DC Food Policy Council Members
Check back soon to learn more about our new members!
Ona Balkus, Food Policy Director
Ona Balkus was appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser in August 2018 as the DC Food Policy Director to promote food access and equity, sustainability, and the local food economy here in the District. Before being appointed Director, Ona served District residents as the Legislative Counsel for the DC Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment since August 2016. Her portfolio included food and nutrition policy, parks and recreation, clean water, and public works. In this role, Ona drafted several significant pieces of food-related legislation, including the Women, Infants, and Children Program Expansion Act of 2018 and the Healthy Parks Act of 2018. Previously, Ona was a Senior Clinical Fellow at the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, where she provided guidance to food policy councils from across the country working to improve their communities’ food systems. Ona grew up in the DMV and currently lives in Ward 6.
Ashley Stephens, Staff Assistant, DC Office of Planning
Ashley Stephens joined the DC Office of Planning in 2008 as the Administrative Coordinator to the Neighborhood Planning Division and Food Policy Council. Prior to coming to OP in March 2008, she worked for the Department of Small and Local Business Development for over four years. She graduated from the University of The District of Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies in 2010. Ashley has worked on several projects at OP many of which are located in Ward 8 (where she is a resident) and, Ward 7. Some of the projects & events she has worked on while at OP: Start it in 7; If you Lived Here (Barry Farms); and the Comprehensive Plan (engagement assistance).
Emily Johnson, Cross Systems Planner, DC Office of Planning
Emily Johnson is the Cross Systems Planner at the DC Office of Planning. In her role, she coordinates data-driven research, technical analysis, and cross system planning in OP’s Citywide Strategy and Analysis Division, helping the agency gain a deeper understanding of the gaps and opportunities of improved systems in the context of growth, capacity, and land use. Emily works to advance cross-cutting strategies related to food systems, health equity, affordable housing, sustainability, land use, and inclusive economic development in Washington, DC. Emily was previously the Food Policy Analyst for OP where she supported the DC Food Policy Council and Food Policy Director with strategic food policy and data analysis. Before working for DC Government, Emily worked on food policy and economic justice issues at the North Carolina Governor’s Office, Duke University’s World Food Policy Center, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Congressional Hunger Center as an Emerson National Hunger Fellow. Emily has a Masters in Public Policy from Duke University and currently lives in Ward 1.
DC Government Agency Members
Giz Andargeh, Department of Transportation (DDOT)
Lindsey Palmer, Office of the Superintendent of Education (OSSE)
Anthony DeLorenzo, Department of General Services (DGS)
Dan Guilbeault, Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE)
Robin Diggs, Department of Health (DC Health)
Mark McCain, Department of Parks and Recreations (DPR)
Vincent Parker, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Marie Whittaker, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED)