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About F3 Foundation


Food Family Farming Foundation has been in fast-forward mode since its inception in 2009. Whole Foods Market shoppers truly led the charge to help us change school food by supporting the design and build out of The Lunch Box web portal, along with our earlier support of The Kellogg Foundation, Orfalea Foundations, The Colorado Health Foundation, Compton Foundation and Children's Health Foundation. Since then Chipotle and Barbara's Bakery and other new sponsors have also joined in this effort. Our sponsors help us bring all the resources and learning opportunities for change in school food to one place on the web. F3 is working to enrich the user experience on The Lunch Box by providing more tools for change including new recipes, procurement and commodity tools, more budgeting and accounting tools, self-assessment tools and more equipment grants to districts across the country that need to jump start change. Help us by donating today!



Ann Cooper, Founder & President

Renegade Lunch Lady; Partner, Lunch Lessons, LLC; Director, Nutrition Services Boulder Valley School District; and Founder, Food Family Farming Foundation’s Lunch Box Project

Chef Ann CooperChef Ann Cooper is a celebrated author, chef, educator, and enduring advocate for better food for all children. In a nation where children are born with shorter estimated life expectancies than their parents because of diet-related illness, Ann is a relentless voice of reform by focusing on the links between food, family, farming and children’s health and wellness.


A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY, Ann has been a chef for more than 30 years including positions with Holland America Cruises, Radisson Hotels, Telluride Ski Resort as well as serving as Executive Chef at the renowned Putney Inn in Vermont. She has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, Newsweek , and Time Magazine and  has appeared on NPR’s ‘Living on Earth,’ ABC’s Nightline, CNN, PBS’ To The Contrary and the CBS Morning Show and many other media outlets. Ann has shared her knowledge and experience by speaking at the Smithsonian Institute, the National Restaurant Association, the Heifer Foundation, Chefs Collaborative, the International Association of Culinary Professionals and numerous conferences. She has been honored by SLOW Food USA, selected as a Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow, and awarded an honorary doctorate from SUNY Cobleskill for her work on sustainable agriculture. 


Ann is the author of four books:  Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children (2006), In Mother’s Kitchen: Celebrated Women Chefs Share Beloved Family Recipes (2005), Bitter Harvest: A Chef’s Perspective on the Hidden Dangers in the Foods We Eat and What You Can do About It (2000) and A Woman’s Place is in the Kitchen: The Evolution of Women Chefs (1998). She is past president of The American Culinary Federation of Central Vermont, and past president and board member of Women's Chefs and Restaurateurs. She also served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Standards Board, a Congressional appointment, and was an Executive Committee member of Chefs Collaborative - all in an effort to raise awareness about the value of healthful, seasonal, organic, and regional foods.


Ann’s research for and writing of A Bitter Harvest provided a true epiphany for this always curious and proactive chef.  No longer could the environmental and health facts be ignored when it came to producing food in this country. Ms Cooper’s career shifted from primarily cooking to a path of cooking, writing, and public speaking – all advocacy work for a healthier food system. There is no doubt that Ann is an accomplished chef, however her focus is now on using her skills and background to create a sustainable model for schools nationwide to transition any processed food based K-12 school meal program to a whole foods environment where food is procured regionally and prepared from scratch. In 2009, Ann founded Food Family Farming Foundation (F3) as a nonprofit focusing on solutions to the school food crisis. F3's pivotal project is The Lunch Box - a web portal that provides free and accessible tools, recipes and community connections to support school food reform.


Chef Ann is happily working overtime as a Chef, Nutrition Services Director, Consultant, Author, Public Speaker, and Advocate because she sees a need for change and has the gifts to help.  She envisions a time soon when being a chef working to feed children fresh, delicious, and nourishing food will no longer be considered “renegade.”


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Mara Fleishman, Executive Director

Mara Fleishman served on the F3 Board of Directors since its inception, and in March 2013, she transitioned to the staff position of Interim Executive Director. Mara has nearly 20 years of experience working in natural products, and her passion for sustainability has played a crucial part in every role she has taken. Prior to her position as executive director, Fleishman worked at Whole Foods Market for twelve years, most recently as national director of partnerships. She is dedicated to educating people regarding the benefits of good food. She launched Secret Ingredient, Whole Foods’ first cooking show and she also developed their "Be Good to Your Whole Body" program. Mara was the host of the Be Good to Your Whole Body podcast series covering health and wellness topics such as allergy prevention, the ABC's of supplements, and natural baby body care.


Mara’s background in marketing and partnerships, her expertise in the field of natural and organic food, and her advocacy efforts to improve school food uniquely situate her to lead F3 in its growth and expansion in the coming years. Mara has spoken about sustainable business practices on panels at Yale University and has been a guest lecturer at Colorado University, Leeds School of Business. In addition to F3, she has held board seats at The Growe Foundation, the Kitchen Community Foundation, and Naturally Boulder.


Mara reports to the F3 Board and directly supervises all F3 staff. She is responsible for program development and oversight, national partnerships, strategic planning, and organizational growth.


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Lindsey Vaughan, Grants Administrator

Lindsey Vaughan joined the Food Family Farming Foundation (F3) team in July 2012. Prior to joining F3, Lindsey volunteered in her local elementary school after learning about Chef Ann Cooper’s work to transform school food in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD). Lindsey’s volunteer efforts led to an internship with the School Food Project where she worked closely with Ann Cooper and her team to educate students, parents and the greater community about the district’s new, healthier options. While at the School Food Project, Lindsey was on the ground and in the schools, marketing the healthier options to students and gathering feedback. She also recruited parent and community volunteers, wrote grant proposals for future programming, and managed a weekly afterschool nutrition program.


Her work with the Food Family Farming Foundation encompasses many different areas. Along with general administrative work, she is the grant administrator for both the Healthy Breakfast for Kids program and the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program. As administrator, she manages Foundant (F3’s granting software), reaches out to school districts to market the grants, supports districts in the application process, coordinates shipments, manages relationships with F3’s vendors, solicits and collects district feedback, and collects, collates, and interprets school data. She also works as a team member for The Lunch Box. This is involves finding new resources for schools to use as well as keeping the searchable grant database up to date. Lindsey particularly enjoys receiving pictures and stories from schools all over the country regarding their salad bars, breakfast programs, and how the resources on the have been helpful.


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Elyse Wood, Administrative Assistant

Elyse Wood joined F3 in January, 2013. Elyse’s responsibilities include grant application processing, social media marketing, communications, and day-to-day administrative operations. Elyse is also a volunteer and the marketing coordinator for Boulder Valley School District’s School Food Project. In this role, she plans in-school nutrition education events throughout the district, such as Rainbow Days and Iron Chef competitions. She handles all marketing endeavors and designs, writes, and produces a district-wide newsletter educating parents and staff about BVSD’s nutrition services program.


Elyse holds a BA in Journalism and Communications from University of Massachusetts Amherst and graduate certificate in Food Studies from Boston University. Prior to her work with The School Food Project, she worked as a communications intern at the Kitchen. Her personal passion for communication and food culture continually propels her professional aspirations. With one goal in mind, Elyse works to provide clear and concise tools promoting mindful food practices.


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