OUR FULL TIME STAFF
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Fatuma Emmad is the co founder of FLF, and the owner and operator of Bountiful By Design, a sustainable high-end landscape company. She is also an affiliate Professor at Regis University in the Community Food Systems minor. Fatuma was born in Denver and raised in Denver and Ethiopia. Fatuma has worked farming organic and heirloom vegetables on her own acreage as part of a land co-op, setting up farms for restaurants, and as farm manager for multi acre community farms in Milwaukee and Denver. Fatuma is currently entering her tenth year as a farm manager or farm operations director. Before becoming a farmer, Fatuma was a political scientist who engaged in issues affecting marginalized farming communities such as the push for genetically modified seeds across Sub-Saharan Africa. She believes in resistance by the world’s land caretakers to single solutions for crop productivity and seeks to work on re-framing ideas of food security. Fatuma has been certified and teaching yoga since 2004 and is a graduate of the Center for Agriculture and Ecology at the University of Santa Cruz. She currently serves as a Mayor appointed Member of the Sustainable Food Council for the City of Denver, a co-chair for the City’s Good Food Purchasing Policy Group, and is a selected fellow for Transformational Leaders for Change.
Co-Founder and Director of Center for Food Justice and Healthy Communities
Damien Thompson, PhD is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Criminal Justice at Regis University. 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. His interests center on the building of community food systems, small scale urban food production, developing community and cultural practices related to food and medicine, teaching and learning in education and permaculture as one method related to how to pursue those interests. Specifically Dr. Thompson is interested in how communities can utilize traditional and modern information and practices to build food systems which uplift marginalized and oppressed peoples, restore ecosystems, build biodiversity, support cultural diversity as well as provide individuals and families with the highest level of access to the means to support their own health. Damien is a Mayor- appointed member of the Sustainable Food Council for the City of Denver, and a co-chair for the city’s Good Food Purchasing policy group.
Director of Farming at Celebration / Sister Gardens
Wadada means Love, so I greet you with Love.
JaSon is one of the founding members and Farm Directors of Frontline Farming, For the past four years, has worked to implement regenerative land practices and techniques focused implementing bio-intensive models into his growing techniques, and uplift farmers’ roles as soil stewards, earth-workers and community advocates. As part of his duties as Farm Director, is to coordinate our education curriculum and herbalism team. JaSon play a key role in crafting the face of the organization as well, serving as graphic designer and internal operating systems architect. My artwork and digital representation of our work at Frontline is a reflection of the organization’s own black arts, culture and history. It is a passion of mine to be involved with the planning and setting of policy that positivity affects farms and the food system. For this reason, I also sit on the Jeffco Food Policy Council for Jefferson County, Colorado. JaSon serves as the BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) representative on the National Policy Committee for the National Young Farmers Coalition.
In addition to farming, I am an artist who has focused on visual and graphic arts for the majority of my professional career as Creative Director for The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Director of JA Creative Services and Founder of Wadada Arts Foundation. As an artist, I strive to make my work interactive by using multiple art forms and incorporating technology with mixed media. I am moved by the remembrance of a time when people tapped into different realms to heal bodies, minds and souls. By peering through the veil to the unseen, I incorporate colors, movements, ancient symbols with modern meanings as well as modern cybertech to see the unseen. My work has been shown at countless exhibitions throughout New York City, from Brooklyn's Restoration Plaza & Brooklyn Law School, to the Museum of the City of New York, to El Museo del Barrio, as well as in solo and group shows in Harlem. I was highlighted at the Newark International Airport in 2018 and more recently, in December 2018, I was part of the HAA artist showcase as well as a private showing with the #ArtofSoul during Art Basel, Miami in 2018 and 2019.
I use my visual perspective and inclination to nature and the environment to help shape and form the way I leave and serve the planet both through farming and creating art to share with the world. It is with this perspective that I am able to honor the land, our communities and one another as farmers and living beings during the growing season and life in general.
Kassandra (Kasey) Neiss
Data Activist / Systems Manager
FLF’s organizational administration systems, creation of farm and programmatic metric systems, and data analysis, research and engagement. She has been engaged in collaborative organizing, coalition building, and community-based research in racial and food justice movements for almost two decades. In Colorado, Kasey has worked on data, logistics, and program development for political campaigns, cannabis businesses, community coalitions, and nonprofits. Kasey holds an MA in cultural anthropology from the University of Denver and a BA from Hampshire College in US ethnic studies and oral history. She also owns her own research consulting company and has taught anthropology at Community College of Aurora, Colorado.