About the Food Security Program

Our team is dedicated to bringing food to all of Wake County. Together staff, VISTAs and volunteers strive to make a difference in the community.

Expanded Food & Nutrition Educators

Through a community-based, relationship-driven, hands-on educational approach, Expanded Food and Nutrition has directly impacted economic, obesity, and food  insecurity challenges that hinder the nutritional health and wellbeing of this nation. EFNP Educators work with families, youth, and community organizations across Wake County to teach nutrition education, budgeting, cooking and kitchen safety skills!

Food Security Program Manager

The Food Security Program Manager works to increase awareness of food security work underway and form vital links between partners and programs within government and community agencies. The Food Security Program Manager also manages and works with the Wake Food Security AmeriCorps VISTA program.

Sydney Mierop,
Food Security Program Manager

2023/2024 AmeriCorps VISTAS

AmeriCorps VISTAs, or Volunteers in Service to America, build capacity in nonprofit organizations and communities to help bring individuals and communities out of poverty. Each VISTA serves one year under the following core principles: ending poverty, empowering communities, building capacity, and creating sustainable solutions.

The Wake County AmeriCorps VISTA Food Security Program battles root causes of food insecurity and increases food access within Wake County through collective impact and partnership development. During our 2023-24 grant year, the VISTA project will seek to increase access to healthy foods, build sustainability, and increase awareness of food system issues among decision makers, partners and beneficiaries and expects to benefit more than 35,000 individuals.

Our 10 full-time VISTA members and 20 Summer Associates will contribute to the goals of the project by performing activities such as:

  • Innovating and enhancing distribution to improve food access in targeted geographic regions;
  • Innovating and improving strategies to increase food access for targeted populations (residents with diverse cultural backgrounds including seniors, Latinx & Hispanic groups, refugee populations, individuals with disabilities, etc.);
  • Creating sustainable partnerships and funding streams to connect locally produced foods with emergency food programs;
  • Developing trainings and programs to help partners enhance economic strength in low-income regions; and
  • Building relationships among partners to develop collective impact programs over the course of three years.

The Wake County Cooperative Extension main office intends on serving as both a host site and intermediary sponsor within Wake County in order to build the capacity of our entire food security collective impact model. Currently, our VISTAs serve at seven different locations across Wake County:

2023-2024 AmeriCorps VISTA Contact Information





Robin Smith

VISTA Leader

Wake County Cooperative Extension


Dominique Crosby

Summer Food Service Program

Wake County Cooperative Extension


Nathalie Uriarte-Ayala

Food Access Specialist

Wake County Cooperative Extension


Micah Wagner

Communications Specialist

Wake County Cooperative Extension


Josephine Rainer Sollee

Food Security Operations Specialist

Urban Ministries of Wake County

Contact VISTA Leader

Morgan Biese

Community Health Educator

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle

Contact VISTA Leader

Lauren McLaughlin

Food Security Operations Specialist

Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian

Contact VISTA Leader

Emily Baird

Food Security Specialist

Wake Forest Community Table


Gordon Gibson

Agriculture Educator

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle

Contact VISTA Leader