Co-Founder, Executive Director
Jen is a Michigander and calls Detroit home. She has served as Executive Director of the Detroit Food Academy for 5 years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Colgate University. In 2010, she received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to explore the social, economic, and environmental impact of chocolate production on small scale cacao farming communities around the world. Inspired to link young people with farmers close to home, she completed two terms with national service FoodCorps and local organization Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP), connecting cafeterias and classrooms in high needs school districts with local food from Michigan farmers and school gardens. Seeing the need to engage students beyond the school year, Jen co-founded the Detroit Food Academy alongside Noam and Amy, bringing food, business, and learning together. As Executive Director, Jen supports the organization from vision creation to strategic planning and budgeting to administrative functions, food systems education, culture-building, program facilitation, and fun captain-ing.
Yolanda grew up in Lansing, MI and has been in Detroit for the past four years. Her studies include Marriage and Family Counseling, Business courses at Baker College, and now Yolanda will be adding Culinary arts training to her repertoire.Yolanda is a lifelong learner who gathers passion from new information. In Lansing, Yolanda worked for ten years as a Before- and After-School Program Director for New City Academy. During her last two years, she served the school as a Behavioral Specialist. In 2012, Yolanda and her large family (husband and six children) moved to Detroit. Yolanda is the Advanced Leadership Coordinator for Detroit Food Academy, where she supports students who have been in the program for over one year in launching their next-level food projects. Working with children is not what Yolanda does as a living, it is who she is as a person. Yolanda knows what the danger of unhealthy eating can do in a life, it is her endeavor to eat healthy as well as teach healthy eating to the community. Detroit Food Academy is not only a way to present a healthy eating lifestyle to our children, it is also a way to create sustainability within the home as well. She is ready to ensure that children are armed with the knowledge that healthy eating is not just a fad, it is the way to a healthier life and body.
Advanced Program Coordinator
Kamaria was born in Detroit and has spent majority of her life within the limits of the city. Everything here is representative of nostalgic experiences and very close to her heart. She is attending Schoolcraft College for a degree in early childhood development and has a fierce commitment to improving the conditions of our public schools and the systems in place that allow those conditions to continue. Her main interests are baking and justice. She is so excited and honored to be a part of the DFA team and can not wait to see how these new students and new co-workers impact her life in the most positive of ways.
Small Batch Youth Fellowship Coordinator; Classroom Facilitator
Julie is an educator, activist, artist, and adventurer that lives on the East Side of Detroit. Planted in the swamplands of Northern Ohio, she grew roots in Appalachia, bore fruit in the Windy City, and finally has begun a ripening process in the fertile lands of Detroit City, USA. She has been working with Detroit Food Academy at Cesar Chavez Academy High School in Southwest Detroit for the past two school years, and helps support the DFA summer program out of Eastern Market. Julie is passionate about educating young adults about all things food in order to build better and more sustainable food systems within the city. Julie has adopted a philosophy and lifestyle encompassing the idea of “food as healing,” along with an extreme appreciation of the cultural and social histories surrounding food. Recent projects include the opening of a package-free, dry goods and seasonal produce based, bulk food cooperative grocery store in historic East Poletown.
Small Batch Director
Jake graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from Central Michigan University in 2012, where his major focuses of study were on community health and sports nutrition. After graduation, he took graduate courses in Nonprofit Organization and Management at Oakland University before accepting the position of Healthy Eating Specialist for Whole Foods Market in Naples, FL. While in this position he obtained a culinary certification in plant based nutrition, and got the opportunity to work extensively with nonprofit organizations, schools and children’s museums, teaching cooking and healthy eating classes. Jake’s passion for nutrition education, food security and sustainability lead him back to Michigan as an Americorps Vista, serving a year term with Detroit Food Academy. He is now the Director of DFA’s Small Batch.
Dakarai Carter is student at Wayne State University working on a Bachelor’s in Social Work. Working as an employee in the food industry sparked in Dakarai an interest in healthy food and the accessibility of it. Dakarai is a Classroom Coordinator with the Detroit Food Academy with the partners the small schools at Osborn High School, Henry Ford Creative Arts Academy, and Central Collegiate Academy. Dakarai also works with youth activist groups such as Detroit Future Youth Network, and volunteers his time at the James and Grace Lee Boggs school.
Classroom Facilitator, DFA Alum
Growing up on Detroits west side and calling Detroit home since birth Brandon likes to think of himself as a true Detroiter. Sparking an interest and passion for food at a young age he knew that he wanted his life to be whisked into the culinary field. Not knowing where he could begin kneading his journey he stumbled across Detroit Food Academy in the last semester of his senior year of high school. Intrigued by the program he began planning how he could become part of the growing recipe of Detroit Food Academy after completion of high school. After being hired and completing the six week summer youth program he was hired in with a newly created position created specifically for him and another former DFA student. Since being part of the continuously growing DFA team as a Classroom Coordinator Brandon have embarked on many self impacting journeys many involving ways that he could better himself and the youth of the program. Brandon’s goal by partnering with DFA is to influence youth that with all odds stacked against them anything is possible. Brandon currently has three jobs Detroit Food Academy (Classroom Coordinator), Trinosophes (Cook), and Chipotle Mexican Grill. Brandon also, attends Schoolcraft College, where he has received a full tuition paid scholarship from professional football player DeAndre Levy and Chef James Rigato of Mabel Gray Kitchen towards him working on his Bachelors degree in Culinarily Arts.
Classroom Facilitator, Small Batch Staff, DFA Alum
Hi, my name is Sarah Scarborough. I am a class room coordinator for Detroit Food Academy. I love food but food is just a hobby. My real passion is hair, nails and makeup. My entry into Detroit Food Academy was as a student. My high school did not offer a lot of after school programs and DFA was one of the programs that my sister and I loved. I love this program because it has taught me a lot about food skills and entrepreneurship. In the future I would like to open my own salon.
Wayne State Alumni with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a concentration in African American studies, Andrea was born and raised in southeast Michigan. Volunteering and non-profit work have been driving forces in Andreas life since she was a child. She has been working in organic gardens and farms for the past six years to learn about healthy and sustainable food systems. She has also been working in educating youth for the past ten years. Andrea’s passions for cooking, the planet, and education have come to a beautiful intersection through DFA. By advocating for, and uplifting the voices of today’s youth Andrea hopes to have a community oriented relationship with food.
Small Batch Leader, DFA Alum
Hassan was raised in Detroit and just recently graduated from Cody High School. Working full time with Small Batch is his dream job. As an aspiring culinary arts chef, he is currently earning his degree in culinary arts at Schoolcraft College.
Junior Classroom Facilitator, DFA Alum
My name is Diamond Dantzler. I am a recent Graduate of Henry Ford High School for Creative Studies.
I am an aspiring chef. I plan to attend Schoolcraft College to pursue my culinary degree. I am currently a Classroom Coordinator with Detroit Food Academy, and I am a prep cook for Guerilla Food. I love to try new flavors and do exciting things with food.
Small Batch Staff, Junior Classroom Facilitator, DFA Alum
My name is De’Shawn Lindsay I am 19 years old and I was born and raised in Detroit, MI in a single parent household, being the youngest of 3 siblings. My biggest passions are dogs and teaching, but it was until I joined DFA (Detroit Food Academy) that I realized I had a passion for culinary arts and local businesses in my city, causing me to want to create things to help and give back to my city.
Junior Classroom Facilitator; Small Batch Student Staff, DFA Alum
My name is Rachel Smith. I am a 2017 graduate of Henry Ford High School for Creative studies. I am headed to college next fall to study Business and Psychology.
Junior Classroom Facilitator; Small Batch Student Staff, DFA Alum
Hello my name is Rachelle Perkins I am an alumni of Henry Ford Academy as well as Detroit food academy. I am currently a junior classroom coordinator with Detroit food academy and a team member of small batch Detroit. I am an inspiring chef who loves learning through the eyes of Detroit’s youth.
Beyonca is a Pre-Kindergarten teacher who adores working with youth. She’s a lover of challenging herself and learning new things, cooking happens to be one of those things that she’s in the middle of learning but she knows that it is something she enjoys to do. She’s the youngest of a family of five, having two older sisters. Detroit is her hometown. People would consider her an introvert because she would rather spend a Friday night at home than go out, “which is true”.😂 She has a beautiful daughter named Naomi❤️. Her favorite things to do in her free time include: exploring nature, relaxing, movies, organizing, spending time with family, and of course playing with her daughter.
My name is Jarrid. I was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan and lived there my whole life pretty much. While in Lansing, I attended Eastern High School, Class of 2010, and after that I attended Lansing Community College for a little bit. Then a couple years later, I went to Career Quest College and graduated in Pharmacy Tech, but as you move forward in life, you realize life can take a lot of different directions. Now it’s led me to Detroit to start a new chapter in life, and I hope it has many great adventures ahead of me, and I hope to make great new friends in the DFA family. My personal life, I’m married for almost 3 years now, I have a beautiful baby girl, my hobbies include sports, drawing, video games, telling jokes, and hanging out with friends.
Co-Founder, Board President
Noam earned his Bachelor of Science in Biological Anthropology and his Master of Public Health in Health Policy from the University of Michigan. In 2010, he co-founded a mission-driven fresh food delivery service called Fresh Corner Café L3C, which works to ensure that all Detroiters can easily and always access an affordable healthy meal. In 2014, the Small Business Administration’s SCORE Foundation awarded Noam with the Outstanding Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and, in 2016, he was recognized as one of Forbes’ Magazine’s 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs.
As a social entrepreneur, Noam advises on the business and triple bottom line components of the curriculum. As Board President, he is primarily responsible for building networks of support that will allow the Food Academy to realize its full potential as a pillar of Detroit high school education and a renowned product brand (Small Batch Detroit) throughout the Country.
Shannon Byrne earned a BA in English and Women’s Studies from Boston College and a Masters of Arts and Teaching from The University of Michigan. After a decade of work as an educator and maternal health activist, Shannon switched gears and launched Slow Jams, a local food company in Metro Detroit. Slow Jams evolved from Shannon’s commitment to community gardening and local food preservation into a vision driven artisan food company bringing handmade Michigan Jams to a stand at Eastern Market in the autumn of 2011. Under Shannon’s Leadership, Slow Jams has grown to become a Metro Detroit favorite and is now available at many specialty groceries, restaurants, and institutions throughout Michigan. Shannon serves on The Detroit Food Academy’s Board of Directors and is a steering committee member for FoodLab Detroit.
After many years in corporate America, Ken founded an education company in Chicago, IL – Success Lab, Inc. – that grew to be listed as #16 in INC. magazine’s Inner City 100. After retiring and moving to Metro Detroit, he watched the Great Recession throw many families either into or deeper into poverty. He also became aware of food insecurity and the growing childhood hunger problem – a problem that was equally as big and complex but even more catastrophic than the ineffectiveness of big city public education.
Ken began volunteering with the United Way for Southeastern Michigan and was soon immersed in the region’s food system and the many problems born out of poverty and the lack of access to fresh food. Two years later, with a street-level understanding of the problems and armed with decades of experience at innovating and getting things done, Ken founded Southeast Michigan Food System Navigators, now known as GroundWerx.CI.
Today, GroundWerx.CI is a contractor to the United Way for Southeastern Michigan. GroundWerx.CI has a goal of improving the quality of life in the tri-county Metro Detroit region by assuring that all kids in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties have access to 3 meals per day, 365 days a year either where they live, where they learn, or where they play. Ken serves on the board of Detroit Food Academy, on the Executive Committee of No Kid Hungry Michigan and is an active partner with No Kid Hungry-Detroit Chapter.
Amy Berkhoudt is passionate about building innovative educational communities where kids and adults feel capable of changing their lives and the world. During her time as an high school ELA teacher in Detroit, she began exploring new educational opportunities for her students beyond the traditional classroom. She co-founded Detroit Food Academy in 2011, helping to guide, build, and run the foundation of the curricula and programmatic aspects of the organization.
Amy has experience as a teacher, instructional coach, policy advisory, community organizer, and works in non-profit management and program creation and implementation. She is dedicated to ensuring all students have access to an equitable education and are college & career ready. She received her B.A. in Journalism and M.A. in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Michigan.
Patti Aaron, Whole Heart Group
Joe Gaglio, Deloitte
Yodit Mesfin Johnson, Non-profit Enterprise at Work (NEW)
Jay Rayford, Rep your City
Chris Uhl, Rock Ventures
Crystal Motts, Good People Popcorn
Dan Carmody, Eastern Market
Hedy Blatt, Education Management
Wayne Ramocan, Osborn Neighborhood Alliance
Jessican Nabongo, United Nations Food & Agriculture
Paul Saginaw, Zingermans
Tammy Tedesco, Edibles Rex
David Broner, SCORE – SBA
Michael Graub, Woodward Check Cashing
Marshall Rader, Gluten Free Bar