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Who We Are


Working collaboratively to transform the future of food and agriculture



CRAFT is an outgrowth of Chatham University's longstanding engagement with sustainable practices and ideas. From the Falk School of Sustainability and Environment to the Food Studies program, CRAFT builds on education, outreach, and training to support products and knowledge building in our region.

In conjunction with the Masters in Food Studies program, CRAFT incorporates an interdisciplinary and hands-on curriculum with research initiatives and projects. Faculty and advanced students collaborate with local businesses, farmers, and innovators on real world solutions.

As a convener of open source data, technical resources, and training opportunities, we work with stakeholders across the food system. 


Alice Julier


Alice Julier is a sociologist whose research focuses on food, material life, and inequality.   She is the founding director of the Food Studies program at Chatham University and has previously served as the Associate Dean of the Falk School.  She is the former president of the Association for the Study of Food and Society, a council member for the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society, and has served on boards of multiple non-profits.  She researches food systems, family meals, masculinity and food, commercial and homemade food, and labor in food systems.  Her most recent book is Eating Together: Food, Friendship, and Inequality.  She is also the co-editor of the newest edition of Food and Culture: A Reader. 

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Cassandra Malis

Program Manager

Cassandra Malis is a graduate of the Food Studies Masters of Arts program at Chatham University, with a concentration in food politics. Her thesis work focused on the commodification of breast milk and the emerging global market for the product. Cassandra has worked as a food systems analyst at a Pittsburgh non-profit, where she helped to research bottlenecks and solutions for the local food system and worked with local food entrepreneurs in growing their business. Cassandra has also worked in community food access by previously managing a local farmers market, and is currently the chair of the market's committee.

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Cynthia caul

Program Manager

Cynthia Caul is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School for Public and International Affairs where she studied International Development. During her time at GSPIA, Cynthia's research focused on food and nutrition security, land access, and the role of agricultural smallholders in an increasingly globalizing economy. She also worked at the school's Ford Institute for Human Security, conducting research on human rights-based approaches to improving agricultural land access for women farmers and was the 2017 recipient of the Simon Reich Human Security Writing Award for her paper Improving and diversifying water access to mitigate the disproportionate impacts of climate change on women in northern Ghana. Prior to this, Cynthia worked on public health and nutrition programming in Ghana with the U.S. Peace Corps.


nicolette Spudic

Food INnovation Lab Manager

Nicolette Spudic is a long time food industry professional with close to 20 years experience in the food space. Her particular focus is on helping food entrepreneurs achieve their goals by assisting them with business and marketing plans, product and process development, and strategic consulting. As the Food Innovation Lab Coordinator for CRAFT she's excited to provide entrepreneurs with the services they need to thrive. In addition to her position at CRAFT, Nicolette is also an adjunct professor for Chatham University's Food Studies Masters program.


Mary Miller

culinary historian

Mary Miller is always on a food adventure. She’s spent decades as a registered dietitian, helping children and families eat healthfully and thoughtfully, enabling future nutritionists to understand and analyze food history and culture, and educating the public about what we eat and why. In 2006, Mary founded The Fork and the Road, a culinary tour company that introduced locals and tourists in Western Pennsylvania to regional food specialties and the people, small business, and communities that bring them to our tables. She currently works as a consultant in culinary tourism and as an adjunct instructor in Chatham University’s Food Studies program. She has been working with CRAFT on the Western Pennsylvania Foodways Collection and on a grant to develop food trails for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

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Emeran Irby

Qualitative Data Analyst

Emeran Irby is a writer, storyteller, and oral historian whose work explores the power of community around the dinner table. She holds a Masters of Food Studies from Chatham University, where she focused on the intersection of labor and gender through practices of food preservation in Appalachia. She has explored the practice of oral history at Columbia University, Ohio Wesleyan University, and through an artist residency with Cucalorus Film Festival. Over the past two years, Emeran has been worked as the Qualitative Data Analyst at CRAFT at Chatham University where she has helped to build the Western Pennsylvania Foodways Collection, a series of oral histories exploring food in Rust Belt communities. When not practicing oral history, Emeran serves as the founder of Dinner Bell magazine, a DIY food publication telling stories that exist outside of the traditional food writing framework.




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Pittsburgh food policy council

The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council is committed to working with City officials and residents of Pittsburgh to develop food and urban agriculture policy. The Council also provides technical assistance, education, momentum, and support on issues related to food production, food access, food distribution, health/nutrition, and urban planning.

Community Kitchen Pittsburgh

Community Kitchen Pittsburgh is a mission-based, multi-faceted food service company. CKPgh's goals include workforce development, community-engaged social enterprise, and food waste reduction. All of their food service contracts directly support the training, providing both the foundation of the curriculum and a way to offset the cost of training and student supports.


Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University

The Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University creates economic opportunities for women through entrepreneurial education and training, mentoring, and networking. Building on Chatham University's tradition of educating women for 145 years, The Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University has provided quality education and training for women entrepreneurs since 2005.

weatherbury farms

Weatherbury Farm is a family owned and operated sustainable farm located in the rolling hills of southwestern Pennsylvania. Since 2009, certified organic grains (soft & hard wheat, oats, spelt, open-pollinated corn, emmer and einkorn) have been grown on the farm. In April 2014, Weatherbury Farms began milling flour for sale directly to consumers. Weatherbury Farms are the leading grains farmer and flour producer in Southwest Pennsylvania.

la prima espresso co.

La Prima Espresso Co. was founded in 1988 by owner Sam Patti. While the company originally began as an espresso machine supplier, the showroom was soon transformed into an Italian style espresso bar. La Prima is a certified organic roaster by Pennsylvania Certified Organic. They are the only certified organic coffee roaster in Pittsburgh, and only one of three in Pennsylvania. 


Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

In existence since 1992, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) is a diverse network of growers, businesses and consumers that facilitates and enables viable farming systems which provide healthy food as locally as possible through innovative programs of education, marketing and advocacy in service to its members and the general public.


Idea Foundry

Founded in 2002, Idea Foundry is a Pittsburgh-based non-profit innovation acceleration and commercialization organization focused on creating high-potential, innovation-related jobs across diverse industry verticals. With more than 200 companies in its portfolio, Idea Foundry is a pioneer in hands-on business development and innovation commercialization.

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black urban gardeners and farmers cooperative of pittsburgh

The Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers Cooperative of Pittsburgh (BUGS FCP) revives and continues the tradition of black farmers begun after Emancipation in the 1860’s. They address the dire food desert problem in many majority-black communities by making fresh food available to people who have limited transportation options. BUGS also hold talks on various social justice themes, such as the impacts of gentrification and increasing economic opportunity in the black community.