DC Food Policy Council Members

Public Members

Spike Mendelsohn| Chair, Food Policy Council | Owner, Good Stuff EaterySanta Rosa TaqueriaBearnaise RestaurantWe, The Pizza, and Vim and Victor Restaurant at the St. James Sports Complex

Dalila Boclin | Director of Programs and Strategy, FRESHFARM

Chris Bradshaw| Founder & Executive Director, Dreaming Out Loud, Inc.

Dr. James Huang | Medical Director for Family Medicine, Unity Health Care

Winnie Huston| Food Policy Strategist, DC Greens

Kristy McCarron| Association Director of Community Health, YMCA of Metropolitan Washington

Emi Reyes | Risk Manager, Latino Economic Development Center

Tambra Raye Stevenson| Founder/Principal, NativSol Kitchen; Founder/CEO, Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics, and Agriculture (WANDA)

Philip Sambol| Executive Director, Oasis Community Partners; Vice President of Operations, Good Food Markets

Rev. Andre Towner | Board Chair, Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington

Ronnie Webb | Founder and President, The Green Scheme

Dr. Beverley Wheeler | Executive Director, DC Hunger Solutions

DC Government Ex-Officio Members

Giz Andargeh, Department of Transportation (DDOT)

Kate Lee, Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE)

Katie Littman, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED)

Katherine Mereand & Virginia Marie Roure, Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD)

Lindsey Palmer, Office of the Superintendent of Education (OSSE)

Dr. Ankoor Shah & Sara Beckwith, Department of Health (DC Health)


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. Previously, Ona served as the Legislative Counsel for the DC Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment, focused on 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 Students Amendment 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 across the country working to improve their communities’ food systems. Ona grew up in the DMV and currently lives in Ward 6.

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, 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 various levels of government. Emily has a Masters in Public Policy and lives in Ward 6.

Tariq Sheriff, Food Policy Analyst, DC Office of Planning

Tariq Sheriff is the Food Policy Analyst at the DC Office of Planning. He works to support the DC Food Policy Council and Food Policy Director with strategic analysis and food policy development to further the local food economy, sustainability, and food access and equity within the District. Tariq has focused his career on nutrition for underserved populations and has utilized his skills in strategic capacity building and program and operations management for many organizations. Prior to coming to DC Government, Tariq worked as the Kitchen Operations Manager at DC Central Kitchen where he managed the contract food operations and meal preparation for DC Public Schools, the Healthy Corners Program, Fresh Start Catering, and Shelter contracts. He holds a Masters in Public Health from George Washington University and was born and raised in the DMV where he currently lives.

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).