To connect people, place, food and farms through education and outreach.
Our vision is to create the world’s greatest regional food identity, the country’s healthiest population and use the most preserving systems to get there.
The Inland Northwest Food Network was founded in 2014 by Teri McKenzie. Having relocated to the region from Portland, OR, and fueled by a passion for community building and all things food related, she decided to apply her social entrepreneurial skills to developing a more cohesive local food system. After gathering a group of locals who were also passionate about food systems, it became apparent that there was indeed a desire for a more formal organization to help focalize existing activities and to develop still others that were lacking.
The first meeting of the Board of Directors was held in April 2014. Many hours by a small but dedicated group of volunteers went into laying down the foundation of what is now the Inland Northwest Food Network. The group decided to become a sponsored project of the Clearwater Resource Conservation and Development Council that provided the organization with legal and fiscal support while establishing itself.
In January 2015, the group held its first public event called Chew on This! The History of Food and Farming in Kootenai County, presented by historian Robert Singletary. Since then, recognizing the importance of raising public awareness of the issues surrounding our food and farming practices, the organization determined to make eater-oriented education and outreach its primary focus, with a broader vision of supporting small to medium size organic farms.
Since launching its first program in January, 2015, the volunteer-based organization has expanded its programming significantly to include its Chew on This! series, the monthly Seasonal Kitchen Cooking Classes, Drink This: Inland NW Farm to Glass, the Food for Thought Book Club, the Local Investing Program, workshops, movies, special events, as well as a website, monthly e-newsletter, and an active Facebook page! We are also proud to announce that in June 2017, we became an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization!
Board of Directors
Chef Adam Hegsted was born and raised in Spokane. His interests in food and art led him to enroll in the Northwest Culinary Academy and the Art Institute of Seattle. Since graduating, he has worked in the restaurant business and is now the owner/chef for several restaurants including Wandering Table, Yards Bruncheon, Le Catering, Gilded Unicorn, Farmhouse Kitchen and Eat Good Cafe. He has been won many awards including Innovator of the Year from the National Beef Council and United Fresh, and was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award/Best Chef Northwest. Catalyst magazine named him one of the top 20 under 40 leaders in Spokane and the 50 most influential people in Spokane, and FSR magazine identified him in the top 40 under 40 Rising Stars. He was invited to cook at the James Beard House and at Star Chefs in New York. He is committed to growing our region’s food system and engaging other chefs to supporting local farmers/producers. In his spare time, Adam enjoys spending time with his family outdoors and traveling. Adam currently serves as the Board Chair.
Rob Billow, was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and moved to Spokane one year ago to take on the assistant GM role at Charlie’s Produce, the largest independent distributor of produce on the west coast. Rob has spent 29 years in produce – all with Charlie’s Produce, 15 years in operations and 10 years in organics as a buyer, manager, director and in grower relations.
He is married and raising two kids in Liberty Lake. In his downtown, Rob enjoys food, travel, snowboarding, paddle boarding, family time, reading and spending time with his dog.
Renee Valle moved to Couer d’Alene in 2018 from Pullman where she earned her master’s degree in business administration from Washington State University. She has a reverence for agriculture, has raised sheep, kept honeybees and seen small businesses grow from their nascent to community leaders with her marketing strategies and tactics(you could say she’s in the business of growing.)
Her mission is to serve her community with a dedication to wholesome values, solution based-thinking and data-driven strategies. Renee owns a small marketing firm, is an RYT 200hr registered yoga instructor, attends Real Life Ministries, is part of the Snacktivist® Foods team as well as the Innovation Collective Leadership Network. In her spare time, she loves to go hiking, visit her grandparents, read and play music.
Joni Kindwall-Moore is a lifelong food activist, foodie and mom of three kids. She has an academic background in Biology with an emphasis in pharmaceutical chemistry and ethnobotany from the University of Montana. Joni is also a BSN-RN from SUNY Binghamton with and has spent her Nursing career in ER, ICU and Diabetes education. Growing up on a small farm in rural Oregon, Joni has always had an interest in farming, food sheds and specialty crops. This is where her passion for the farm-to-fork mission was born. Joni currently resides in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, ID and is the founder of Snacktivist Foods. Snacktivist Foods makes baking mixes and prepared goods made from ancient grains, legumes, seed and nut flours for home and commercial use. Snacktivist Foods is dedicated making a positive impact on our Nation’s food system while simultaneously fueling an agricultural renaissance for heritage and ancient cereal and legume crops.
Erin Whitehead is a native of Coeur d’Alene. She returned to the area in 2015, after spending several years working abroad in the field of global health. Erin’s academic background is in Anthropology, Environmental Science, and she has a Master’s in Public Health (MPH), specializing in Health Education and Promotion. Erin works for the Panhandle Health District as an infectious disease Epidemiologist and as a Health Education Specialist, managing the Idaho Physical Activity Program and the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. She also teaches a course in Health Policy for Eastern Washington University’s MPH Program. Erin is strongly committed to educating people about our regional food shed-its beneficial impacts to our health, ecology, economy, and quality of life.
When Erin is not working she is most likely spending time in nature, with her two dogs and friends. Erin is a lover of experiencing other cultures, exploring exotic cuisine, and always looking forward to the next travel adventure. Erin serves as Board Secretary.