Small Planet Institute Team Members

Small Planet Institute Team Members



Natalie Vaughan-Wynn

Natalie Vaughan-Wynn is the Small Planet Institute’s Manager. Working from the Cambridge office, she is responsible for coordinating research, program and project development, events, strategic planning, and the overall management of the Institute. Her diverse experiences, from working in an Alaskan cannery to piloting a food stamp acceptance program for the Spokane Farmers’ Market to consulting for Winrock International in Central Asia, shape her perspective around Small Planet’s sphere of work. She has worked in multiple countries, including Niger, where she served as a Hausa-speaking Peace Corps volunteer in the Tahoua region. She is also an Americorps alum and in 2008 received the President's Volunteer Service Award. Most recently, she earned a Master’s in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University while working in varying capacities with Oxfam America. A west coast transplant, she now lives in the Boston area with her husband and their son.

Joanna Dillon

Joanna Dillon is the key project manager and developer working with Anna on the Real Food Media Project. She has worked with farmers and the public to build strong, resilient agricultural systems in the Northeast, California, and nationally. She most recently was the Communications Director at the Ecological Farming Association, where she created the promotion and outreach strategy for education programs and advocacy campaigns. Previously, she ran the education and communication initiatives at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey and farm-to-school programs in northeastern Vermont. In addition to a dedication to supporting sustainable agriculture and healthy, just food systems, Joanna brings experience in program development, grants management, and design/technology to the Real Food Media Project. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from Bennington College in Vermont and is currently pursuing an MBA in Design Strategy at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.


Giulio Caperchi

Born and raised in Rome, Giulio Caperchi has recently moved to Boston and is now a research fellow at the Small Planet Institute. He holds a Master’s Degree in Social and Political Theory from the University of London and has been professionally trained as a cook. In his spare time he enjoys making fresh hand-made pasta and writes political theory essays for The Genealogy of Consent Blog.

Richard Rowe, PhD

Richard Rowe is a Senior Fellow of the Small Planet Institute and the publisher of Small Planet Media. He is founder, chair and CEO of Open Learning Exchange (OLE) International. Dr. Rowe has focused his career on national and international policies and services that strengthen children, families and communities. A clinical psychologist by training, he was Director of the Test Development and Research Office of the West African Examinations Council, a former Associate Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and director of Harvard’s interfaculty doctoral program in Clinical Psychology and Public Practice; he has served on the Massachusetts State Board of Education, chairing the Board’s education reform task force, and on the MIT Press Board of Directors. He is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Technology and Education and of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Anthony Lappé

Anthony Lappé is Media Advisor and Producer of web documentaries for the Small Planet Institute (See Getting a Grip on Money and Politics, Part 1 and 2). He is a founder of INVISIBLE HAND, a production company dedicated to helping groups and individuals create powerful media for change. After graduating from NYU and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Anthony worked as a freelance feature writer for The New York Times while a producer for MTV News. In 2000, he helped found the Guerrilla News Network, whose groundbreaking web shorts won numerous awards including the Sundance Online Film Festival. He produced GNN’s award-winning Showtime documentary about Iraq, BattleGround: 21 Days on the Empire’s Edge. He has taught documentary video at NYU, Mediabistro and to Palestinian journalists in the West Bank. He has appeared on numerous media outlets around the world, including the BBC, Sky News and NPR, and has been a guest host on Air America Radio. In addition, Lappé has spoken at numerous college campuses and institutions, including the Library of Congress and London’s Institute of Contemporary Art. He has written for Details, New York, Paper, Vice and Salon, among many others. He is the co-author of True Lies (Plume) and author of Shooting War (Grand Central), which was called “scary smart” by Rolling Stone and one of the top graphic novels of all time by Rough Guides. It has been republished in France, Spain, Italy and the UK, where it’s being developed into a TV mini-series. In 2009, he was the story producer for Brink, a weekly news magazine on the Science Channel produced by CBS News Productions.


Sarah Shames

Sarah is a freshman at Bennington College studying the intersection of public action, visual art, mediation, and French. A course on conflict resolution, with a focus on intractable conflicts, led her to look into the environmental and food crises which landed her at Small Planet. Sarah is looking forward to investigating her interests in food and sustainability and tying what she learns at Small planet with her studies. Sarah loves a good adventure and can be found exploring the streets of Boston, drawing or painting, and in a comfy chair with her Kindle and a mug of chai tea.

Jeff Meltzer

Jeff studies Environmental Policy and Anthropology at Colby College. There he is a student assistant for the Environmental Studies Program, which enabled him to meet Frankie and become an intern at Small Planet. For his "Jan Plan" he is working on Small Planet's social media and website. Jeff loves gardening and the outdoors and is interested in U.S. local and sustainable food production, distribution, and policies. He will follow his interests and use what he has learned at Small Planet and at Colby when he travels to Australia for a study abroad program this spring.

Jiwon Ma

Jiwon is a senior at Lesley University majoring in global studies, and minoring in psychology. Her academic interest centers on empowering women, eradicating world poverty and extreme hunger, developing quality education for youth, and the elimination of transnational organized crimes. Jiwon is a member of the Model United Nations team at Lesley, and the delegation will be representing Tunisia at the Harvard National Model UN Conference in February. She is a Community Advisor, commonly known as a Resident Assistant, at Lesley. During her free time, Jiwon loves to go on a venture in search of good foods in Boston, play the guitar, and spend time with her friends, and family.

Blake McGhghy

Blake is a freshman at Harvard where he studies the intersection of political science, sociology, and economics in order to understand public policy solutions for promoting sustainable, equitable development. Originally from Iowa, his interest in food politics was developed by his involvement in the World Food Prize's youth programs, through which he spent two months at the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation analyzing the effects of community based organizations on the purchasing and bargaining powers of Dalit women farmers in rural Tamil Nadu. Therefore, he is thrilled to be a part of the Small Planet team and to help contribute to the Institute's groundbreaking understanding of the root causes of hunger and poverty. During his free time, he can be found exploring Boston, watching movies, and organizing on campus.

Olivia Kefauver

Olivia graduated from Colby College in May 2012 with a degree in Environmental Studies, and a concentration in Environmental Policy. She has traded in her tractor for a computer this winter, having recently finished up a season of organic farming out in Weston, MA. Olivia plans to explore her interests in sustainable agriculture, food policy, and equitable food systems. Olivia is an avid photographer and baker, and is always looking for opportunities to go backpacking and canoeing.

Rachel Gilbert

Rachel graduated from Dickinson College in May 2012, where she majored in Environmental Studies. She recently returned from volunteering with an organic, fair trade coffee company in Cameroon, where she worked teaching high school students and women's groups about organic agriculture. Rachel recently moved to Boston and hopes to explore sustainable agriculture and food policy, with a particular interest in urban agriculture. Rachel loves to curl up with a good cup of tea and a good book, and enjoys exploring new foods and eateries around Boston.

Ashley Higgs

Ashley graduated from the University of Oklahoma this past May with a bachelor's degree in biology. She recently moved to Boston to begin studies in the Gastronomy program with an emphasis in food policy at Boston University. With her love for learning all things food, she is particularly interested in U.S. and global food systems and issues related to food access. She is therefore excited to have joined the Small Planet team and learn more about the roles non-profits play in our food system today. When not at Small Planet, Ashley can be found cooking, studying, or exploring her new home.

Kelly Toups

Kelly became a Registered and Licensed Dietitian after graduating with a nutrition degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, she is a graduate student in the Boston University Gastronomy program, concentrating in food policy. Kelly is interested in the role of nutrition and sustainability in the greater food system and is excited to be working for the Small Planet Institute. Kelly enjoys good books and warm bowls of oatmeal, and loves exploring her new east coast home. See Kelly's website


Trent Mutchler

Boston Business Printing, Boston, MA
Many thanks to Boston Business Printing for printing our fact sheet on organic agriculture!