BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jolene Cook, Director & Marketing Manager
Jolene has a Master’s Degree in Health Education and more than a decade of experience in leadership, project management, entrepreneurship, and health education at wellness centers, local food cooperatives, and currently at NEON, a Reno-based Marketing Agency that is owned and operated with her husband. Jolene leverages connections with Reno’s local food network to build Local Food Week and Reno Garlic Fest, two regional campaigns that have engaged Washoe County residents with educational experiences regarding local food for the last three years.
Melissa Hafey, Treasurer & Accounting Manager
Melissa earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Nevada Reno in Anthropology. Her undergraduate studies focused on linguistic practices and associated attitudes in local food communities and her graduate work looked at linguistic practices of women in leadership. She is a certified human resource professional with 7 years of experience in leadership and decision-making positions at local food cooperatives in Nevada and Oregon where she worked in the areas of purchasing, community engagement, marketing, governance, human resources and accounting. She is currently an HR Director for a local cannabis firm full time and manages the administrative and accounting functions for Reno Food Systems.
Melissa Gilbert, Director & Food & Cooking educator
Melissa is co-author of the cookbook Tassajara Dinners and Desserts and is a personal chef. She also teaches cooking, sewing, and gardening classes at a Washoe County high school. She has over 10 years of experience as a chef and baker specializing in creating recipes with fresh and local ingredients. Melissa creates recipes and performs food preparation demonstrations with locally grown ingredients in workshops and at some mobile market days to increase our customers’ comfort level working with locally grown produce.
Lyndsey Langsdale, President & Farm Manager
Lyndsey has a Master’s Degree in Applied Anthropology from Northern Arizona University. She has worked both internationally and regionally in the fields of urban agriculture, food security, food justice, food systems development, ethnography, qualitative research, archaeology, folklife studies, and human rights. She was co-owner/operator of Lost City Farm, an urban farm in downtown Reno that closed in 2016. She has been the Farm Manager at RFS since then. Lyndsey manages the farm at Betsy Caughlin Donnelly Park, including all farm activities and mentoring of farm interns.
Neil Bertrando, Secretary & Nursery Manager
Neil holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Health from the University of Nevada, Reno. He is the owner of RT Permaculture, a landscape design firm that specializes in design, installation, and consulting for effective and sustainable landscapes that produce crops suited for their region. Neil managed an organic fruit farm for 2 years and, following that, has been involved in farm development/design and watershed restoration work for the past 10 years. Neil designed, implemented, and manages the Fruit & Spice Project at Park Farm, a micro-nursery and demonstration agroforestry and medicinal plant system.
Mike Mechanic, Director & Farm Mechanic
Mike “Mechanic” has a technical degree in Automotive/Diesel Technology from the Universal Technical Institute in Arizona. At Park Farm, he serves as our tractor mechanic and operator, irrigation specialist, and our go-to for all construction projects. He is also passionate about ethical meat production and safe home butchering practices. Hence, he is our livestock production coordinator.
Mike is the owner of a local business called Fairly Square and fabricates bespoke furnishings out of various materials for commercial and residential clients.
Meagan O'Farrell, Director & Mobile Market Manager
Meagan earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is a former intern of Reno Food Systems and has experience in native plant cultivation and landscape restoration. She is a passionate advocate for social justice initiatives in our region. She currently manages the Mobile Farmer’s Market and works with local stakeholders on food access and advocacy.