To connect people, place, food and farms through education and outreach.
We envision a resilient, community food system that celebrates the cultural aspects of our region’s food and promotes health for individuals, the local economy and the environment.
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
Char Soucy Beach grew up in rural New York State (yes, there are rural areas east of the Mississippi!) and has fond memories of the small specialty or diversified farms in the area. Char has a M.Ed degree from the University of Idaho and taught elementary school and Outdoor Education for over 20 years. She loves music, and brings it with her wherever she goes. You can hear her with her Celtic music bands playing harp, guitar, bodhran and singing around the Coeur d’Alene area. Char became involved in the INWFN because she wants to support small farmers using earth-friendly practices and good, healthy eating. She is never happier than when she is singing with her hands in the dirt. Char currently serves as the Board Secretary.
Josh Burton has lived in Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls, Idaho since separating from the Air Force in 2000. He graduated from North Idaho College with an associate’s degree in nursing and went on to get a bachelor’s degree in business from Lewis Clark State College. He will finish up his bachelor’s degree in Nursing in the spring of 2017. Josh has worked at Kootenai Health since 2004. His first six years at Kootenai Health were on the Nursing Resource Team after which he assumed the role of Employee Health and Wellness Manager. Josh appreciates the multitude of outdoor opportunities North Idaho has to offer and enjoys them all with his family. Josh’s interest in food and food systems stems from his personal love of food, the delight of experiencing his wife’s love in the form of preparing and serving foods of all types, and the vision he has for his children enjoying fresh, healthy, locally sourced foods in the future. Josh is enthusiastic to work on a subject that affects his life so positively, but can also be easily taken for granted. Josh currently serves as the Board Treasurer.
Jeremy Cowan grew up in the suburbs of San Diego, CA where his early forays into farming included gardening and raising meat rabbits for an FFA project. Since his early years in Southern California, Jeremy has earned B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Horticulture as well as an M.B.A with emphases in Marketing and New Venture Management. Having dabbled in real estate development and landscape construction, Jeremy moved to the Spokane area in 2013 to assume an academic position as Assistant Professor and Regional Horticulture Specialist for northeastern Washington at Washington State University Spokane County Extension. Jeremy’s work with WSU centers around education and consulting for commercial vegetable producers. Additionally, he has been a part of WSU’s effort to establish a statewide food systems program. Jeremy also serves on the board of LINC Foods, a farmer cooperative in the Inland Northwest. Outside of the office, Jeremy co-manages CHI Farms, a 7-acre diversified farm raising heritage hogs, sheep, chickens, fruit, and vegetables with his wife and six children. Jeremy currently serves as the Board Co-Chair.
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.
Kelsey McCall was born and raised in the suburbs of Portland, OR but spread her wings east to attend The University of Montana as a Political Science student with a focus on international development studies and nonprofit administration. Kelsey recently returned from West Africa where she served as a health extension volunteer in the Peace Corps. As a new resident of Coeur d’Alene, she now works as the Program Coordinator at iDFY( Idaho Drug Free Youth) and at Panhandle Health District as a Health Education Specialist. In her free time she enjoys exploring the North Idaho outdoors and volunteering in the community. She also has a passion for travel and all the meals that fuel adventure. Kelsey currently serves as the Board Vice-Chair.
Being raised in the “desert” of Southern Idaho, there was always a mystique for Patrick McMahon surrounding North Idaho. After living in various parts of the country, Patrick and his wife, Sue, got their chance to move to North Idaho, when, in 2008, they sold their house in Boise and bought 5 acres. At the time, Patrick was a successful day trader. The constant stress of the stock market, trying to build a house, and raising two children finally took its toll on Patrick, and he called it quits from trading. He had had successful stints in sales and banking, but they never caught fire within him like day trading did when he started in 1997. His dreams are still forming, as is his strawbale house, but the adventure led him to the Inland Northwest Food Network. He plans on taking his skills in finance, his passion for good food and health, and his love of stories and benefit the larger picture.
Cara McNab grew up in Michigan and worked in Washington, DC for five years before making the trek across the country to settle in Washington state. She has a lifelong interest in the environment and loves being outdoors, so the Inland Northwest is a perfect fit for her. In college Cara discovered the impact agriculture has on the environment and made sustainable agricultural policy the focus of her studies through law school at Wayne State University and an LL.M. in Food and Agricultural Law and the University of Arkansas School of Law. Cara has spent her career working on trying to make Federal policies and programs work for farmers. She is committed to the mission of the INWFN and enjoys supporting small farmers by educating consumers of all ages about the wealth of local food in our area.
The daughter of a life-long teamster and an environmentalist cattle rancher, Beth Robinette was raised with a passion for advocating both for people and ecosystems. This passion took her from her fourth-generation cattle ranch near Spokane to study the intersection of business and sustainable agriculture at Western Washington University. She continued her education in sustainable business at Pinchot University, one of the nation’s first sustainability-focused business schools, where she earned her MBA in Sustainable Systems with an emphasis on Local Living Economies and Sustainable Food and Agriculture. She now runs her family’s grass fed beef operation, which direct markets their carbon negative beef to the Spokane area. In 2014, she co-founded LINC Foods, a worker and farmer owned cooperative food hub, which helps connect Spokane area sustainable family farms to institutional scale markets such as university dining services, school districts, hospitals, and nursing homes, as well as restaurants. She is also one of the founding members of Roots of Resilience, a non-profit which trains Northwest ranchers and land managers on sustainable livestock production and ecological restoration through Holistic Management. Beth serves as the Board Co-Chair along with Jeremy Cowan.
Erin Whitehead is a Coeur d’Alene native, recently returned from several years spent working abroad in the global health/international development sector. She currently works for Panhandle Health District as a Health Education Specialist and is the coordinator of the Idaho Physical Activity and Nutrition Program. She is interested in all things food related, ranging from food policy to culinary exploration and everything in between. A lover of the great outdoors, Erin loves travel, hiking, backpacking and camping, whitewater rafting, and fly fishing.
Founder/Executive Director – Teri McKenzie was born with an insatiable love of food. She is passionate about both food and community building, and recognized early on that any social gathering worth its salt includes food. A returned Peace Corps volunteer and inveterate humanitarian, Teri has decades of experience both in the nonprofit sector and in higher education. With a Masters degree in Whole Systems Design/Nonprofit Leadership and drawing inspiration from the teachings of the natural world, she is a firm believer in the collective wisdom and creativity of people to address the problems we currently face. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, cooking, traveling, music and zoning out with her cat.