The Pennsylvania Farm to School Network is a collaborative that works to advance farm to school strategies and policies across the commonwealth. The network is made up of members, working groups, a leadership team, and a coordinating agency.

Our mission is to leverage and build upon our collective resources and shared vision to cultivate farm to school and farm to early care and education (ECE) initiatives that:

  • create opportunities for all children across the state to grow, learn about, and enjoy eating Pennsylvania foods;
  • increase market opportunities for Pennsylvania producers;
  • connect growers, schools, ECE sites, and community members around food



Every child in Pennsylvania is meaningfully connected to and nourished by thriving and resilient community food systems.


Network Structure

The Pennsylvania Farm to School Network is coordinated by The Food Trust. It includes a leadership team, working groups and members.

We consider anyone who subscribes to our newsletter a member; there is no further involvement or cost required for members. Members receive our monthly newsletter with updates about farm to school related activities, resources and funding opportunities. Members who get involved in other network activities, for example present at an open house panel, join a working group, or volunteer their time to support the network’s vision and goals in other ways are considered “active members”. 

The Pennsylvania Farm to School Network is launching working groups with the goal of bringing members together to collaboratively work on statewide farm to school communications and network building, implementation support and policy. Working groups will be facilitated by leadership team members and will be open to the public. If you would like to learn more about working group involvement, please contact

Meet the Leadership Team


The leadership team is responsible for carrying out the strategic plan. The team meets monthly by phone and annually in person. If you are interested in serving on the leadership team, please sign up for our newsletter and stay tuned as new opportunities are announced.

  • Samantha Gibb coordinates the network and works at The Food Trust, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization working to ensure everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food and the information to make healthy decisions.
  • Patrick Andrews is the Division Chief of Markets at The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, where his responsibilities include overseeing the PA Preferred and Farm to School programs.
  • Tegan Bernstein, formerly the Mid-Atlantic Farm to School Specialist at USDA, is a consultant based in Philadelphia.
  • Sarah Buranskas is a Project Manager at the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, a coalition of over 80 entities and 120 individuals working to build a more just food system in the Greater Pittsburgh area.
  • Tiffany Edwards-Pierce is a Public Health Program Administrator at the Pennsylvania Department of Health; her work includes various school and ECE health and wellness initiatives.
  • Charlene Espenshade is the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation, an arm of the PA Farm Bureau. Much of her work centers around agriculture literacy and education. She is the National Ag in the Classroom point person for Pennsylvania.
  • Audrey Hess is a Public Health Nutritionist at the Division of Food & Nutrition within the Pennsylvania Department of Education, where her responsibilities include overseeing the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and helping build farm to child nutrition programs connections.
  • Emily Sutton Hickey (she/her) is the Associate Director of Food Systems at Pasa Sustainable Agriculture, a Pennsylvania-based sustainable agriculture association that is farmer-centered and actively works toward cultivating environmentally sound, economically viable, community-focused farms and food systems.
  • Elaine McDonnell works at Penn State University (PSU) as the Director of Project PA, a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Education and PSU that provides training and technical assistance to food service personnel on a wide variety of topics, including farm to school.
  • Winnie Richards is an Early Childhood Education Advisor at the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, a collaborative effort between Pennsylvania’s Departments of Education and Human Services. She works on various health initiatives and state-funded preschool programs.
  • Nicole Melia, RD, LDN is the Food & Nutrition Services Supervisor for the Great Valley School District and the Public Policy and Legislative Chair for the School Nutrition Association of PA (SNAPA). She has been working in school nutrition since 2009 and directs a robust farm to school program in her district.

To learn more about the PA Farm to School Network, and receive resources throughout the year, sign up for the Monthly Harvest newsletter and see past issues here.

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