DC Food Policy Council Members

We are so excited that we have several new FPC members. Check back soon to learn more about our new members! 

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Spike Mendelsohn |    Chair, Food Policy Council | Owner, Good Stuff Eatery, Santa Rosa TaqueriaBearnaise RestaurantWe, The Pizza, and Vim and Victor Restaurant at the St. James Sports Complex
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Chris Bradshaw |      Founder and Executive Director, Dreaming Out Loud, Inc. 
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Tambra Raye Stevenson |    Founder / Principal Consultant, NativSol Kitchen | Founder / CEO, Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics, and Agriculture (WANDA)
Joelle Robinson | Community Organizer


Ona Balkus, Food Policy Director

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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.

Emily Johnson, Policy Analyst, DC Office of Planning


Emily Johnson joined the Office of Planning (OP) as a Policy Analyst in June 2018. In her role, she contributes to citywide strategic policies related to food access, health equity, and sustainable food systems in the District of Columbia. Prior to working at OP, Emily worked at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Eating Research initiative where she supported the health and wellbeing of low-income families and children by researching and evaluating evidence-based child nutrition and family supportive policies. Emily also advanced 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.

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).

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)