Meet The Team
Diane Picard has been with the Massachusetts Avenue Project since 1997 and currently serves as 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.
Diane Picard (she/her)
Karine began as a Mobile Market Coordinator in 2019. After working in restaurants for years, Karine was looking to be involved with food in a way that made a greater impact for the community, and MAP’s mission and values fit right in with her personal ones. Karine was first drawn to MAP through her passions surrounding Slow Food, a global grassroots organization that focuses on where food comes from and how food choices affect the world. Karine has an intense interest in preserving her family’s culture and traditions of food and wants other families to have the accessibility to continue theirs as well. Karine loves trying new foods of all kinds, traveling, and hiking/camping - especially where there is water involved!
Karine Amato (she/her)
Mobile Markets Director
Ben is serving as the AmeriCorps VISTA Development Coordinator at MAP. This is Ben's third AmeriCorps stint following one summer at an urban farm in Albany, NY, and 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 by a deep-held belief in the power of place-based community building. While pursuing his BA in Geography at Vassar College, Ben served as an education intern at the farm on campus and led a student-faculty collaboration to promote community geography projects in Poughkeepsie. In his free time, Ben enjoys activities that grow a deeper sense of place - gardening and cooking, learning poetry and art, and outdoor recreation in many forms.
Ben Bachman (he/him)
Development Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA
Neena 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 helped organize 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.
Neena Hussey (she/her)
Youth Education Director
Sarah is a Buffalo native and community centric fundraiser with a passion for environmental and ecological justice. Sarah's role at MAP includes cultivating partnerships and mobilizing resources to fund community-led solutions that benefit people and our planet.
Sarah Klawinski (she/they)
Joe 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. Joe 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 Food Justice Organizer role.
Joe Kurtz (he/him)
Food Justice Organizer
Antionette is born and raised in Buffalo, NY - the City of Good Neighbors. Growing up she recalls visiting a variety of local farmers markets with her family and friends, which is where she drew her inspiration to become more involved in her community. She dedicates her spare time by volunteering for non profit organizations. In 2022, she completed the Young Professionals for Olmsted Parks program and proceeded to join the IDEA Committee for Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the Programming Committee for the Tool Library, and she also serves on the Board for Catholic Charities Young Professionals along with occupying a seat on their Advocacy Committee. She also enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
Antoinette McClain (she/her)
Mobile Market Procurement Coordinator
Bethany started with MAP in 2011 as a summer AmeriCorps member after graduating from Houghton College. After that, 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 about 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.
Bethany Ortquist (she/her)
Farm to Table Coordinator
After receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy at SUNY Fredonia, Katie 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.
Katherine Pfohl (she/her)
Emily is a Buffalo native who attended the University at Buffalo, graduating with a degree in Environmental Studies. Although she loves natural science, Emily also believes that creating resilient communities is equally as important in the face of a changing world and changing climate. She started at MAP in May of 2023 as a Mobile Market Specialist. After falling in love with MAP and its mission, she now works on site as the New York State Public Health Fellow! In her free time she loves to climb rocks, practice yoga, hike, cook, crochet, and spend quality time with her friends!
Emily Volker (she/her)
New York State Public Health Fellow
Tabitha began her work with MAP in the summer of 2022 as a summer ABLE Team Leader. After studying conservation biology at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, she became passionate about the intersection of sustainability and environmental justice. She moved to Buffalo in the summer of 2021 and was introduced to urban agriculture through farm work at 5 Loaves Farm. Through this experience she became interested in youth education and building community connections through food sovereignty and accessibility. After spending a summer working with MAP, she is excited to return and continue the organization’s mission as a Mobile Market Outreach Coordinator. Tabitha enjoys being outdoors in any capacity, including hiking, biking and camping.
Tabitha Wechter (she/her)
Mobile Market Outreach Coordinator