The Pueblo Food Project (PFP) is a community coalition working to develop a vibrant, nutritious, and equitable local food system that supports all Puebloans in living healthy and happy lives. The Pueblo Food Project coalition is open to anyone interested in our local food system.

How we began...

PFP first met when U.S. Senator Michael Bennet’s Office and Walter Robb, Stonewall Robb Advisor and former Whole Foods CEO, convened a group of 30 stakeholders to focus on Pueblo food systems.  PFP was lucky enough to receive a Colorado Health Foundations Community Food Systems Planning Grant to support further development of the coalition.  PFP now has more than 100 active community members and organizations. Members are asked to participate in the five working groups (each aligned with a PFP strategic priority) and three task forces. These member groups meet at least monthly in addition to the regular food project and food council meetings. The groups establish priorities and move work forward. Each working group has collaborated in establishing its own strategic plan with priorities, systems change strategies, and a North Star for their work.  See our initiatives page for more information on these groups.

As of April 1, 2024, HadaNou Collective (HNC) is the fiscal agent for the Pueblo Food Project. You can read more about HNC on their website.


Food Council

Howie Barash
Howie Barash has twenty years experience working within the mass market retail arena marketing consumer products. Fifteen years working in the Natural Products Industry marketing supplements and herbs for cancer. Howie has worked with multiple startup, developmental and later stage companies to direct and or assist with core business developmental needs. Howie has great passion for regenerative and sustainable agriculture, creative local grassroots business development, raw living foods, veganism, qi gong, hiking & camping in nature. One of his core interests is to assist the City of Pueblo in ensuring all people have access to quality affordable organic food! It takes a community!!!
Dr. Michael Bartolo
Mike Bartolo was born and raised on a small farm on the St. Charles Mesa east of Pueblo. He attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins for his B.S. and M.S degrees. In 1990, he received his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology at the University of Minnesota. For the past 30 years, he has conducted research and outreach activities at CSU’s Arkansas Valley Research Center in Rocky Ford to support commercial vegetable crop production in the Arkansas Valley and other parts of the state. His research has concentrated on developing improved production practices to conserve water and enhance the yield and nutritional value of vegetable crops.
Tom Carrigan
Tom Carrigan Tom was born in September, 1952, in Eugene, OR, and grew up in Central Point, OR, where he graduated from Crater High School in 1970. He enlisted in the USAF in 1971, and served for four years. In 1980, he moved to Denver, CO, where he began his career in Retail Sales and Management with Joslin’s. He retired in 2014. After moving to Pueblo in 2015, he began volunteering with different organizations. In 2017 he joined Eastside Action Support Team, a non-profit, eventually becoming President. Since the closing of the Pueblo east side Safeway, Tom has worked in partnership with various organizations concerning food availability, health, and affordability. Tom is one of the original members invited to help with the formation of the Pueblo Food Project. In May, 2020 Tom was voted in as a Pueblo Food Council Co-Chair.
Katie Davis
Katie Davis is the Director of Operations and Health Promotion at the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment. Katie has been a senior level executive in the public sector for over 10 years in the areas of public health, operations, human resource management, and administration. Katie has a Master’s of Science in Management from Colorado State University Global Campus and a Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology from Colorado State University. Katie’s credentials include designation as a Senior Certified Professional in Human Resources Management through the International Public Management Association. In addition to participating in the Pueblo Food Council, Katie is a board member of the Pueblo County Youth Advisory Council and CALPHO Legislative Policy Committee. Through grant programs at the health department, Katie has been actively working to improve the food system in Pueblo County since 2012. She can be reached at katie.davis@pueblocounty.us or 719-583-4432.
Nick Gradisar, City of Pueblo Mayor
Nick Gradisar was born, raised and educated in Pueblo. He graduated from Southern Colorado State College (now Colorado State University-Pueblo) and then obtained his legal education at Drake University of Law. Admitted to the Colorado bar in 1977, Nick clerked for the Honorable Aurel Kelly on the Colorado Court of Appeals and then returned to Pueblo and began his private practice of law now known as Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger and Roth. A staple in the Pueblo community for over 40 years. He is the past president of the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the past president of the Action 22 Board of Directors. Nick was an elected member of the Pueblo Board of Water Works for 14 years and served as president of the board for 6 years. He was recently inducted onto the Board of Water Works Wall of Fame for his long standing time on the Board. Nick was elected Mayor of the City of Pueblo in January 2019. His vision for Pueblo is an economically robust community where every young person who wants to stay in Pueblo have the opportunity for a job or career that will allow them to support their family.
Nanna Meyer
Nanna Meyer is Associate Professor in Human Physiology and Nutrition at the University of Colorado (UCCS). Nanna founded the UCCS Sport Nutrition Graduate Program. She has worked in Olympic sport nutrition for 20 years, supporting US athletes at 5 Olympic games, while helping to found professional sport nutrition organizations nationally and internationally. As the world’s urgency to address climate change and health is rising, Nanna’s time is now focused on sustainable food systems in the Rocky Mountain region. In 2014 Nanna was instrumental in helping UCCS transition its food system away from a corporate system to self-operation. With a team of graduate students, Nanna links farmers to engaged eaters, using local food and farm literacy concepts of UCCS’s Sustainability, Wellness and Learning (SWELL) initiative through programs such as Food Next Door, UCCS’s own Farm-to-Cafeteria program, the mobile Flying Carrot Food Literacy project, and Grain School.
Chef Mo Montgomery
Chef Mo Montgomery, Director of Hospitality & Culinary Arts at Pueblo Community College, originally hails from Denver, where she earned her A.S. in Culinary Arts, and her B.S. in Foodservice Management, with a minor in Sustainability, magna cum laude from Johnson and Wales University. Mo brings a decade of cooking experience to the table, and eagerly joined the PCC Hospitality and Culinary Team in 2015, a program she says she has admired for years. Chef Mo is leading the program with sustainability and elevating it to new levels with competitions and Learning Labs, which provide students with hundreds of hours of experience. Mo has a passion for community involvement and advocacy for women, and previously was a chef instructor at Work Options for Women, a non-profit job training program dedicated to helping disenfranchised women become permanently and gainfully employed in the food service industry.
Jonathan Rees
Jonathan Rees is Professor of History at Colorado State University – Pueblo, where he has taught since 1999. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and his academic specialty is the history of food. His books include _Refrigeration Nation_ (2014), _Before the Refrigerator_ (2108) and _Food Adulteration and Food Fraud_ (2020).
Paula Robben
Paula Robben (aka Kahawai-Robben) serves as a SBDC Certified Business Consultant and the 2020-2023 Pueblo Food Council Secretary. She is also engaged as a Dream Builder and an alternative health practitioner promoting nourishing food for a healthy body. Paula is married and has two daughters whose friends are always commenting on the healthy choices they naturally make. Paula is passionate about healthy food access and creating a strong food foundation for our community that offers growth, potential for all, education and the freedom to be fed. Like the indigenous groups, the Hawaiian people believe the land is alive and needs to be cared for just as all humans and animals do. We all cohabitate together and this concept can be expanded upon to support all life! Paula challenges you to dream about developing a greenhouse education center, feeding people and animals at our parks with fruit and nut trees and expanding our edible gardens.
Ellie Sepulveda
Ellie Sepulveda- Founder/CEO/Pres. – SEPPY’s Kosher Baked Goods, Inc Ellie Sepulveda is an entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of working in the food production industry. She has conducted business with National Food Retailer (Kroger) to supply Artisan breads with a Kosher certification via Scroll K of Denver, Colorado and has recently been tapped by Whole Foods as a supplier. Sepulveda is working towards certification to secure Government contracts to supply confections for the Military, bread, hot dog and hamburger buns for Corrections, VA Hospitals and school districts. An Alumni of CSU-Pueblo, she is a Council member with Pueblo Food Systems Project, PCC Culinary Arts Advisory Board, Good Business Colorado, Southern Colorado Manufacturing Sector Partnership which includes Evraz North America and Vestas Wind Systems USA. Her company is a registered business with Colorado Proud. Sepulveda is also an IT team member of Launch Hive, a group of IT platform designers who created and are updating a software tool and website for entrepreneurs to take their food products from “idea to launch” at www.LaunchHive.co In true team spirit, she has been a tennis and softball player and coach in her lifetime.
Deric Stowell
Deric Stowell comes from San Diego California, and as a member of a community garden there, he learned many community gardening skills. After transplanting to Colorado in 2013, he started the Miracle Community Garden. He also became a certified Master Gardener with the CSU Extension Pueblo office in 2014. Since then he has worked on many projects in the community, including the All Pueblo Grows seed lending library, Local Food Pueblo, the Pueblo Urban Farming Network, Pueblo Garden Heroes, and many others. Deric is currently serving as co-chair of the Pueblo Food Council. Deric is fiercely impassioned about teaching others how to grow their own food.
Renee Taylor
Renee Taylor, I am the Community Development & Resource Coordinator for NeighborWorks Southern Colorado I am is responsible for, grant writing and community leadership. Along with these duties I, also, sit on the founding council of the Pueblo Food Project, the Revitalization Committee for the Superfund area, and am the coordinator of the Bessemer Mobile Food Pantry. I grew up on my family farm that was homesteaded by my great grandfather in the late 1800’s in Minnesota. I was the Executive Director of a non-profit in Minnesota and was on the founding board of the Barnesville Food Pantry. I believe in giving a hand up by supporting food initiatives and education, and in making neighborhoods healthy and vibrant through supporting equity and equality for everyone.
Dr. Jim Valenzuela
I’ve always had good luck: adopted by an Irish-Mexican family. A great working-class extended family. A Jesuit high school. And, then a Jesuit college and night law school at a time when a student was able to work and pay for it all. My fabulous Irish wife, Cathy, and I started a family ... and, she worked while ‘we’ went to med school. We saved the best for last: we came to Pueblo. We raised our three sons. We all love the place. Science and service w/ a side of posole (Mexican stew.)
Chris Wiseman, Pueblo County Commissioner
Chris Wiseman was born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado. He is married with seven children and ten grandchildren. He attended University of Southern Colorado (presently CSU-Pueblo) and graduated in 1983 with a Bachelor Science Degree in Sociology /Criminal Justice. In 1987, Chris started his career working for the Office of the United States Senator Timothy E. Wirth as a Southern Colorado Office Director for five years. He dealt with all issues affecting Southern Colorado including Economic Development and Agriculture. In 1994, he was working for Governor Roy Romer as a Community Specialist. In 1998, he started off as the Assistant General Manager of the Colorado State Fair and in 2004, became the General Manager for 11 years. On April 1, 2015, he was promoted to the position of Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture position at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. On January 8, 2019, He was sworn in at Pueblo County Commissioner for District 3 Chris Wiseman represents Pueblo County on the following committees: PACOG (Pueblo Area Council of Governments) PEDCO (Pueblo Economic Development Corporation) Desert Hawk at Pueblo West Management Board Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce HARP Foundation Colorado Rural Workforce Consortium Board Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Advisory Committee Airport Advisory Committee CCI Legislative Committee Pueblo Regional Building Commission As County Commissioner Mr. Wiseman looks forward to ensuring that everyone in Pueblo County finds a job that pays a good livable wage. Commissioner Wiseman also has a goal to improve roads and infrastructure within the community as well as working to maintain Pueblo County facilities and keep them up to date.
© 2024 Pueblo Food Project. All rights reserved.
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