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Liz Wiley
Executive Director
Ext: 116

Liz Wiley comes to the Marion Institute with a diverse background focused on environmental and social sustainability.  Originally trained as a biologist, she helped pioneer methods to rescue mass stranded whales and dolphins, investigated the impact of noise on killer whales and logged thousands of hours identifying and mapping the location of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.  While passionate about environmental protection, her experience as a woman in science led to a greater commitment in improving the lives of underserved women and the need to form healthy communities that combine environmental and social needs.  It was through her work at Bristol Community College (BCC) that she was able to develop and expand these principles through grant initiatives focused on workforce development and the green economy.

Most recently, Liz was the Food Security Lead at Spherical Analytics and Impact LABS where her work with farmers, fisheries and aquaculture focused on live piloting IoT technologies and designing, developing and marketing enterprise grade blockchain-enabled platform solutions.

Liz received her MS in Organizational Management and Leadership from Antioch University-New England, where her thesis focused on the ‘Role of Women in Creating and Maintaining Sustainable Communities’.  She has taught courses at Boston University and BCC and is a certified yoga teacher.  Liz and her family; Dave, Luke, Nathan live in Wareham.

Scott Codey
Frogfoot Farmer

Scott has more than a decade of farming experience having worked on everything from a permaculture farm to a 40 acre production farm. Prior to becoming a farmer, he worked for a variety of non-profit organizations in both New York City and Washington DC. He graduated from Earlham College and UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Scott’s hobbies include bread baking, reading non-fiction books with impenetrable titles and proselytizing about the merits of Jimmy Nardello peppers. He vociferously recommends Paul Robeson tomatoes, Striped Armenian cucumbers, Argentata chard, Winter Luxury and Red Kuri squash, Red Gold potatoes, as well as the following peppers: Chervena Chushka, Carmen & Escamillo, Corno di Toro Rosso and Bridge to Paris. He also claims that life is too short for growing bell peppers.

Christy Mach Dubé
Director of Engagement
Ext: 118

Christy comes to the Marion Institute with over 15 years of experience as a strategic advisor to philanthropists, nonprofits, and political candidates. She has deep experience in the fields of nutrition and food security, gender and racial equity, education, policy, and philanthropy promotion. Most recently, Christy served as the Vice President of Programs at the Eos Foundation. Professionally, she is most proud of contributions made to secure passage of Breakfast After the Bell legislation, which ensures low-income children across Massachusetts have daily access to a nutritious school breakfast.

Christy holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree from Middlebury College. She enjoys World War II historical fiction novels, coaching soccer, speaking French, and gathering with friends. Christy lives in Marion with her husband, their three children, and sweet pup, Scooby.

Jessica Frank
BioMed Program Manager
Ext: 115

Jessica (Webb) Frank has been steeped in the business and practice of mind/body medicine since 2011. Her diverse career began as a journalist and editor in New York City before she pivoted to the travel and hospitality industry, spending ten years as a professional luxury yacht crew member. She landed in New England – by boat – and began establishing new roots in her personal passion: the natural health industry. For five years, she owned and operated Anchor Yoga, a thriving meditation and yoga studio in Mattapoisett, MA. During that time, she founded her own non-profit, Project Wheel House, serving marginalized communities on the Southcoast with trauma-sensitive mindfulness and yoga programs.

Jessica is certified to teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) through Brown University’s Mindfulness Center and holds numerous adjunctive certifications. She is most proud of her work teaching the Path of Freedom prison mindfulness program to people who are incarcerated.

Jessica is deeply committed to the ongoing practice of self-awareness and believes this is the key to greater compassion, growth, and lasting joy. When she’s not working, Jess is either meditating, camping, paddleboarding, or spending time with her husband, Dave, and their dog, Molly.

Rita Higgins
Director of Food Access and Innovation
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Rita Higgins has a diverse background in food and non-food related work ranging from forestry, to a professional career in landscape design, to local politics as a member of the Nantucket Select Board, to experience as a small food producer in Ireland and Upstate New York. Rita’s focus has been on the human connection to land through the built environment, a focus she has explored through landscape design for over 15 years.

Five years ago, the essential nature of our connection to the land, to each other, and our impact on the environment through food became a motivating inspiration for her to become more involved in the world of food. This was coupled with the opportunity to take over an Upstate NY family-owned garlic farm and kitchen operations for a winter – an opportunity which highlighted the massive systemic supply chain issues that can prohibit small, local producer success and prevent eating healthfully, seasonally, and sustainably.

She brought these experiences and observations with her back to Nantucket and founded Pip & Anchor and 100 Mile Markets – two businesses that focus on making finding and buying local food easier.

Rita is a graduate of McGill University where she studied Environment and International Development.

Liz Russell
Development Associate
Ext: 114

Liz Russell has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2002 and within development and grantmaking for most of those years. She is passionate about social and environmental justice and feels privileged to rejoin the Marion Institute as Development Associate. In addition to development, Liz brings experience in diversity and inclusion work, program coordination, financial and systems management, contract administration, and event planning. 

A Midwesterner at heart, she was born and raised in a small farming village in Illinois before moving to New York City to study Anthropology and Archaeology at Hunter College. While there, she was invited to participate in a life-changing archaeological dig near Lincoln, New Mexico, where she met her husband. They currently live in Marion, MA with their two children and many pets.

Nate Sander
Grow Education Program Manager
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Nate brings a unique blend of experience amassed from more than 20 years of work in the education, non-profit, and agriculture sectors. His unique skill set will help to strengthen Grow Education’s reach and impact as school gardening programs expand and deepen across the Southcoast.  He was most recently working with Round the Bend Farm where he wore many hats over nine years; working with land-based farming systems, community building, sustainable design and construction, beekeeping, and finally as the Education Manager leading field trips, presentations, tours, workshops, professional development, service learning, overnight camps, and curriculum development. He spent several years teaching and running afterschool and summer programs in Seattle and moved back to the east coast after completing a three-year pilot with Seattle Public Schools and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that focused on school and community partnership collaboration and alignment.

Nate is originally from Atlanta and graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Fine Art.  He loves traveling, spending time in the wilderness, gardening, live music, and making stuff.

His passion for sustainable community health, environmental stewardship, equitable food access, and experiential education will act as catalysts to support regional efforts to create healthier futures for our students.

Abigail Smith
Human Resources Manager
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Abby graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology and minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and has a personal interest and commitment to social justice and quality compassionate healthcare. Prior to working at the Marion Institute, Abby’s experience as the office manager at a chiropractic office developed her belief in a multi-faceted holistic approach to health and wellness encompassing mental and physical wellbeing as well as nutrition. Away from the office, you can find her gardening, reading, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Christine Smith
Southcoast Food Policy Council Program Manager
Ext. 110

Christine began her social justice career working in Taiwan to help migrant workers from all over Southeast Asia. Upon her return to the U.S.A., she worked in a soup kitchen for Catholic Charities in Maryland. After several years of seeing injustices in the social and economic support systems, Christine moved from direct service to educating people on social justice concerns and legislative advocacy issues. She worked in advocacy and organizing both at the state-wide level in Maryland and Idaho. Christine also worked in partnership building on justice issues at the international level for Catholic Relief Services. Christine moved to Massachusetts to be closer to family and work for the social justice and restoration of our world. She enjoys hiking, off-road bicycling, traveling, learning how to garden, and the beach.

Hannah Traggis
Frogfoot Farm Program Manager

Hannah Traggis comes to the Marion Institute with a lifelong love of plants and gardening, deep connections to the natural world, and passion for working towards a just society through the lens of food security, climate resilient agriculture, and ecological farming. As a plant physiologist and plant breeder, she has worked as a food system educator, horticulturist, and farmer for over 16 years. In that time, she has conducted numerous studies to optimize low input food production techniques for both home gardeners and farmers. She also continues work as a plant breeder to develop new crop varieties and restore and preserve regionally specific cultural crops. As a child in rural Maine during the 70’s and 80’s, her back-to-the-land mom imbued the values of organic farming, composting, and heirloom and exotic seeds from all over the world. Her fascination with world food culture has led Hannah to the deep belief that food should not only nourish our bodies, but should nourish our souls by connecting us to our ancestral heritages.

During the pandemic, Hannah co-founded an all-volunteer nonprofit farming organization that continues to grow food for 5 food pantries in the Greater Boston area utilizing regenerative agroecological farming methodologies. She is excited to bring that experience to the establishment and development of the Marion Institute’s Frogfoot Farm – Neighbors Feeding Neighbors program.

Paul Costa
FoodCorps Service Member

Paul is married and the father of two adult boys. He has a background in Pest Control Management, Foodservice Sales, Restaurant Management, and cooking. Paul enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, and biking.

Hazel Kent
FoodCorps Service Member

Hazel Kent is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with bachelor’s degrees in sociology and theatre design. There, she served as media director for Students Fighting Climate Change, an organization advocating for UT’s divestment from fossil fuels. Upon graduation, she traveled to the San Juan Islands to hone her gardening skills through World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming. Hazel now joins the Marion Institute as a FoodCorps member in implementation of the Grow Education program, where she provides garden lessons and maintenance in New Bedford’s public schools. A lifelong lover of culture, art and learning, Hazel’s work in spreading nature’s word is informed by her upbringing in the world of ranching and conservation between Texas and western New York.

Andrea Watkins
FoodCorps Service Member

Andrea was born in Taunton MA and raised in Freetown MA. She graduated in 2007 from old colony RVTHS in the culinary arts program. After high school Andrea traveled around the country to follow her dream of becoming a Flight Attendant. Following 7 years as a Flight attendant having lived in California, Minnesota,Texas and Las Vegas and becoming a mother, Andrea moved back home to the south coast of Massachusetts. Andrea encourages her son to try new food whenever the opportunity presents itself, and enjoys cooking new recipes at home. She is excited to share her knowledge about cooking and food as well as expand her experience in the garden working alongside side students and teachers this year.

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