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Meet the Team
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Akil-Kuumba Kelley

Herbal Lead

As a Clinical Herbal practitioner, Akil found his start in herbalism through several camping trips in Colorado’s backcountry. Foraging edible wild plants was his prerequisite to the field. Graduating from the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism in 2018 Akil has been working with community members, providing supportive medicine in clinical settings from the moment he was able to. Specializing in addressing the emotional component of illness, he uses “sitting with medicine” as a tool to impact the subconscious mind and subtle energies of the body. Akil has taught a variety of physiology and herbalism classes in the Denver metro area and U.S.V.I. including portions of herbal certificate programs. Both education, and serving the community give Akil a great sense of satisfaction. After working in several of Denver's oldest and most well known apothecaries for the last decade, Akil is so happy to call Frontline Farm his community. Using his cultivated knowledge of herbal therapeutics to blend custom tea, tincture, and flower essence formulations, as well as working with interested clients in the clinic. Although he has a reservoir of intrinsic knowledge to share, this is still only the start of his work at least in this life.

Kourtnie Burse

Vocational Education Lead

Kourtnie Burse, Vocational Education Lead, is a passionate urban farmer from New Orleans, LA with a deep love for the outdoors, fishing, and continuous learning. Kourtnie holds a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado, Denver and an Associates of General Studies from Colorado Mountain College. She joined FrontLine in 2024 after a year of experience at Denver Urban Gardens as a Youth Education Coordinator. Kourtnie is skilled in teaching, gardening, sustainability, classroom management, permaculture and curriculum development. Navigating the intersection of being Black and an urban farmer has afforded her a unique perspective that she uses to empower young minds with practical skills while fostering a sense of inclusivity and representation.

Johnitta Medina

Food Access Manager

Johnitta Medina, mother, community servant, entrepreneur. She has been a part of the frontline farming community since 2018 as a community member, turned volunteer and now manager of the Snap team. Life experiences facilitated passions for food justice and access to healthy options for the most vulnerable community members. As well as her role as the Snap team manager you can also find her running our no cost grocery, the very program that introduced her to Frontline Farming. Johnitta has a long background in work with youth, food and the community as a whole which shines through in any role she facilitates.

Alicia Bolivar


Alicia is a proud bilingual Latina from Peru with a BS in Business Administration/ Management and attended MSU for her MA in Accounting. Her vibrant personality helps her navigate the professional landscape with expertise, enthusiasm and grace. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Alicia is a vibrant individual who exudes passion for life. Her infectious enthusiasm extends to inspiring others to laugh and embrace their best selves. Alicia's diverse interests span the outdoors, fashion, and food, reflecting a dynamic and well-rounded individual who thrives on the richness of life's experiences.

Saleema Robinson

Majestic View Farm Manager

Saleema received her Masters in Conservation Ecology with a focus on agroecology and social justice from University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability in 2018. She has been urban farming for 6 years in the Midwest and Southwest in the form of apprenticeships, running her own business, and co-founding a women of color farming collective. She comes to the field of agriculture with diverse experiences in ecological research, education, and social justice all of which informs her land and people ethics. Her passion for growing plants, her love of agroecology, and her drive to feed her community motivates her to continue to develop as a farmer and land steward.

Dr. Damien Thompson

Co-Founder, Director

Damien Thompson, PhD the Co-Founder and Director of the Center for Food Justice and Health Communities. He also is the Sustainable Food Systems Specialization Lead for CU Boulder’s Masters of the Environment Program. In addition to his training in anthropology, Dr. Thompson also holds a certification in Permaculture Design, an Advanced Permaculture Design certification and a 200-hour Yoga Alliance Teaching Certification.

Ariel Johnson

Assistant Farm Manager

Ariel is one of our new Assistant Managers at Majestic Farm. She has spent majority of her time farming throughout the Pacific Northwest, Southwest and West Coast with a major focus on soil regeneration. Born and raised in San Diego, California Ariel’s passion for farming comes from her desire to contribute to a world where quality food is more accessible to the communities actively suffering from food insecurities. Dedicated to community and agricultural health, Ariel is excited to continue her growth as a farmer with Frontline Farming.

Stacy Compoz

Assistant Farm Manager

After completing FrontLine's beinning farmer training in 2023, Stacy joined the FrontLine farming team as the Assistant Farm Manager at Sisters Gardens in North Denver. Stacy was born and raised in Denver, CO. Before coming to Frontline, she had 10 years in veterinary medicine and 10 years in healthcare. Stacy has a Bachelor’s in Communications with an emphasis in Sustainability. Outside of wrok, you can find stacy hiking, cooking, kayaking, traveling, and exploring Colorado.

Alicia Nescio

Coordinating Manager

Alicia is originally from Philadelphia, and a big fan of food. She’s Afro-Latina, with a Puerto-Rican father and an African American mother. Her family has a strong tradition of cooking, and she learned a lot about her heritage through the dishes they prepared. Alicia attended culinary school in Philadelphia. In Colorado she have worked at the Four Seasons, the Marriott, and as the Executive Pastry Chef at Somebody People. After nearly a decade in the restaurant industry, she realized that her passion had shifted more toward event planning than cooking. At Frontline she is fully immersed in event planning, working on Farm to Table experiences, Corn Harvest events, and communications and advertising for our nonprofit.

Sandra Vicens

SNAP Coordinator

Sandra is a retired federal employee who oversaw the distribution of federal compensation for employees who were exposed to hazardous chemicals. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States as a part of her work and is fluent in both Spanish and English. Originally Sandra is from Puerto Rico and moved to the mainland in the 1980s to the nation’s Capitol in Washington D.C. She is currently the proud dog parent of three rescues and an avid gardener, hiker, and DIY warrior.

Jessica Caouette

Business Operations Director

Jessica Caouette is the Business Operations Manager. Jessica finished her BSBA with DU's Hospitality Management program in 2010 and back in Denver in mid 2011, she started The Denver Bicycle Cafe with an old friend and owned and managed it for 8 years until November 2019. Her skills in budget management, bookkeeping and business systems come in handy as FrontLine grows with its community.

Fatuma Emmad

Co-Founder, Executive Director, Farm Director

Fatuma Emmad is the CO-Founder, Executive Director and Head Farmer of FrontLine Farming. She serves as President of Mile High Farmers and is a Co Convener for Project Protect Food Systems Workers. She is a lecturer in the Masters for Environmental Studies Program at CU Boulder. Before becoming a farmer, Fatuma was a political scientist who engaged in issues affecting farming communities such as the push for genetically modified seeds across Southern and Eastern Africa.

Malcolm Gossett

Assistant Farm Manager

I graduated from Colorado College with a degree in Ecology in 2021. Since then, I've worked in conservation ecology with the Washington Conservation Corps, farmed for two years at Pacific Crest Farm, and recently moved to Denver to continue to learn more about small scale regenerative farming and its place in the food justice movement. I am originally from Los Angeles. Outside of work I enjoy reading, running, watching movies, playing basketball, and learning board games.

Alexis Albanez

Assistant Farm Manager

Alexis has been with FrontLine Farmign since 2021 helping in various ways such as tending crops, implementing IPM, expanding our mushroom growing, and providing our CSA and markets with top notch customer service. She is such a valued part of the heart-centered work we do at FrontLine, always working to grow food and relationships within our community. Alexis is an indoor and outdoor farmer with additional experience with parks and recreation.

Emily Castillo

SNAP Coordinator

Emily is an embodiment of dedication and diversity. Born and raised in Mexico, she blends her rich cultural heritage with a multifaceted professional journey. Holding a Bachelor's in Nursing, Emily brings a healthcare perspective that underscores her innate desire to nurture and support those around her. At FrontLine Farming, she serves as the SNAP Outreach Coordinator. In this role, Emily applies her passion for helping others, especially in ensuring access to nutritious food and education. Her immigrant background provides profound insight into the challenges faced by many families, fueling her advocacy and empowerment efforts.

Mark Ludke

Sr. Systems Admin and Web Developer

Mark worked for restaurants for decades before coming to FrontLine Farming. Interested in data systems and mathematics, Mark works to find the best balance between the real word our farmers work in and the growing digital world around it. An avid bike rider, you can spot Mark in southwest Denver on his bicycle most days, or running tabletop Roleplaying Games

Kassandra Neiss

Dir. Data Activism and Systems Management

Kassandra Neiss, Director of Research and Data Activism, has sixteen years of experience in collaborative organizing and fundraising, and nine years in research and data. She has developed strong systems design skills, employed a range of mixed-method research methodologies, and worked with diverse stakeholders on a range of social impact, policy, and educational projects. Her experience ranges from large data sets to ethnographic storytelling. Kassandra's work has a north star of data equity and sovereignty.

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