Meet Our Team

Rebecca Self

Rebecca Self

Founder & Executive Director

Becca is a native Lexingtonian, a graduate of the MSTC program at Dunbar, with a Bachelors of Science from MIT. She was a classroom science teacher for 7 years before moving into the nonprofit sector. She worked as the Education Director at Seedleaf before Founding FoodChain in 2011. She is married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother of twins.

 

 

 

rebecca@foodchainlex.org

 

Leandra Forman

Leandra Forman

Operations Manager

Leandra Forman has been at FoodChain since May of 2015. For the first two years she worked as the farm manager, however she is currently launching the Processing Kitchen and Food Sector Job Training Program. As the daughter of a chef, she grew up speaking the language of food and is so excited to share that with others! She is a graduate of Berea College and a Kentucky native, who can usually be seen cycling every street of downtown Lexington. 

leandra@foodchainlex.org

Kristin Hughes

Kristin Hughes

Education & Outreach Director

Kristin Hughes is a Lexington, Kentucky native who spent 4 years living in Spain before returning to her roots. She graduated from Valparaiso University with a Bachelor’s in Spanish and earned her Master’s of Education from Georgetown College. A product of Maxwell’s Spanish Immersion Program, she worked as a Spanish teacher for 7 years before realizing her passion for teaching food education and joining FoodChain. She enjoys exploring different cultures through their cuisine and can often be found playing volleyball in the Liga Hispana de Volleyball.

kristin@foodchainlex.org

Morgan Miller

Morgan Miller

Communications & Administrative Coordinator

Originally from a rural town in western Kentucky, Morgan grew up on a small farm where she developed a deep love and respect for Kentucky. Moving to Lexington in 2012 to attend the University of Kentucky, Morgan studied communications. Through her coursework she developed a passion for sustainable farming and a desire to address food inequality. Outside of FoodChain, Morgan loves being out in nature as much as possible and is a certified yoga instructor.

 

morgan@foodchainlex.org

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Kaitlyn Dykstra

Kaitlyn Dykstra

Farm Operations Manager

Kaitlyn was born and raised in Michigan, where she attended Grand Valley State University. She has an undergraduate degree in Natural Resource Management and her Master’s in Biology with an Aquatic Sciences emphasis.  Before joining FoodChain she spent time as a Farm Manager at a large-scale commercial aquaponics farm in Michigan. She is excited be with FoodChain to have the opportunity to share her excitement about fish and to educate others about aquaponics and sustainable food systems. Kaitlyn also enjoys spending time outdoors and hiking with her husband and dog, Holly!

kaitlyn@foodchainlex.org

Tem Burikhanov

Tem Burikhanov

Assistant Kitchen Manager

Tem is an Uzbek American who was born in Japan but raised in Lexington since the age of one. Tem started his cooking career in high school and has continued learning and growing in the food industry since. Outside of work he enjoys the great outdoors, food, and the arts.

tem@foodchainlex.org

Board of Directors

Vanessa Cayson

Vanessa Cayson

Board Chair

My name is Vanessa Cayson and I am in my second year of the Americorps VISTA program as the VISTA Leader. I recently completed my first year as VISTA at the Plantory in August and it was such a great opportunity and experience that I decided to go for a second year. I am a mother of a 7 year old son and I am currently in my senior year at UK getting my bachelors degree in Psychology. It is such a joy to be working in the community that I live in and my goal is to give back to the community that has given me so much through the years.

 

Janelle Hagar

Janelle Hagar

Board Member

Hello, I am Janelle Hager and am honored to serve on the Board of FoodChain. I am a Research Associate at Kentucky State University specializing in Aquaponics. Through both my job and current role with FoodChain, I am passionate about education and outreach regarding sustainable agriculture and promoting healthy communities through food and nutrition.

Ryan Foster

Ryan Foster

Board Member

Ryan D. Foster is a Vice President/Commercial Lending with Traditional Bank, Inc and a local real estate investor. A graduate of Tates Creek High School and The University of Kentucky, Ryan has spent his entire life in Lexington. Ryan’s passions include U.K sports, camping, kayaking, travel and drafting his first book, Always Pick up a Penny. He joined FoodChain’s board in Fall of 2015.

Ouita Michel

Ouita Michel

Board Chair

Since 2001, when Ouita Michel and her husband, Chris, opened the Holly Hill Inn in Midway, Ky., she has made locally grown ingredients a priority in her world-class cuisine. Her restaurants (Holly Hill Inn, Wallace Station, Windy Corner, Smithtown Seafood, and Midway Bakery) have purchased more than $2 million of Kentucky-grown meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables over the last 16 years. Ouita is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. She is a member of Slow Food USA; Les Dames d’Escoffier; deacon and free community supper programs coordinator for Midway Christian Church. She, Chris and their daughter, Willa, live in Midway. She has been a Board Member since FoodChain was founded in 2011.

 

Andrew Dieruf

Andrew Dieruf

Board Member

Andrew works primarily with businesses and non-profit organizations on their audit, review and compilation needs. Andrew also provides consultation and litigation support services. He also conducts peer reviews for other CPA firms. Andrew began his accounting career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Cincinnati, OH. Andrew is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner and a peer reviewer. Andrew was named partner of Enderle Besten Dieruf, PLLC in January, 2013, where he also serves as the Director of Audit and Attestation Services. Andrew’s experience covers many industries including: manufacturing, retail, pharmaceuticals, financial services, non-profit and natural resources. He joined FoodChain’s board in Fall of 2016.

Shawn Burns

Shawn Burns

Board Member

Shawn believes all people in the Lexington community should have access to nutritious, delicious food, employment opportunities. Most importantly we need to gather as a ‘Community’ over this bounty of wonderful Central KY food. He brings his skills in large volume food purchasing and operations to the FoodChain board. His work on the board includes generating capital on the Fundraising Committee and providing cash flow and profitability insights to the Financial Committee.

John Cadwell

John Cadwell

Board Chair

John L. Cadwell is a Wealth Management Advisor and Financial Planner at WealthSouth. A Lexington native, John is a graduate of Lafayette High School and received his Bachelor’s in Business at Murray State University. John’s experience with cash flow planning, risk management, investments and banking helps contribute to FoodChain’s goals. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family which usually entails being outdoors, playing/watching sports and church activities at Porter Memorial, where they are members. John believes strongly that everyone should have access to affordable, healthy food and enjoys being able to contribute through FoodChain. He joined the board in the Spring of 2018.

 

Shawn Blades

Shawn Blades

Board Member

Shawn is a Pikeville, KY native that began a banking career in 1996. Shawn has been with BB&T since 2005 and is currently serving as a Market Leader and Small Business Development Officer. Shawn lives in Lexington with her husband – Henry, her son – John, and their four dogs.

Jonathon Nunley

Board Member