Board of DirectoRs

Michael Reilly (Chair)

Michael is a co-founder of Virginia Foodshed Capital, and is currently serving as its volunteer executive director, overseeing the day-to-day operations.  He began his career in banking and later honed his financial skills as a 15-year executive in the broadcast television business. He founded an initiative called Foodwaze, a program to help consumers identify the best sources of sustainable/regenerative food at restaurants, markets, and farms. He is on the board of several food and agriculture organizations including: the Virginia Association for Biological Farming, whose mission is to promote organic and biological farming and gardening; Market Central, which provides support services for Charlottesville’s farmers markets; and Grow Ahead, which teams up with farmer organizations in the Global South to support climate resiliency initiatives. Michael also serves on the planning team for the Charlottesville Food Justice Network, and is also on the steering committee for Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, an interfaith group working to advance climate justice. Michael earned an undergraduate degree at Yale University and a graduate degree at Columbia University. He lives in Charlottesville with his wife and four children.

Hunter Hopcroft (Vice Chair)

Hunter is a co-founder of Virginia Foodshed Capital. He’s been a force in the local food scene around Central Virginia for several years. Most recently he was the Special Projects Manager at Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market, a independent natural food retailer in Richmond, Virginia with a focus on supporting local economies and agriculture. Additionally, he’s been a partner in JM Stock Provisions a local, whole-animal butchery operation out of Charlottesville. Hunter began his career as a research analyst for Canal Capital Management before starting Harvest Grocery & Supply, a micro-grocery in Richmond. Hunter holds a degree in Economics from Hampden-Sydney and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from the Goldman Sachs 10k Small Businesses Program at Babson College. Hunter is the chairperson of Tricycle Urban Agriculture. And he is working on earning an MBA through the Executive Eduction program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He lives in Richmond with his wife Tabitha.

Celia Culver Rutt (Treasurer)

Celia is a founding board member of Virginia Foodshed Capital, serving since June 2019. She is a professional photographer based in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Her photographs of food and nature have been exhibited and sold locally and regionally. Celia, a native of Washington, DC, earned a BA in Biology from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, was a researcher at Harvard Medical School, and earned a MS in Biology and Science Education from Boston University. In addition to teaching science, she has taught horticultural classes at the state Arboretum of Virginia and the National Arboretum. Celia has served on the Highland Center board, a non-profit committed to economic and cultural development of Highland County and the Allegheny Highlands region. While at the Highland Center, her work focused on local food systems.  Celia was also a founding board member of the Allegheny Mountain Institute, a non-profit dedicated to teaching methods of renewing community food production through sustainable regenerative practices. In conjunction with the Staunton Creative Community Fund, a non-profit tasked with stimulating economic development of small businesses in the Shenandoah Valley, Celia created a grant program for food based businesses as part of the Invest Local program. She currently serves as an advisor of strategic planning for Project Grows, an educational non-profit with the mission to improve the nutrition and health of children and youth in the Staunton, Augusta, Waynesboro area. Celia and her husband divide their time between their farm in Highland County and Staunton, VA.

Merope Pavlides

Merope is is a founding board member of Virginia Foodshed Capital, serving since June 2019. She is a special educator, writer, and former nonprofit manager. Her work includes the book Animal-assisted Interventions for Individuals with Autism and the website Autism After 16. She has been passionate about understanding the relationship between diet and autoimmune disease for over 25 years. From 2013 – 2018, Merope owned and operated Threepenny Cafe, a farm-to-table restaurant in Charlottesville committed to serving healthy, sustainable, local food. In August 2019, she began working as a Patient and Family Navigator in UVA's Division of Developmental Pediatrics. Merope’s education includes an BS in Journalism from Ohio University, an MA in Communications from the University of Maryland, an MS in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in Drama from the University of Wisconsin. She lives in Charlottesville with her husband and has two grown sons.

Kristen Suokko

Kristen is a founding board member of Virginia Foodshed Capital, serving since June 2019. She is the Executive Director of Local Food Hub in Charlottesville. She served as Chairwoman of the organization's Board of Directors in 2012, and in 2013 became Executive Director. Kristen maintains a wealth of experience in environmental philanthropy and nonprofit excellence, as well as environmental planning and sustainability. She began her career in Washington, D.C., working for the Natural Resources Defense Council and the U.S. Department of Energy. Kristen has lived in Charlottesville for over 15 years and previously held positions with the W. Alton Jones Foundation and the Blue Moon Fund. Kristen received a degree in Russian from Middlebury College and is from New England. She live in Charlottesville with her husband and two daughters.

John Wilson

John is a founding board member of Virginia Foodshed Capital, serving since June 2019. He is a resident of Virginia Beach and the former owner of New Earth Farm, which he founded in 1995. Using organic practices and the principles of permaculture, the farm produced vegetables, seasonal fruit, and eggs for a wide variety of businesses in the region, as well as their CSA and  large consumer following at local markets. The farm is located in the Pungo community just south of downtown Virginia Beach. John sold the farm in 2015 to Kevin Jamison who is the owner of a well-known farm-to-table business in Virginia Beach called Commune. John has trouble going anywhere in the Virginia Beach community without bumping into someone he knows. He goes simply by the nickname, “Farmer John.” He now runs a soil consulting business for implementation of organic and natural systems on farms and community gardens. He has consulted with several community gardens and school gardens in the area. He is also maintaining a one-acre farm at the incredibly popular Farmhouse Brewery in Virginia Beach, where he grows a variety of crops for a weekend farmers markets he runs. He also grows hops and other beer flavors for the brewery, which has even named one of their beers after him. In addition, he is starting a composting business using the CMC method (controlled microbial composting). John formerly served on the board of the Virginia Association for Biological Farming. He frequently writes and speaks publicly about organic agriculture. He has become passionate about Slow Money and was instrumental in securing our $40,000 grant through the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. John is married and has grown children.

CIRClE OF AdvisorS

Parker Agelasto

Executive Director of the Capital Region Land Conservancy and member of the Richmond City Council.

Mary Margaret Frank

Associate Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

Rick Hood

Founder/owner of Ellwood Thompson's Local Market in Richmond, VA

Roberta Keller

Founder and chief executive officer of Alexis Advisors, a Richmond-based financial advisory firm.

Pete Sisti

Owner of Greater Richmond Grains, a Certified Organic family farm in Powhatan, VA, as well as CEO of Novanex, Inc., a technology company in Charlottesville.