photo credit: Angela Cardinali

Team

BAV’s board of directors, advisory committee and staff team include a number of local community and regional innovators, as well as leaders and entrepreneurs who are making significant contributions to the local economy. Together, these individuals are strengthening organizations, institutions, businesses and other community assets throughout the region. We appreciate the time, support and dedication that our board of directors and advisory board members give to our organization.

Board of Directors

Tom Gardner, Board President

  • Founder, New England Heritage Breeds Conservancy
  • Principal Owner, Gardner Pie Company, Ohio
  • Manages a small farm where he raises Clun Forest sheep and Golden Guernsey goats, Italian Maremma guard dogs and Australian Shepherds.
  • Resides in Richmond, MA

Joel Millonzi, Board Vice President

  • Co-Founder, Berkshire Agricultural Ventures
  • Board Member, Berkshire Grown
  • Former Advisory Board Member, The Carrot Project
  • Supporter, Berkshire Natural Resources Council
  • Former Professor of Economics, CUNY; Head, Global Financial Service, TMP/Monster.com; Partner, Financial Service Practice, Heidrick and Struggles
  • BA, Boston College; MA and EdD, Columbia University
  • Resides in Great Barrington, MA and Naples, FL

Neil Chrisman, Board Treasurer

  • Co-Founder, Berkshire Agricultural Ventures
  • Board Member and former Chair, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
  • Board Member, Berkshire Grown
  • Former Advisory Board Member, The Carrot Project
  • Former Board Member and Chair, Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Supporter, Sheffield Land Trust, Berkshire Natural Resources Council
  • Former Managing Director, JP Morgan
  • BA, Princeton University; MBA, New York University, STERN School of Business
  • Resides in Sheffield, MA and New York City, NY

Advisory Committee

BAVs Advisory Committee will include regional innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs who are making significant contributions to the local food economy. Details to come.

Staff

Cynthia Pansing, Executive Director

From her first taste of foraged berries and dandelion greens as a child to her acquaintance with cattle herders in Europe and West Africa, locally harvested and produced food and the way it connects people to each other and to the land is a longstanding passion for Cynthia Pansing.

Cynthia brings more than 20 years of experience providing leadership and strategic direction to nonprofit and public organizations working on food systems and sustainable agriculture in Massachusetts and communities across the U.S. She has engaged farmers, food businesses and associations, foundations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and universities to forge sustainable agricultural strategies and enterprises. A special area of interest is harnessing community assets to finance and stimulate sustainable enterprise development that forge more resilient communities.

Prior to joining Berkshire Agricultural Ventures, Cynthia served for more than a decade as principal and later CEO of Changing Tastes, a national food and sustainable agriculture consulting firm. As CEO, she advised clients including foundations such as the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, nonprofits and food and agricultural businesses.

Among these clients was a partnership of five North American cities – San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis and Vancouver – under the aegis of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Surdna and Summit Foundations. Through this partnership, Cynthia led the creation of A Roadmap for City Food Sector Innovation and Investment, a nationally recognized report that offers new tools to guide city planning and economic development around food and agriculture.

Cynthia holds BA and MA degrees in Anthropology, and an MA in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of California at Los Angeles. She is a Fellow with Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability and the International Sustainability Leaders Network. As a volunteer at her daughter’s school, she created a now operational community teaching garden with teachers, parents and staff at the school. Cynthia lives with her family in West Stockbridge, MA.

BAV is currently supported by a small but growing team who provide targeted assistance to us and to farmers and food entrepreneurs. We’re a growing organization. If you are interested in working with BAV, please contact us at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Consultants

Bryan Petrucci, Program and Technical Assistance

Bryan Petrucci is an agricultural consultant based in Southfield, MA. With special expertise in sustainable farming systems, natural and grass-based livestock management, livestock slaughter and processing operations and business planning, Bryan has farmer, landowner, nonprofit and corporate clients throughout the northeastern U.S.

As director of the American Farmland Trust’s (AFT) Farms Division, Bryan was responsible for the management of AFT demonstration and research farms. Other positions at AFT included serving as director of resource conservation and sustainable agriculture programs and Midwest operations.

Bryan began his career working as resource conservationist for the McHenry County Soil and Water Conservation District in Woodstock, IL. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Allison Marchese, Communications and Fundraising

Allison Marchese is a marketing, communications and fundraising consultant with more than 30 years of experience. A graduate of Fordham University with a degree in communications and creative writing, Allison worked as director and then vice president of public relations for Edward J. Safdie in New York City; later corporate director of public relations for Canyon Ranch Health and Fitness Resorts in Tucson, AZ and Lenox, MA; director of communications with Kripalu; and marketing and fundraising director for the Austen Riggs Center. She also has been employed as director of development by both Triform Camphill Community in Hudson, NY, and The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society in Austerlitz, NY.

Her communications work has included story placement in a wide range of media and writing press materials, brochures, freelance articles, ad copy, company biographies and policies, news alerts and speeches, as well as writing and directing promotional videos. She has placed stories with television reporters, national and international journalists and producers, and print press editors at major publications such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time and Newsweek.

As a consultant, Allison’s clients have included The Old Chatham Sheepherding Company & Inn, The Shaker Museum & Library, Silver Hill Hospital, Gilda’s Club, Sundog Solar, the Berkshire Botanical Garden, Serenity Hill Equestrian Center, Love Apple Farm, the Mahaiwe Theater and others.

Recently, Allison has authored two books, The Hidden History of Columbia County, New York (Arcadia/History Press, 2014) and the forthcoming Hudson Valley Curiosities (Arcadia/History Press, 2017). An avid equestrian and horse lover, Allison began an all-volunteer educational nonprofit, The Equine Fund, devoted to raising awareness to protect horses and offering educational programs and scholarships to equine veterinary students.