Board of Directors


​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.

Food Works Board of Directors 2022

Marika Josephson - President

Marika Josephson is co-founder and 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 Almanac, a book on brewing with farmed and foraged ingredients, released fall 2016 from Countryman Press. Marika and co-owner Aaron Kleidon were semi-finalists for the 2020 James Beard Award for Outstanding Beer, Wine, or Spirits Producer.

Kathryn Head, Secretary

Kathryn is a Southern Illinois native and her upbringing on the family’s homestead rooted her interest in provisional farming. Her BSN from University of Evansville was steeped in holistic nursing. Over time, Kathryn has become an advocate of Functional Medicine, which treats the underlying root cause of “dis-ease”, food being foundational. Synchronicity manifested in Kathryn’s life when her food/farm co-housing was realized upon her move to a (nearly) “tiny house” on Countrysprout Organics Farm south of Carbondale. Not only does she enjoy a thriving neighbor relationship, she also makes a point to support the planting, picking, weeding and bouquet making aspects of the farm. Kathryn currently holds a position within the SIH Employee Wellness Program as a certified Nurse Coach and Health and Wellness Coach. She views the gap between education and action is best filled with coaching support empowering clients to transform from unconscious consumers to owning their own health.

Ruth Hambleton, Treasurer

Ruth Hambleton is a long-time resident of Southern Illinois residing on a small farm near Mt. Vernon, IL. In her past, she and her husband Kenneth have operated a hog and beef cow/calf business along with hay and grain enterprises. She retired from University of Illinois Extension in 2009 after serving 31 years in farm business management and economics. Hambleton served another 12 years as the farm management instructor for her alma mater Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Hambleton is the founder of Annie’s Project (AP), an educational program for farm women. She currently serves as the Treasurer for the AP Board of Directors. In addition to her AP board duties, she also manages the family trust and serves as agent for a Limited Partnership started by her parents, Frank and Annette Fleck.

Ellen Esling

Ellen Esling is a geographer and media artist exploring place, identity and ecology. She is also an aspiring young farmer beginning to grow on family land as the fifth generation of her family’s historic orchard business. She received her MFA in Media Arts in 2018 from Southern Illinois University where she also recently completed her Master of Science degree earlier in 2022 in Geography with a thesis exploring local food in Southern Illinois.

Jebaraj Asirvatham, Ph.D. (JEB)

Jeb Asirvatham is an associate professor of agribusiness economics at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. His work focuses on agricultural marketing, agricultural finance, economic development, and nutrition and health economics. Jeb’s research work uses science-based evidence to model economic relationships, and includes estimating regional premiums of specialty crops, exchange rate and agricultural trade, microfinance and business income, sustainable attitudes and behaviors among college students, women empowerment in developing nations, food environment in schools, peer-effects in health among school children, and the impacts of campaign and education policies.

Food Works is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a sustainable food economy in Southern Illinois.
Food Works
PO Box 3855
Carbondale, IL 62901
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