NMPAN People


Lauren Gwin, Director
Lauren co-founded NMPAN with Arion Thiboumery in 2007. Lauren is the Associate Director of Oregon State University’s Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems, Extension Food Systems Specialist, and an Assistant Professor at OSU. Her extension and research focus on policy and regulations, small-scale meat and poultry processing, and distribution and marketing within local and regional food systems.
Email: lauren.gwin[at]oregonstate.edu

Rebecca Thistlethwaite, Program Manager
Rebecca develops educational content related to local and regional meat processing issues and coordinates outreach and educational activities for NMPAN.  She has a master’s degree in International Agricultural Development from the University of California – Davis and was formerly co-owner of TLC Ranch, a pastured poultry and livestock enterprise in California. She is also author of two books on farming- Farms With a Future: Creating and Growing a Sustainable Farm Business (2012) and The New Livestock Farmer: The Business of Raising and Selling Ethical Meat (2015)
Email: thistler[at]oregonstate.edu

Advisory Board

(Listed alphabetically by name)

Sarah Blacklin and Casey McKissick: Sarah is the Director of NC Choices and the Carolina Meat Institute. Casey is a consultant to NC Choices and owns Foothills Farm and Butchery. NC Choices is a Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ (CEFS) initiative that advances local and niche meat supply chains in North Carolina by providing networking opportunities, educational programming, and technical assistance for producers, meat processors, buyers and food professionals. CEFS is a partnership of NC State University, NC A&T State University and the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Email: sarah[at]ncchoices.com, casey[at]ncchoices.com.

Robert Boyle is a Veterinary Medical Officer with the Outreach and Partnership Division of the Office of Outreach Employee Education and Training in the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Email: robert.boyle[at]fsis.usda.gov; Phone: (202) 418-8898.

Jonathan Campbell is Extension Meat Specialist and Assistant Professor at Pennsylvania State University. He works with small processors in the northeast U.S. His Ph.D. is from Iowa State University. Email: jac69[at]psu.edu; Phone: (814) 867-2880.

Joseph Cordray is the Extension meat specialist at Iowa State University (ISU) and has over 40 years experience in all facets of the meat industry. He is responsible for the ISU series of sausage and processed meat short courses. He works extensively with Iowa meat processors on food safety training and regulatory compliance. Email: jcordray[at]iastate.edu; Phone: (515) 294-4266

Jennifer Curtis has worked in the field of sustainable agriculture and food systems for the past 20 years.  As the first director of NC Choices (see Casey McKissick bio above), she created and now runs Firsthand Foods, a business that aggregates, distributes, and markets local, pasture-raised meats. Email: jennifer[at]ncchoices.com; Phone: (919) 967-0014

Bruce Dunlop is a livestock producer and member of Island Grown Farmers Cooperative, in Washington state. He built the first USDA-inspected mobile slaughter unit for red meat species and has consulted on many others. Previously, he was a chemical engineer in the bio-ag and food industries. He farms on Lopez Island. Email: bruce[at]lopezislandfarm.com; Phone: (360) 468-4620

Jennifer Hashley is Director of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, a project of Tufts University. In addition to running this farm incubator, Jennifer writes curriculum for specialty crop and livestock producers. Email: jennifer.hashley[at]tufts.edu

Matthew LeRoux is an Agricultural Marketing Specialist with Cornell University Cooperative Extension.  He works with farmers on business development, direct and wholesale marketing, market channel selection and cost analysis, marketing and processing regulations, and agritourism. Email: mnl28[at]cornell.edu

Chelsea Bardot Lewis is a Senior Agricultural Development Coordinator with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. She coordinates the Vermont Meat Processing Task Force, and facilitates value chain partnership between meat producers, processors and marketers in Vermont and New England. Her master’s thesis, “A capacity assessment of New England’s large animal slaughter facilities as relative to meat production for the regional food system,” was published in 2011. She and her husband Nate own Moonlight Farm in Waterbury, Vermont, an organic fruit and garlic operation. Email: Chelsea.Lewis[at]state.vt.us

Nick McCann, Jude Barry, and Noel Bielaczyc all work with the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University. Nick is leading the Good Food Fund as a value chain specialist, Jude is a Food Systems Specialist and coordinates the Livestock Working Group. Noel is a Food Hub and Meat Supply Chain Specialist. Emails: nemccann[at]anr.msu.edu, barryjud[at]msu.edu, bielacz[at]msu.edu

Kathryn Quanbeck, is the former Program Manager for NMPAN.  Kathryn is now the processing operations director for Country Natural Beef.  A ranching cooperative with nearly 100 family ranches across the American West, CNB is one of the nation’s leading natural beef companies.  Email: kathrynq[at]countrynaturalbeef.com

Arion Thiboumery is managing partner of Vermont Packinghouse, a new small meat processor in Vermont. Before that he was VP at Lorentz Meats, in Minnesota. He received his doctorate from Iowa State University in Sustainable Agriculture and Meat Science. Arion co-founded the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network.
Email: arion[at]lorentzmeats.com