• IFAN's Team

    The Independent Food Aid Network is currently coordinated by Sabine Goodwin with help from Stephanie Ellis-Beecham, Ashleigh Comber and Katy Gordon as well as the support of trustees Jon May, Maddy Power, Kayleigh Garthwaite, Robin Burgess, Deirdre Woods and Kemi Akinola. We are also very glad to be advised from across the Atlantic by Andy Fisher, author of 'Big Hunger', and Alison Cohen of WhyHunger.

    Sabine Goodwin (Coordinator)

    As a food bank volunteer, Sabine became aware of a scarcity of information on food banks working outside of the Trussell Trust network. She approached IFAN with a plan to create a database of independent food banks working across the UK and the list was first published in The Guardian in May 2017. By now Sabine coordinates the day-to-day running of IFAN and is responsible for the network's research and campaign work. She is currently working on a joint project with A Menu for Change to collate food parcel distribution data across Scottish independent food banks. Sabine represents IFAN within the End Hunger UK coalition alongside numerous other charities working to eradicate food poverty. Independently of IFAN, she is also working with Dr Rachel Loopstra at King's College London on a large-scale study of independent food banks operating in England. During 2017 she was the producer of Food Bank As It Is - a play depicting the reality of food banks. Sabine was a television news and investigative journalist for many years and has worked with IFAN since February 2017.

    Jon May

    Jon is a Professor of Geography at Queen Mary University of London. Building on long-term interests in the changing nature of the welfare state, and the nature and role of voluntary welfare provision, he has been researching food insecurity and the UK’s emergency food sector since 2014. Jon helped establish the Emergency Food Network in 2015, and worked with Seb Mayfield, Steph and others to help set up IFAN (incorporating the EFN) in 2016. Beyond IFAN, Jon is also a Trustee of Bow Food Bank (an independent food bank in East London), and volunteers with the Purple People Kitchen Food Bank in Brighton.

    Deirdre Woods (Co-Chair of Trustees)

    Dee is Co-Founder/Coordinator of IFAN member Granville Community Kitchen, is a consortium member of Wolves Lane Community Food Hub in Haringey and is a member of the Food Ethics Council. Dee has worked in various roles as a community practitioner for the past 25 years and was named BBC Food and Farming Awards Cook of the Year and London Slow Food Ambassador in 2016. She has a background in community food education, health promotion, organic food growing and food research. As a good food advocate she's worked in collaboration with other food actors to develop A People's Food Policy. As a member of the Landworkers' Alliance she advocates for food and farming policy change, the right to food and food sovereignty. She sits on the London Food Board and is a visiting researcher at CAWR, (Centre for Agroecology and Water Resilience) Coventry University.

    Kayleigh Garthwaite (Trustee)

    Dr Kayleigh Garthwaite is a Birmingham Fellow in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology, University of Birmingham, UK. Kayleigh explores issues of poverty, stigma and welfare reform through qualitative and ethnographic research. She is author of Hunger Pains: life inside foodbank Britain (Policy Press, 2016) and co-author of Poverty and insecurity: Life in 'low-pay, no-pay' Britain (Policy Press, 2012), winners of the Peter Townsend Prize 2017 and 2013 respectively. She can be followed on Twitter @KA_Garthwaite

    Maddy Power (Co-Chair of Trustees)

    Dr Maddy Power is a Research Fellow at the University of York, researching the lived experience of food insecurity among ethnic minority groups and the influence of religion on food charity in the UK today. Before working at York, she was a senior researcher at The Equality Trust, a charity working to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing economic inequality, a campaigner at 38 Degrees and a researcher at the Resolution Foundation. Maddy is also the coordinator of the York Food Poverty Alliance, funded by Food Power.

    Kemi Akinola (Trustee)

    Kemi Akinola is a Labour Councillor based in south London as well as the founder of IFAN member Be Enriched, a youth and community charity set up in 2013 focused on supporting and developing the community alongside the community. Be Enriched exists to enrich communities through food running community meals and innovative projects to increase access to good food. Kemi is also managing director of Brixton People's Kitchen - a social enterprise set up to support the community to share skills with profits going back to support free meals for those on low or no incomes. Kemi is also Chair of the Lambeth Food Partnership and co-Chair of the Wandsworth Food Partnership. In her spare time she's trying to cultivate an edible garden, with varying success.

    Robin Burgess (Treasurer)

    After training as a social worker and working in welfare rights advice, housing and learning difficulties, Robin focused on addictions, running a large regional charity for 9 years. He then led national government policy on drugs in communities for five years, before heading up the national commissioning and policy charity on problem gambling. After a spell as a local addiction commissioner, and then nearly 8 years in national NHS work, improving quality and data, Robin decided that the scale of local poverty and deprivation demanded effective local action. He returned to direct service delivery, in his smallest charity to date, tackling poverty and homelessness and making a very real, practical difference to people on the ground.

    Steph Ellis-Beecham (Secretary)

    Steph first became aware of the issues of food insecurity in the UK when she worked at Oxfam GB, managing a project that involved partners such as the Trussell Trust and FareShare. While at Oxfam Steph was involved in supporting Seb Mayfield to develop IFAN and soon after began volunteering for our organisation. Steph's main work is as the manager of The Welcome Network overseeing the creation and delivery of ‘Meeting Places’ across Cheshire West and Chester. This involves working with The West Cheshire Foodbank and West Cheshire Citizens Advice to ensure that food and advice are widely and easily accessible locally.

    Ashleigh Comber

    Ashleigh is a Public Health Nutritionist (Anutr), with a background in community health promotion, who believes that everybody should have access to affordable and healthy food. Most recently, Ashleigh has worked with the Welcome Network project, collaborating with partners to focus on holistic approaches to food insecurity and improve the accessibility to food and support. Ashleigh currently helps with IFAN's administration and event-planning on a weekly basis.

    Andy Fisher (Advisor)

    Andrew Fisher is based in Portland, Oregon and is a leading national expert on community food security. In 1994, he co-founded and led the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC), a national alliance of groups working on food access and local food, until 2011. During this time, he created and publicized the concept of community food security, and played a key role in catalyzing and providing guidance to the food movement. He has played a lead role in gaining passage of numerous pieces of federal legislation, including the Community Food Projects and the Farm to School grant program. He has taught at various universities in Oregon, and served as an interim executive director at Portland Fruit Tree Project from 2015-2017. His groundbreaking book, “Big Hunger: The Unholy Alliance Between Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups” was published by MIT Press in 2017. He has authored- or co-authored- seminal reports on farm to school, food policy councils, community food security project design, local food policy, farmers markets and community food assessments. He currently consults to various food system organizations, and speaks throughout North America and the UK about his vision for reforming the anti-hunger field.

    Alison Cohen (Advisor)


    Alison Meares Cohen is the Senior Director of Programs for WhyHunger, a New York-based global non-profit organization that mobilizes resources and supports grassroots organizations and allies in building powerful, strategic, and unified networks and alliances working at the root causes of hunger and poverty to build and strengthen social movements in the struggle for food sovereignty worldwide. Along with her colleagues at WhyHunger, she is a co-founder and serves on the Leadership Team of Closing the Hunger Gap, an emergent membership-based network of organizations and individuals across the United States working to expand hunger relief efforts beyond food distribution towards strategies that promote social justice and address the root causes of hunger. Previously, Alison worked with Heifer International where she organized groups of small farmers throughout the Midwest and Northeast to build local, sustainable food systems where limited-resource families, communities and beginner farmers –both rural and urban -- have access to healthy food and income-earning opportunities. Alison also served as the director of Heifer International's first urban agriculture program based in Chicago, Illinois for five years. Alison has a master's degree in Sociology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a bachelor’s degree in English and French literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For the past twenty-five years she has worked with farming communities in West Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada and the United States.



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