Michael Shuman is co-founder and director for research and public policy for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). An economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, Shuman is one of the nation's leading experts on community, economics, and the advantages of small-scale business in an era of globalization. He has authored, co-authored, and edited seven books, including the Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition and Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age. The Small Mart Revolution received a bronze medal for best business book by the Independent Publishers' Association. Click here for longer bio.
NEO Food Assessment Team
Leslie Schaller provides contract services on behalf of the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACENet). Founded in 1985, ACENet is a community-based economic development organization located in the rural appalachia of Ohio. The mission of ACENet is to build the capacity of Appalachian communities to network, work together, and innovate to create a dynamic, sustainable regional economy with opportunities for all. ACENet's organizational food sector programs are nationally renowned for developing local food systems infrastructure, farmers market networks, access to market initiatives, and regional branding programs for farm and processed products. Click here for longer bio.
Brad Masi is an independent consultant with 19 years of experience in local food systems development, non-profit management, and ecological design. A social entrepreneur, writer, filmmaker, community organizer, and teacher, Masi is one of the early innovators in local food systems development in Northeast Ohio, beginning his work co-founding a local food purchasing initiative as a student at Oberlin College in 1990. Masi worked with the nationally renowned Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College to coordinate community outreach programs from 1995-2000 and founded the New Agrarian Center (NAC) in 2000 and served as its Executive Director until 2009. Through his work at the NAC, Masi founded several social enterprises to address the development of a more sustainable regional food system in Northeast Ohio. Click here for longer bio.