Project Team

The Maine Food Strategy Project is based at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine.  The Project Team includes Muskie staff as well as team members drawn from other parts of the food system.  Many other participants and project partners are helping to make this project happen beyond the Project Team listed here!


Tanya Swain, Project Co-Director

Tanya Swain is co-director of the Maine Food Strategy Initiative. In addition to her work with the Initiative, Tanya is executive director of the Western Mountains Alliance (WMA), a community and economic development organization located in Farmington. Her work to support local agriculture has focused on marketing and promotion of the sector by using new tools to help connect farms with markets. Prior to her work at the Alliance, Tanya served as a regional coordinator for the Maine Community Foundation and has a background in public relations and journalism. She has an M.A. in Public Policy and Management from the University of Southern Maine and holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington in Seattle. Tanya serves on boards for the University of Maine Farmington Board of Visitors and the Maine Association of Conservation Commissions.

barbi_picBarbi Ives, Project Co-Director

Barbi built a career centered on her strong organizational skills and drive to improve the lives of others. She has taught computers, library, and English at levels ranging from Kindergarten to Adult Education, in public and private schools; and she has been treasurer for two non-profit schools and a real estate
development company. She came to value food systems work when worked at Muskie School’s New England Environmental Finance Center, where she was program manager for Local Food for 4 years. She saw the way a better food system can improve social equity, health; and community and economic development.

Barbi is also Coordinator the Research Committee, providing the support and organization those generous volunteers need to be able to focus on practical questions about how Maine’s food system can be strengthened through understanding.

In addition to co-directing the Maine Food Strategy, Barbi is a beekeeper. She has four hives and, in 2012, started the Sacopee Valley Beekeepers Club. She serves on the boards of the Eat Local Foods Coalition and the Maine State Beekeepers Association.

Dr Mark LappingMark Lapping – Project Focus: Principle Investigator

Mark B. Lapping is Distinguished Professor of Planning & Public Policy at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. He teaches a course in “Food System Planning & Policy.” He is the author of many papers on farming and agriculture and several books, including “A Long, Deep Furrow: Three Centuries of Farming in New England.” He has been a consultant to many governments both here and abroad.

He serves as the Primary Investigator for the Maine Food Strategy at Muskie School, and chairs the Research Committee.