 2020 cohort.

Each cohort has exceptional leaders representing a variety of approaches, tactics, and issues areas – as well as – a diversity of geographic and both lived and applied experience in building a more racially just food system. Both cohorts are majority people of color and women-identified.
We look forward to welcoming both cohorts!

Meet the 2020 Fellows


Join the numerous foundations, nonprofit, and business leaders in this multi-sector collaborative committed to shaping an equitable future for food. Grants, gifts, and individual donations are welcome.