Food Works is governed by a seven-member board of directors, each of whom brings unique individual insight into farming, research, policy, and food-related business practices in Southern Illinois. The board operates using a Policy Governance model that empowers organization staff to execute the mission, while empowering its board members to fulfill their responsibilities for accountability. The model has been used extensively with cooperatives and other non-governmental organizations. It creates clarity and focus which reduces the mountains of paperwork boards often feel obliged to review while allowing them to effectively steer the organization’s course. Board decisions are made on a consensus basis so that it speaks with one voice and establishes clear expectations for the organization.
Jill Rendleman (President)
Jill Rendleman owns and manages All Seasons Farm, a biointensive vegetable farm near Cobden Illinois. Following a career in banking, including agricultural finance in commercial and government sectors, and an active partnership in a cash grain family farming operation, Ms Rendleman began All Seasons Farm to produce vegetables using organic and small scale sustainable farming practices. Innovative practices on the farm include the use of rolling high tunnels, raised beds, and intensive natural soil amendments. Holding a Masters degree in Agricultural Industries from Southern Illinois University, she is also a graduate of the Central Illinois Farm Beginnings program and a member of the Southern Illinois Farming Alliance. The Rendleman family was one of the first to settle Southern Illinois and with other early farm families worked to develop it as a major fruit, vegetable, and grain market in the region.
Brad Genung (Vice President)
Brad Genung is the owner and President of Owl Creek Vineyard, the founding producer of wine grapes in the Shawnee Hills, makers of Owl Creek wines and Apple Knocker Hard Cider. He is a strong advocate of locally grown value-added products with an eye toward sustainable practices and social responsibility to the community. After careers in journalism and capital markets/brokerage, he moved to Southern Illinois in 2002 to help develop the fledgling Shawnee Hills wine region. Owl Creek and the region have flourished, going from a handful of operations to almost 30 wineries and 60 commercial vineyards. Brad holds an MBA in finance and a Bachelor’s degree in English/Political Science from Illinois State University. The Genung family settled in the southern regions of Illinois and Indiana in the 1790s and have been farmers, business owners and trades people that have been engaged in the economic development of the region.
Kim Hamilton Miller
Kim Miller holds a Ph.D in Health Education from Southern Illinois University. She retired in 2016 after over twenty years in faculty positions at University of Kentucky and SIUC. A strong focus of Kim’s academic work has been on holistic approaches to health, including the role of community and community design in fostering health. Kim has long been an advocate of local foods and locally produced goods and believes that these are important not only to physical health but also in building strong community alliances. Kim’s husband is an avid gardener and she enjoys finding creative ways to maximize the produce from his garden. Other personal interests include belonging to the Saluki Master’s Swim Club, hiking, and reading.
Marika Josephson is the co-founder and head brewer at Scratch Brewing Company, a farmhouse brewery that makes beer and food with ingredients sourced in Southern Illinois, most of which are from the brewery's working farm. Marika is also the author (along with Scratch's co-founders) of The Homebrewer's Alamanac, a book on brewing with farmed and foraged ingredients, released fall 2016 from Countryman Press.
Leslie Duram, PhD, is a professor of Geography at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and Director of the Environmental Studies Program since 2012. She was a Fulbright Scholar to the National University of Ireland at Galway. An accomplished researcher, she’s explored organic farming systems and environmental sustainability in her academic and professional life. With more than 30 journal articles to her credit, her academic range encompasses local food, alternative agriculture, environmental education, sustainability, water quality, and grassroots participation in environmental management. A frequent lecturer, writer, and speaker, Duram shares her commitment to sustainable food systems development with students, researchers and farmers across the planet. She is the author of Good Growing: Why Organic Farming Works (2005) and editor books on sustainability: America Goes Green: An Encyclopedia of Eco-Friendly Culture in the United States (2013), and Encyclopedia of Organic, Sustainable and Local Food (2010).
Marjorie Sawicki owns Acorn Ridge Farm near Dongola, Illinois and recently completed the Southern Illinois Farm Beginnings and the University of Illinois New Illinois Fruit and Vegetable Farmers programs. She follows sustainable farming practices, growing for market and producing handcrafted herbal products. Marjorie returned to Southern Illinois in 2017 after teaching at Saint Louis University (SLU). She graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, became a community dietitian and joined a team of faculty responsible for establishing an urban farm focused on organic principles, sustainability, and permaculture at SLU. She studied public policy and continued teaching and mentoring in sustainable agriculture. Since 2000, Marjorie has been actively involved in farmers markets, farm-to-school and farm-to-table programming, culinary and gardening camps for kids, and the creation of an urban permaculture orchard. She provided public service to Illinois Local Food, Farms & Jobs, Illinois Cottage Food Act Task Force, and the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity.
Karen Schauwecker is a Carbondale native, returning home to graduate with a Master’s degree in Geography and Environmental Resources from SIU. While at SIU, Karen co-managed the LOGIC organic garden and completed the Master Gardener’s program. She spent a year teaching K-8 standard curriculum, nutrition, and agriculture in a garden setting in Birmingham, AL, with the Jones Valley Teaching Farm. After that, she worked as the assistant manager of the University Farm in Sewanee, TN. She also has registered voters in Arizona, landscaped with native plants in California, built hiking trails in Montana, and bartended in Seattle, WA.