Network Weavers

Network Weavers are contracted by backbone organizations, and help make the gears of MFJN move. Our current Network Weavers are leaders who have been doing food justice work collectively for over 20 years and each has their own area of expertise: Action Teams, Sustainability, and Engagement. These amazing humans pull all of the moving parts together; weaving a network that is dedicated to doing things differently. 

DeVon Nolen 

A Graduate of the Urban Land Institute – Professional Real Estate Development course & former board member of the West Broadway Business & Area Coalition. DeVon serves on the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Policy Council Executive Committee, the Operations Team of the Northside Fresh Coalition, is a Union of Concerned Scientist Good Food Advocate and with the Council on Black Minnesotans of African Heritage Urban Agriculture efforts, with global efforts through the Social Gastronomy Movement. She serves as Secretary with the MN Chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy. The proud mother of 4 children and big sister to many. DeVon is a community activist/organizer that takes great pride in her city and is committed to fighting for fair and just systems at every level and discipline.

smiling person with light skin and red braids wearing multicolored plaid shirt

Allyson Green

Allyson (she/they) first got to know the local food scene as the Campus Kitchen and Community Garden Coordinator at Augsburg University and is excited to get plugged in with MFJN and reconnect with all you fabulous food folks! Her most precious food systems learning has come from digging in the dirt with old people, washing dishes with students and recent immigrants when everyone else has clocked out for the night, and sitting on front porches swapping stories with whoever is around. Those experiences helped make their academic training in Environmental Justice and Environmental Health more real and more human. She lives, gardens, bakes, and bikes in South Minneapolis with housemates and neighbors.

Ellie smiles at the camera with a field of marigolds behind her

Ellie Leonardsmith

Ellie Leonardsmith (she/her) has been engaged in community building and environmental justice for over 15 years, including following along as a participant with the Metro Food Justice Network since it began. Most recently she was the Health & Environmental Justice Organizer at WSCO, the West Side Community Organization.  She also helped convene GROWS (“Growing Resilience on the West Side”), and this collective continues to grow food, share resources, and connect community members.  Her graduate work at Brown University deepened her passion for environmental justice state-level policy, and her time at Clean Water Action in Rhode Island solidified her belief that when people come together, they can make systems change. Ellie loves to have deep conversations, grow marigolds everywhere, and photograph the world.  She lives on the West Side with her wife and three kids.