top of page

Meet the Staff

Diane headshot.jpg

Diane Picard (she/her)

Executive Director

dpnoc@mass-ave.org | (716) 882-5327 ext. 1

 

Diane has been with the Massachusetts Avenue Project since 1997. In 2003, she founded Growing Green, a program that employs and trains youth in urban agriculture, food systems issues, microenterprise and leadership. With her talented staff, she has led MAP’s efforts to increase access to fresh, affordable food in Buffalo’s schools and neighborhoods.

IMG_7632.jpg

Karine Amato (she/her)

Mobile Markets Director

marketsdirector@mass-ave.org | (716) 882-5327 ext. 4

Karine started at MAP as a Mobile Market Coordinator in 2019. After working in restaurants for years, Karine was drawn to MAP because its mission fit right in with her personal values. Karine has an intense interest in preserving her family’s food culture and traditions and wants other families to have the opportunity to continue theirs as well. Karine loves trying new foods of all kinds, traveling, and hiking/camping - especially where there is water involved!

Ben Bachman (he/him)

Development Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA

info@mass-ave.org

Ben comes to MAP after starting service through AmeriCorps in 2022, first for one summer at an urban farm in Albany, NY, and then for a year at an emergency shelter and food bank in southern Colorado. Born and raised in WNY, Ben is drawn to food justice work by a long family history of farming and an interest place-based community building. He is excited to make connections in Buffalo's local food system. In his free time, Ben loves art, nature, and anything that fosters a strong sense of place.

IMG_20220622_181250101.jpg
Neena.png

Neena Hussey (she/her)

Youth Education Director

neena@mass-ave.org | (716) 882-5327 ext. 6

Neena started working at MAP in 2013 as a Growing Green Youth. Her time at MAP inspired her to get a degree in Food Studies at Syracuse University, where she helped organize a community garden, developed food justice curriculum, and interned with NOFA NY. Neena is passionate about social justice and believes in emulating the change you wish to see in the world. She is always excited to engage with MAP youth in meaningful ways. In her free time she likes to explore new music and play with her nephew.

Sarah Klawinski (she/they)

Development Director

development@mass-ave.org | (716) 882-5327 ext. 2 

Sarah joined MAP as the Development Director in June 2021 with many years of experience in nonprofit development and a passion for environmental and ecological justice. As a community-centric fundraiser, Sarah works to cultivate partnerships and  mobilize resources to fund community-led solutions that benefit people and our planet. In their free time, Sarah enjoys being with family, getting out in nature, and studying biology.

Sarahkpic.JPG
joe.jpg

Joe Kurtz (he/him)

Food Justice Organizer

organizer@mass-ave.org

Joe started working at MAP as a volunteer during the pandemic. After receiving a degree in Chemical Engineering at Manhattan College, Joe's time working with Buffalo organizations like the Tool Library and Grassroots Gardens shifted his passion to advocating for urban agriculture and food policies that put people, land, and the planet before profit. With his experience in community organizing, urban ag, project planning, and program development, Joe is an integral member of the MAP team. 

Bethany Ortquist (she/her)

Kitchen Manager

bethany@mass-ave.org | (716) 882-5327 ext. 3

Bethany was first introduced to MAP as a summer AmeriCorps member in 2011 and then joined the team full-time in 2018. Bethany loves working with MAP Youth to develop value-added products for the Market as well as plan and prepare farm-to-table meals. Along with cooking with the teens and organizing cooking classes, Bethany also coordinates kitchen rentals for our talented food entrepreneurs. Bethany loves being a part of the vibrant and diverse West Side community. She enjoys gardening, rock-climbing, ultimate frisbee, and cuddling with her chickens.

IMG_8212.jpg
IMG_6246.JPG

Katherine Pfohl (she/her)

Farm Manager

kate@mass-ave.org(716) 882-5327 ext. 5

Armed with a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy from SUNY Fredonia, Katie's journey into sustainable farming began as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. Her commitment to sustainable practices deepened through education and farming in the Pacific Northwest and in the West Indies. Back in the US, Katie helped start a CSA, solidifying her expertise and passion for cultivating resilient, community-driven agricultural practices. She is a third generation Buffalonian and has been at MAP since 2011, still growing and learning and connecting to this land with passion.

Tabitha Wechter (she/her)

Mobile Market Outreach Coordinator

mobilemarket@mass-ave.org | (716) 882-5327 ext. 7

Tabitha began her work with MAP in the summer of 2022 as a summer ABLE Team Leader. These days she is an integral part of the Market team and the person who sends out our weekly market updates. Tabitha studied conservation biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Working in urban agriculture in Buffalo, Tabitha has developed an interest in building community connections through food sovereignty and accessibility. Tabitha enjoys being outdoors in any capacity, including hiking, running and camping.

IMG_3883.jpg
IMG_4100 (1).heic

Emily Volker (she/her)

New York State Public Health Fellow

emily@mass-ave.org

After falling in love with MAP and its mission as a Mobile Market Specialist, Emily joins the team as a New York State Public Health Fellow. Emily is a Buffalo native who attended the University at Buffalo, graduating with a degree in Environmental Studies. She believes that creating resilient communities is important in the face of a changing world and changing climate. In her free time she loves to climb rocks, practice yoga, hike, cook, crochet, and spend quality time with her friends!

bottom of page