Meet the Staff
Diane Picard has been with the Massachusetts Avenue Project since 1997 and currently serves as MAP’s Executive Director.
In 2003, she founded Growing Green, a program that employs and trains youth in urban agriculture, food systems issues, microenterprise and leadership. With her very talented staff, she has led MAP’s efforts to increase access of fresh, affordable food in Buffalo’s schools and inner city neighborhoods. In 1992, she received a Masters of Social Work from Boston University, specializing in Program Planning and Community Organizing. Her undergraduate degree from Cornell University prepared her to teach agriculture and art at a rural secondary school in Botswana, where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1986 to 1988.
Email Diane or call her at (716) 882-5327 ext. 1
Karine Amato (she/her), MAP's Mobile Markets Director
Meghan Dawe (she/her), MAP's Mobile Market Coordinator
Originally from Massachusetts, Meghan has been in Upstate NY since the start of 2020. While receiving her bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, her focus on food sustainability and the environment was at a heart of all of her projects. This included leading the campus Green Team, studying aquaponics as a solution for urban hunger, and traveling to Albania to help beekeepers generate value-added products. After college, she followed her passion for food and spent 5 years in manufacturing and supply chain. Now, Meghan is excited to apply her experiences to MAP as the Mobile Market Coordinator. In her spare time, she likes to travel, cook new meals, and go on bike rides with her girlfriend.
Email Meghan or call her at (716) 882-5327 ext. 4
Neena Hussey (she/her) MAP’s Youth Education Director first started working at MAP in 2013 as a Growing Green Youth.
Inspired by her previous relation to MAP she went on to major in Food Studies at Syracuse University. During her time in Syracuse she’s helped organized a community garden in Syracuse, developed food justice curriculum, and interned with NOFA NY. She’s very passionate about social justice and believes in emulating the change you wish to see in the world. In her free time she likes to explore new music and play with her nephew. She looks forward to engaging with the youth in meaningful ways.
Email Neena or call her at (716) 882-5327 ext 6.
Sarah Klawinski (she/her) MAP’s Development Director
Sarah is a Buffalo native living in the west side community with her family. She graduated from Buffalo State College with a degree in Art History in 2009, and spent several years working in museums and archives. Seeking more opportunities for community engagement and social impact work, Sarah began her career in development work in 2012 and has since worked as a development professional for local nonprofits, focusing on underserved populations such as refugee and immigrant families and youth in foster care. Sarah is excited to use her experience as a development professional to help facilitate meaningful partnerships and increase access to community resources here on the west side as we reimagine a food supply that is local, sustainable, and equitable.
Email Sarah or call her at (716) 882-5327 ext. 2
Joe Kurtz (he/him), MAP's Food Justice Organizer
Joe Kurtz went to Manhattan College for Chemical Engineering to fulfill a childhood dream of making medicine. But his work with the Tool Library and managing a Grassroots Garden community garden shifted his passion from pharmaceuticals to advocating for urban agriculture and food policies that put people, land, and the planet before profit. In 2017, he received the Presidents’ Volunteer in Service Award in Environmental Advocacy for his work on ReTree the District with The Tool Library.
He became a volunteer with MAP during the pandemic and is excited to bring his experience in community organizing, urban ag, project planning and program development with diverse community, county, and state representatives to his new Food Justice Organizer role.
Bethany Ortquist (she/her), MAP's Farm to Table Coordinator, began working with MAP in 2011 as a summer AmeriCorps member after graduating from Houghton College.
In the years that followed, she worked with both Jericho Road Community Health Center and Westminster Economic Development Initiative as the Program Coordinator of the FLY Program where she oversaw after-school and summer programming for approximately 30 middle school refugee students every year. At FLY, she was passionate about teaching her students life skills such as gardening, cooking, nutrition, and self-care, and she is excited to bring that passion to MAP. Bethany lives in a housing co-op with several friends and loves being a part of the vibrant and diverse West Side community. She enjoys gardening, beekeeping, ultimate frisbee, and cuddling with her chickens.
Email Bethany or call her at (716) 882-5327 ext 3.
Katherine Pfohl (she/her), MAP's Farm Manager
After receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy at SUNY Fredonia, Katherine Pfohl, MAP's Farm Manager, started farming in Zambia where she was a Peace Corps volunteer in an aquaculture program.
After that, she studied Permaculture in Oregon and then moved to St. Croix to work on a permaculture farm. With a desire to know how to farm in temperate regions, Katherine helped start a CSA in East Aurora for the 2010 growing season. Katherine started working at MAP as an AmeriCorps volunteer and now she is happy to be working with MAP as a full-time staff member.
Email Katie or call her at (716) 882-5327 ext 5.
Emily O'Bryan (she/her), AmeriCorps VISTA member & MAP’s Farmhouse Coordinator
Emily earned her BA in Environmental Studies from Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Geneva, NY) in May 2021. While in college,
Emily organized a student initiative to combat campus food waste and local food insecurity. She developed interest in greening urban spaces during her studies as well.
Emily is a Buffalo gal who loves music, Pilates, animals, and plant-based food!
She is grateful to take part in empowering healthy, local food systems.
Email Emily or call her at 716-882-5327 x7