Who We Are

PIFF is governed, led, and advised by three different groups: our staff, our Board of Directors, and our Advisory Panel. See below to read more about each of the folks who help PIFF grow every day. 

Interested in working with us? Find that information here.

Staff

Liz Brownlee, Co-Director

Liz Brownlee serves as PIFF's Co-Director with the responsibilities of programming creation and implementation as well as outreach and network development. She has a passion for helping farmers connect and learn from each other. 

Liz and her husband, Nate, run Nightfall Farm, on her family's land in southeast Indiana. They've converted fifty acres of corn and soybean land to pasture, where they rotationally graze livestock on pasture and sell meat and eggs via their CSA, to restaurants and independent groceries, and farmers markets. Liz helped launch the Hoosier Young Farmers Coalition, and is eager to bring that sense of camaraderie and connection to PIFF. 

Whitney Buccicone, Co-Director 

Whitney Buccicone serves as one of the Co-Directors at PIFF. Her responsibilities include operations, personnel management, board relations, finances, and fundraising. 

Her background is in libraries where she developed skills to help organizations evolve to their full potential. After a few years away, she is beyond thrilled to return to Indiana and transition to the world of supporting farmers and farming. Her goals in this role are to do all she can to make PIFF as sustainable as possible and ensure all of our farmers are set up for success and sustainability themselves. 


Outside of work, her passions include making pottery, writing, gardening, and hanging out with her dog, Penne Pasta.

Board of Directors

Kate Franzman

Kate Franzman is a highly curious and strategic thinker with a strong background in urban agriculture, youth empowerment, and communications. Her professional journey mirrors her deep-seated passion for fostering connections between people and the natural world. In her current role as the Managing Director of The Patachou Foundation, she manages two productive urban farms and experiential learning programs for youth. She has been involved in urban agriculture for 11 years. 


Prior to her work with The Patachou Foundation, Kate worked as a copywriter and editorial director for local ad agencies. As a freelance writer, her work has appeared in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis Monthly, the Indy Star, and Pattern Magazine covering food, architecture, local businesses, music, and more.

Originally from Auburn, Indiana, Kate holds a B.A. in Journalism and Theatre from Penn State University and has also earned an Urban Agriculture Certificate from Purdue University. In her leisure moments, you can find her strolling along the banks of the White River looking for rocks and bugs to add to her collections. 

Cesar Gellido, Treasurer 


Cesar Gellido is a mushroom farmer, soil advocate, master naturalist, and architectural designer. He started a community grassroots fire mitigation program,in Colorado, that won an Innovation Award from the USDA Forest Service and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. He says it was the best “master class” on how to integrate his personal interests with a community’s needs to build an effective meaningful program. When Cesar moved to Indiana in 2020, he knew he wanted to continue this relationship-based work.

 

Cesar is in the early stages of a mushroom business, so he can relate to the challenges of new farmers. As a designer, he is trained to break down complex ideas into systems. When he understands systems, he knows he can build an elegant and functional solution. The ability to connect the dots—especially those that typically seem unrelated—is one superpower he brings to PIFF. 

Danielle Guerin, Member-At-Large

Danielle founded Soul Food Project Indy, a nonprofit farm that’s growing food, feeding neighbors, and training youth. She brings experience with all things farming nonprofit, from how to file for nonprofit status to recruiting board members and writing grants.

Danielle’s background is in business. She has been involved in the farming world since 2013 and has been the lead farmer since starting Soul Food Project Indy in 2017. She is passionate about building a just and equitable food system. As a Black female farmer, Danielle is aware of the struggles that many in her community face. Danielle is eager to help PIFF understand BIPOC farmers’ needs and hear their honest feedback. 

Sarah Hanson

Sarah Hanson grew up in the beautiful hills of Crawford County, Indiana on a small pasture-based beef farm. She is the Indiana Food Systems Coordinator for Purdue Extension. Sarah has 10 years experience as a county-based agriculture and natural resources Educator and has been working with a local food council and other food systems organizations. 


Sarah also enjoys being a part of the Purdue Diversified Farming and Food Systems team; having a role in the Indiana Small Farms Conference and the Beginning Farmer virtual program. She covers the state for food systems support and part of her work is specific to supporting food businesses and connecting them with Purdue efforts for food safety and business training. She is also working with folks from around Indiana to help educate farmers markets managers and vendors. She is excited to learn more about the many entrepreneurs making value-added products. 


Sarah lives in Indianapolis with her husband and 2 kids. Her hobbies include just about anything outdoors, especially gardening.

Porchea McGuire

As one of the newest board members of Partners In Food and Farming, Porchea McGuire brings a wealth of expertise and a deep-seated passion for sustainable agriculture and community empowerment. A devoted mother of two and a dedicated partner, Porchea embodies the balance of family and professional commitment.

Porchea's journey in the world of agriculture is marked by her role as a diversified vegetable grower, blending this with a profound interest in herbalism and food crafting. Her background in horticulture is not just academic; it's a living practice that sees her actively developing green spaces within urban neighborhoods. This dedication stems from her belief in the transformative power of nature in urban settings.

Her work has notably included establishing community gardens, where her skills in teaching herbalism shine through. Porchea is deeply passionate about exploring and studying Black culture in its various facets, believing in the importance of understanding cultural roots and expressions in building inclusive communities.

At the heart of her work is a commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, particularly within Indiana's food systems. Porchea is driven by the vision of creating resilient communities and initiatives that not only address current needs but also empower future generations.

Porchea's previous role as a board member for the NW Indiana Food Council laid a strong foundation for her current position. She also serves on the advisory council for Black LOAM and the Garden Advisory Committee for Indiana University Northwest, and owner/grower at Shiloh Divine Farms, roles that reflect her expertise and dedication to fostering growth and sustainability in local food systems.

In her role as the Equity and Engagement Coordinator, Porchea is poised to make significant contributions to the Council's mission, drawing on her extensive experience and passion for community, agriculture, and cultural understanding.

Ann Radtke, President

Ann has been involved in the agricultural community since 2015 when she ran and operated a small market farm from her home in Greenwood, Indiana selling cut flower arrangements at 4 markets throughout Indianapolis. From 2018 to 2023, Ann worked full time as the Program Coordinator for Society of St. Andrew, working statewide connecting farmers with local volunteers to glean surplus produce for donation to hunger relief agencies. 

Ann currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana in the Twin Aire community on the Southeast side, with her 18 year old kiddo and 3 year old German Shepherd. 

Xinyuan Shi


Xinyuan Shi is a lifelong learner and foodie. She loves exploring different

farming practices and got her start in practical farming abroad as a Peace Corps

volunteer in rural Zambia. Since then, she’s worked for small-scale veggie

farms, a chestnut cooperative, and maple farm. Currently, she works for

Savanna Institute, consulting on tree-based agroforestry projects. 


She’s originally from upstate New York but now lives in Indianapolis. You can find

her biking around the city.

Advisory Panel 

Mia Brown

I’m a  Bipoc farmer at Brown Family Farms of Fayette County. My husband and I have been farming for 13 years. It’s been my to passion to learn, share and teach self sustainability to the community. My goal and hope is to help change mindsets of people by embracing and supporting our local farmers. I’m currently working with the Local Food Purchasing Assistance program that will enable the community to be the recipients of healthy fresh  quality food from our local farmers. 

Wendy Carpenter

I own and run a small organic vegetable farm together with my son in Randolph County Indiana (Christopher Farm). I have been farming there since 1997. 

Bekah Clawson

I am President & CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank located in Muncie, IN and serving eight East Central Indiana Counties with food and other non-food resources. I have been working in the non-profit areas of poverty and food insecurity for many years and in several different states. My passion is working toward equitable food access and food distribution for all Hoosiers. 

Kris Klueg Heeter

I am a biologist at Indiana University and I currently serve as President of the North American Fruit Explorers (NAFEX), on the Board of Directors of the Northern Nut Growers Association (NNGA) and Indiana Nut and Fruit Growers Association (INFGA). My husband (Brian) and I have a small orchard and classified forest on a 100-acre place in Solsberry, IN, where we house Indiana's first fruit and nut tree repository with INFGA to preserve as many cultivars as possible. 

John Jamerson


I am Director of Legacy Taste of the Garden and I married into a multi-generation farming family. My responsibilities include building a sustainable farm structure, marketing and training modules in agriculture for BIPOC, socially disadvantaged farmers, youths and communities. I provide technical and strategic experience in creating the visionary outline, collaborating with individuals and organizations to create a sustainable business in agriculture.

Genesis McKiernan-Allen


I have been farming full time since 2010 and co-own and operate an organic market farm with my husband Eli (Full Hand Farm). We grow 45 different vegetables throughout the year and sell primarily to Indianapolis farmer's markets and restaurants. We are also raising a couple of great kids and employing up to 8 wonderful staff. Never sure if I'm juggling it all the right away but I sure try. 

Sierra Nuckols


For over six years, I have worked to fight for food justice in the city of Indianapolis. I am the Founder and Director of the non-profit Community Food Box Project, which refurbishes plastic newspaper distribution boxes and turns them into little free pantries. I have managed multiple urban farms in Indianapolis and have plans to convert an urban plot into a garden within the next year. 

Dan Perkins


I was born and raised in Maine. A city kid turned farmer and lover of all things related to food, soil, and farming. I get to do farming for a living, what a privilege. (Perkins Family Farm) 

Ross Smith


I’m a 6th generation Indiana farmer raising a 7th generation. Based in Goshen, Indiana, our family raises transitioning Organic produce, pastured poultry and are adding 100% grassfed lamb. I’m a major advocate for Organic and sustainable agriculture.

Lavender Timmons


I am committed to a lifestyle that fuses ancestral history within a modern context while seeking to hold space for and encourage agroecology and regenerative conservation by mutualistic practices, education and collaborations. Queer farming and land management is essential to our futures paradigm shift, where intersectionality & critical thought bring important clarity to our impact and potential on natural and intentional systems. Raising, growing and sharing plants, food and medicine in the Southern IN, disenfranchised neighborhood I grew up in grounds me in the lived-experience of food and material apartheid and guides me to inclusive solutions and networks of abundance.