The FoodLab Board
The FoodLab board is a dedicated team of working professionals who share FoodLab's core values and have taken on the responsibility of keeping our proverbial compass pointed north. They guide us with financial and organizational strategy to optimize our capacity to serve the FoodLab membership base and the greater Detroit community on our path to a new food economy.
Current Board Members
Dr. Alicia Renee Farris, President
Gina Schrader, Secretary
Jake Williams, Treasurer
The staff team at FoodLab is committed to the vision of a diverse, fair, and green food economy built by its membership. We cultivate the know-how and skillset of developing business owners; connect those business owners to other businesses and resources to facilitate a rich network of professionals working together; and catalyze movement toward shared goals to benefit the community at large.
Devita Davison, Executive Director
A native of Detroit and daughter of a preacher, Devita lived almost 19 years in New York before moving back to her hometown in 2012. For her, words are not just letters strung together; they are vessels for love and fight, heart ache, wisdom, and profound joy. To say she wears her heart on her sleeve doesn't feel adequate; whether decrying from the TED stage injustices in the food system or expounding on the beauty of a ripe strawberry in summer, her passion for this work is palpable. With fiery talk, wide-open arms, and an insatiable appetite for reading the latest in food justice and innovation, Devita propels the growth of FoodLab Detroit to create a food system truly equitable, sustainable, cooperative and community driven
In line with her title, Angela sifts through data, filters what’s necessary, sees connections between seemingly disparate pieces, and easily builds efficient systems to manage the FoodLab membership and related programming. Angela joined the FoodLab community in 2012 as a participating business in the first iteration of BASE where she developed the business that she would later name Beautiful Soup. Beside coordinating the ins and outs of our membership base and spearheading a partnership with Keep Growing Detroit, she has three kids with her husband and maintains an ongoing affair with Jane Austen novels. She may very well be the personification of kindness, too.
Ederique Goudia, Program Associate
If you ask her mother, Ederique started cooking when she was merely three years old and has not stopped since. She hails from a small town nestled along the Mississippi River in between New Orleans and Baton Rouge by the name of Vacherie, Louisiana where she was born and raised. She moved to Michigan 15 years ago immediately after college. A veteran of the restaurant industry, she is the co-founder and food business consultant for In the Business of Food, LLC, manages all of FoodLab's programming and member support and is the co-owner of Gabriel Hall - a Creole restaurant, bar, and music venue coming to West Village neighborhood of Detroit. You can catch her hosting pop-ups and catering events in and around Detroit prior to Gabriel Hall's opening.
Scarlett Bickerton, 2018 Sustainability Research Fellow
Roselyn Nsenga, 2018 Sustainability Research Fellow
Roselyn is a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan. Her academic interests include History as it pertains to historically misrepresented or underrepresented groups, and Human Biology as it relates to Health, both at an individual and population level. Roselyn lives in Kalamazoo, MI but she grew up in Lilongwe, Malawi and speaks four languages with a never ceasing desire to learn more. Having been raised in a home where she practiced subsistence farming, growing things like corn, tomatoes, cabbage, eggplants, chilli peppers, various leafy greens, root and tuber crops, pumpkins, watermelons, and fruit trees including lemons, bananas, papayas, and mangoes to mention a few, the importance of “good food” has always been a big part of her life. However, it was not until she moved to the US and noticed how hard it could be to get these foods, particularly in terms of accessibility and affordability, that she truly began to understand just how important good food is.
Former Staff and Fellows
A Special Shout Out to our Founder, Jess Daniel
Jess is FoodLab's cheerful, fierce, and fearless Founder. A curious soul with a boundless capacity for learning and adventure, Jess drew on her varied experiences -- from product marketing at Google, program design and evaluation at local NGOs in Cambodia, policy work at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and processing chickens on a small farm in the San Juan Islands -- to envision and design FoodLab’s holistic programs and participatory and practical approach to growing a more resilient, more just, more healthy, and more delicious food economy. She founded FoodLab in 2011, guided by her PhD work in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University, and inspired by the many entrepreneurs and activists she befriended while running her own small pop-up noodle restaurant in Detroit.
Thanks to Jess's vision and dedication, and her skill as a systems-thinker, bridge-builder, and facilitator, what started as a small informal meeting around Jess's kitchen table has since grown into a non-profit organization with over 150 dues-paying business members and a solid reputation for effective and thoughtful leadership and for bringing together diverse groups in a city that's often divided. Jess’s efforts have been acknowledged with a Crain’s “20 In Their 20s” award, a Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Local Living Economies Fellowship, and frequent calls from other cities looking to start their own “FoodLab.” Jess transitioned out of FoodLab in early 2015 and still supports the organization through emails, phone calls, and lots of cyber hugs.