We are thrilled to welcome June Russell to the Glynwood team as Director of Regional Food Programs, specializing in grains and staples. Russell makes the move to Glynwood from GrowNYC’s Greenmarket where she built the groundbreaking social enterprise brand GrowNYC Grains, and oversaw Greenmarket’s Producer Compliance program, among many other accomplishments during her tenure there from 2004-2021.
“I am thrilled to welcome to our team June’s wealth of experience developing innovative solutions to regional foodshed challenges,“ said Kathleen Finlay, President at Glynwood. “With June’s arrival, Glynwood adds this important sector to our work promoting a Hudson Valley foodshed.”
In her role at Glynwood, Russell will work with stakeholders to continue to build markets for emerging crops, as well as work to promote production of grains and staples including the adoption of climate adaptation strategies.
Russell grew up in Southwest Michigan’s famed Fruit Belt and has spent over three decades working at the nexus of food, agriculture and markets. June spent the first fifteen years of her career as a professional working in numerous capacities within the food business, from baker and chef to café and beverage manager. While at GrowNYC, she traveled extensively within the Northeast region visiting hundreds of farms and production facilities. In addition, she facilitated significant policy changes that have impacted agriculture in the region including Greenmarket’s 2009 Bakers’ Rules which helped to launch the market for local grains. June has received several awards including the Slow Food NYC Snailblazer award, the NOFA-NY Golden Carrot award and has co-authored several academic papers with collaborators.
“I am honored to be continuing my professional journey at Glynwood,” said Russell, adding that she sees tremendous potential for the Hudson Valley’s foodshed to support more crops and varieties typically associated with a ‘whole diet’ approach to food systems planning. On average, grains products - mostly wheat - comprise a significant amount of a person’s diet: up to 20% of daily calories. According to 2014’s New England Food Vision, 95% of the grains consumed in the Northeast by people and animals are currently grown outside the region.
“A renewal of diverse staple crops on farms -- combined with a proliferation of small scale infrastructure and processing in the region -- demonstrates the capacity for non-profits like Glynwood to be a progressive force in driving farm viability in the Northeast,” said Russell.
Michael Hurwitz, GrowNYC Director of Food Access and Agriculture said: “I had the incredible privilege to work with June for these past 14 years. From grains and legumes to off-farm processing and strategic approaches to farm inspections and marketing, June’s contributions to our region’s agriculture will be felt for generations. I will dearly miss working with her directly but am excited to see what she accomplishes over these next 14 years.”
Linda LaViolette, Special Assistant at NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets said: “I have the utmost regard for June Russell's abilities and have had the good fortune to collaborate with her with her on many projects over the past 10 years. June is an outstanding professional and has been a force of nature promoting and building the regional grain shed. She is a wonderful collaborator and advocate for regional grains and includes everyone in the effort: bakers, brewers, millers, organic and Native American producers. If I have a question I go to June: she understands farming, marketing and logistics.”
Sharon Burns-Leader, COO and Co-Owner of Bread Alone bakery offered: “The fact that locally grown flour is available anywhere in the Northeast is directly due to a small group of people who shepherded the grain unceremoniously but with little wavering into the bowls of bakers, chefs and millers. June Russell is one of the first to have realized that an economic lever had to be pulled in order to create the demand needed to secure the supply….June’s work has added value to the plates and pockets of all manner of people who want to eat better, feed more people and keep as much carbon in the soil as possible.”
As Director of Regional Food Programs, June joins Glynwood’s growing program team, including colleagues Megan Larmer (Senior Director of Regional Food Programs), Michelle Hughes (Associate Director of Regional Food), Dave Llewelleyn (Director of Farmer Training) and Kate Anstreicher (Program Manager). Under the leadership of Kathleen Finlay (formerly a director at Harvard’s Center for Global Health and the Environment), this team collectively holds over 60 years experience serving food and agriculture in the Hudson and beyond.