The CEA Food Safety Coalition, which comprises top controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) suppliers, including those that use hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic methods, has named Marni Karlin its first executive director.
Karlin is an experienced public affairs expert with an extensive background in the food and agriculture industry. In her new position, she will work closely with coalition members, government agencies and industry experts to create leading food safety standards for the CEA leafy greens industry. Her role will also focus on growing the coalition’s membership, managing day-to-day operations, and guiding all communications and advocacy work.
Karlin was previously VP of government affairs and general counsel for the Organic Trade Association (OTA), in which capacity she represented the interests of the organic food, fiber and agriculture sector in Washington, D.C. During that time, she developed deep relationships with participants in the organic sector, created and implemented government affairs strategies, and worked with Congress and federal and state agencies to further those policy goals.
Before the OTA, Karlin was counsel to Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., on the Senate Judiciary Committee, advising the legislator through her engagement with coalitions of government, nonprofit, and for-profit stakeholders.
“The CEA Food Safety Coalition is working with the government, with academics and with industry leaders to strengthen what I believe are the most effective food safety standards in the leafy greens industry,” said Paul Lightfoot, chair of the CEA Food Safety Coalition, and president and founder of Irvington, N.Y.-based BrightFarms, which has been steadily growing its distribution of hydroponically grown baby greens. “Marni brings a demonstrated history of working with these stakeholders to advance positive change that improves the health of our food system. Her leadership will be invaluable as our industry grows.”
“I’m excited to lead the CEA Food Safety Coalition at this pivotal time,” noted Karlin. “As a growing sector, it’s critical that we build a community of engaged stakeholders to advocate and educate. This community can then work together with external stakeholders to create a healthier, more sustainable food system, in part through strengthening food safety standards to reflect the realities of our sector and to best protect consumer health. It’s an exciting opportunity for our sector and for the food system in general.”
CEA Food Safety Coalition board members are Lightfoot; Marc Oshima, co-founder and CMO, AeroFarms; Paul Sellew, CEO, Little Leaf Farms; Michele Kubista, food safety manager, Revol Greens; Chris Livingston, general counsel, Bowery; and Daniel Malech, general counsel, Plenty.