Jess Guffey Calkins Named as New Community Food Systems Coordinator

Jess Guffey Calkins

Jess Guffey Calkins started as the Community Food Systems Coordinator (.5 FTE) in May 2019. The primary purpose of this position is to coordinate community food systems educational programs and public events. As Community Food Systems Coordinator, Jess will work closely with the Dane County Food Council, Dane County UW-Extension educators, the Gardens Network and other food related organizations to build partnerships, inform programming and strengthen the Dane County food system. The position will focus on increasing equitable access to healthy and affordable food for all Dane County residents.

Jess originally joined Dane County Extension’s youth development program in February 2015, and will also continue to serve as the Community Youth Development Program Coordinator (.5 FTE). Prior to joining Dane County Extension, Jess was the Grow Local Co-Director at Sustainable Food Center in Austin, TX, she was engaged in carrying out SFC’s mission to cultivate a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. Through her role, she coordinated free basic organic gardening classes, free trainings on how to start and sustain school and community gardens, provided on-going support to gardens in lower-income areas, advocated for food policy changes, and directed the Austin School Garden Network coalition. Jess’s background includes organic farming, managing community and school gardens, teaching environmental education and nutrition, and coordinating volunteers. Jess earned her B.A. in Human Biology from Brown University.

Jess can be contacted at 608-224-3712 or calkins.jessica@countyofdane.com