Jim Slama is the president of Sustain and was the founding publisher and editor of Conscious Choice magazine. His work has been featured in Chicago Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Utne magazine. Under Jim’s direction, Conscious Choice was recognized eight times by Utne magazine as a member of the Best of the Alternative Press and Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey called it the “best publication of its kind.”
Sustain has contributed to numerous national, regional environmental victories including partnering with the Organic Trade Assocation in the Keep “Organic” Organic Campaign, which helped generate 275,000 public comments to the USDA encouraging the creation of strong organic standards. More recently, Jim and Sustain created the FamilyFarmed.org program to build markets for Midwestern organic farmers. Each year, the FamilyFarmed.org EXPO draws thousands of consumers and trade buyers to a two day show at the historic Chicago Chicago Cultural Center. Sustain played a key role in the creation of the Illinois Food, Farms and Jobs Act,which aims to make the state a leader in local and organic food production. Jim was on the transition team of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and now sits on Illinois’ “Governor’s Agricultural Advisory Council for Farmers and Farm Families.” Jim is now on the executive team of Mayor Daley’s Chicago Organic Committee, which is developing a plan to support organic food production, marketing, and distribution in Chicago.
Jim’s skill as a social entrepreneur led to his designation in 1999 as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “Forty Under Forty” leading business and civic leaders. Jim is on the Board of theAssociation of Family Farms. In 2005 Jim received the Chicago Tribune Good Eating Award for contributions to the Chicago food and beverage world.
Erin brings to Sustain experience in natural foods and nonprofit marketing. At Whole Foods Market, she developed new product expression and co-coordinated events and promotions. She also worked for Lipman Hearne, the nation’s leading full-service marketing and communications firm exclusively serving the nonprofit sector. There, her focus lie in marketing research, writing, website management, and development of firm-wide advertising and marketing materials.
Erin served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, West Africa, where she aided in ecotourism development as well as assisted farmers and small business owners with a range of business needs. She currently serves on the Junior Board for Working In The Schools (WITS), a literacy organization that increases reading proficiency and learning capacity of low-income and minority students in Chicago Public Schools. Erin received a B.A. in marketing from Michigan State University.
Dennis Fiser recently received his B.A. in environmental studies from the University of Chicago. His thesis work on food policy councils was awarded with honors. Dennis recently spent a full year studying abroad in Berlin, Germany, where he also spent time working on an organic cattle farm. He came back with a commitment towards sustainable agriculture and began as an intern for Sustain in October 2006. Since then, he has worked on a number of projects for the organization, including a map of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) drop-off locations in Chicago, the 2007 FamilyFarmed.org EXPO, and Chicago Green Festival.
Lloyd brings over twenty years of exposition management experience to the FamilyFarmed.org trade show project. As a consultant to the non-profit community, his company, MissionAssistance.org, specializes in guiding organizations toward developing mission-based events as alternate sources of revenue. He has extensive experience managing over 400 similar events – ranging in attendance from 50 people to 150,000 – in both the consumer and trade show arenas.
Lloyd’s career highlights include eight years as manager of the third largest trade show in the US, trade events in Canada and Mexico, and representing the US with industry pavilions in South America and Europe. As General Manager of NMMA, the boating industry’s trade association, he was responsible for developing a nationwide tour of twenty-five annual boat shows.
Lloyd was involved as chairman organizing a conference on “Food Security: Global Challenge to People, Cultures and Nations” scheduled in July 2005 in New Hampshire. He is currently studying non-profit management at DePaul University’s School for New Learning.
John Beske is the co-founder and long-time creative director of Sustain, and has had a major hand in most of the communications materials Sustain has produced over the years. He has recently started a new company called John Beske Communications that provides marketing and design solutions for a range of small businesses and nonprofit groups. He is still working with Sustain on a regular basis as a creative consultant.
Lynn is an Urban Food Systems Planner with an interest in farmers markets and urban agriculture. She worked for five years managing the Greenmarket program in New York City and three years managing Chicago’s Green City Market. She has worked with farmers and food systems in Hawaii and the metro areas surrounding New York City, Washington D.C., and Chicago. Lynn grows organic produce on a vacant urban lot and she sells it throughout Chicago. She went to Oberlin College where she studied Environmental Science and Geology and holds a Master’s of Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Lynn is currently an officer of the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council.