Policy Committee

The SAFSF Policy Committee helps develop, execute and evaluate our policy programming, applies our policy filter tool to potential policy activities and engagements, and champions agriculture and food system policy conversations within the broader SAFSF membership and within philanthropic and impact investment communities. 

For information about serving on the Policy Committee, contact Senior Director, Public Policy Traci Bruckner.


The Policy Committee reviews and evaluates SAFSF’s policy engagement, makes recommendations to the board regarding longer-term policy strategy and provides guidance on the annual policy agenda and work plan, recommending modifications as needed. Committee members also champion policy conversations within the broader SAFSF membership.


The committee must include at least one director currently serving on the board.  The committee may be chaired by a member of the board or utilize a co-chair model; if the latter, at least one of the co-chairs must be currently serving on the board. Additional members of the committee are not required to be SAFSF members but must bring a strong interest in or expertise in policy to their service on the committee.

Meeting Schedule

The committee meets four (4) times annually; one of which may be an in-person meeting. Committee members are also expected to regularly attend SAFSF policy events and other external meetings with policymakers and/or external partners which may include webinars, in-person convenings and meetings, or policy-specific sessions at the annual SAFSF Forum, customarily held in June.

2023 Members

Rudy Espinoza
Inclusive Action for the City 

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RUDY ESPINOZA is the Executive Director of Inclusive Action for the City, a community development organization designing innovations to responsibly revitalize low-income, urban areas. He specializes in designing economic development initiatives in low-income communities, researching the informal economy, building private/nonprofit partnerships, and training the working poor to participate in the socio-economic revitalization of their neighborhoods.

At Inclusive Action, he leads their advocacy efforts in support of the working poor and their micro-finance programs that support micro-entrepreneurs. Under his leadership, Inclusive Action helped legalize street vending in Los Angeles, has deployed over $500,000 in low-interest micro-loans to under-served entrepreneurs, and co-created a unique commercial real estate initiative that preserves small businesses in gentrifying neighborhoods.

He serves as the President of the East Area Planning Commission for the City of Los Angeles as well as the Board Chair of the LA Food Policy Council. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Nonprofit Management and the Advisory Boards of the LA Development Fund and Investing in Place. Rudy holds degrees in Business Administration and Urban Planning.

Ila Duncan
The Lumpkin Family Foundation 

ILA DUNCAN has been an active member of the Lumpkin Family Foundation since she was a teen and has been on the board since 2016. Based in New York City, she is also a member leader in her local chapter of Resource Generation, organizing fellow young donors to support social justice movements.Outside of her philanthropic work, Ila is a writer and comic artist exploring the ways that stories and art can shape society, and putting her own spin on favorite pieces of media just for fun. She has a background in film production but has moved away from that work to make more space for organizing. With the Lumpkin Family Foundation she supports land, health and community related work in and around Mattoon, Illinois where the foundation is located. Her role as a next-gen board member brought her to Resource Generation, seeking community with other young people in philanthropy, but their mission of redistributing wealth to support movements for social justice resonated so deeply that she now spends the majority on her time on that work.

Ann Mills
Agua Fund

Ann Mills is Executive Director of the Agua Fund, a Washington DC-based foundation that supports work to protect the environment, boost civic engagement and help the disadvantaged and underserved. She previously served as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment from 2009 to January 20, 2017 where she had responsibility for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. She co-chaired of the federal National Drought Resilience Partnership and represented USDA on the Obama Administration’s ecosystem restoration initiatives including those in the Chesapeake Bay Basin, Great Lakes, Mississippi River Basin, and California Bay-Delta. She also served as Secretary Tom Vilsack’s designee to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council and the Natural Resources Damage Assessment Trustee Council for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Ann also has held senior positions at American Rivers, and served as chief of staff to Senator Tom Daschle, legislative assistant to then-Representative Richard Durbin and chief of staff to California Lt. Governor Leo McCarthy. She earned a BA in Political Science from Tufts University and a Master of Public Administration from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin.

Mark Muller
Regenerative Agriculture Foundation

MARK MULLER serves as the executive director at the Regenerative Agriculture Foundation. He came to RAF in March 2020 after spending over 20 years working on related issues including agricultural conservation, Midwest water quality, racial equity in the food system, and effective federal food and agricultural policy.

Mark served as director of the Mississippi River program at the McKnight Foundation, and prior to that he directed the Food & Community Fellows program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. He also spent two years teaching high school in New York City and 18 months volunteering in Honduras and Guatemala. He and his spouse and three children live in south Minneapolis.

Mark Nicholson
Fair Food Network

Mark joined the Fair Food Network after an extensive career in leading organizations involved in national agriculture policy and specialty crop production. He is a third-generation apple farmer and spent much of his professional life co-running a New York-based family business, including developing value-added products to increase revenue to the farm. His work advocating for the specialty crop industry over the past two decades earned him national recognition as a skilled and dedicated policy expert, including roles as the Chairman of the Board and member of the Government Affairs Committee for the U.S. Apple Association (USApple). Mark also spent time in his early career working in government at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and at USApple. Mark brings multiple perspectives to the agriculture policy world, and a strong passion and understanding for the myriad issues that face family farms today.

Mark is a graduate of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and leads Fair Food Network’s policy program in the Washington, DC office. When not trying to figure out win-win policy solutions for Fair Food Network, he will most likely be involved with family activities, often driving somewhere in the greater DC metropolitan area for kids’ activities.

A-dae Romero-Briones
First Nations Development Institute

A-DAE ROMERO-BRIONES (Cochiti/Kiowa) works as director of programs—Native Agriculture and Food Systems for First Nations Development Institute and manages the Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative at First Nations. She is formerly the director of community development for Pulama Lana’i. She is also the co-founder and former executive director of a nonprofit organization in Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico. Ms. Romero-Briones worked for the University of Arkansas’ Indigenous Food and Agricultural Intuitive while earning her LL.M. degree in food and agricultural law. Her thesis was on the Food Safety Modernization Act as it applied to the federal Tribal relationship. She wrote extensively about food safety, the produce safety rule and tribes, and the protection of Tribal traditional foods. A U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Ms. Romero-Briones received her bachelor of arts in public policy from Princeton University, received a law doctorate from Arizona State University’s College of Law, and earned a LL.M. in food and agricultural law from the University of Arkansas. She currently sits on several boards, including the Lana’i Elementary and High School Foundation. She was also recognized as a White House Champion of Change in Agriculture. She currently sits on the National Organic Standards Board.

Paul Wolfe
Walton Family Foundation 

PAUL WOLFE joined the Walton Family Foundation in June 2018 as a program officer on the Environment team where he will work closely with the Mississippi River group on supply chain initiatives and Farm Bill policy. Before joining the foundation, Paul worked for the National Sustainable Agriculture Campaign focusing on crops insurance, agricultural conservation and climate change. He’s also worked on sustainability and food issues in the U.S. Senate for Senator Maria Cantwell. Paul holds a J.D. from the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and a B.A. in political science from Gonzaga University.