Fellow Profile

Fellow

Maureen Best

Maureen Best

Focus Areas: Obesity & The Food System

Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP)

Roanoke, VA

Fellow

Maureen Best

Maureen is the Director of Strategic Planning for the Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP). She transitioned LEAP from a volunteer-run organization with two farmers markets to a regional organization that now also operates a mobile market, an aggregated community supported agriculture program, robust nutrition incentive programs, a shared commercial kitchen, and community gardens. Maureen is also a co-Lead for Virginia Fresh Match and the lead researcher on a federal grant that supports the development of Virginia Fresh Match, a statewide network of farmers markets and neighborhood grocery stores that provide nutrition incentives and increase affordable access to fresh produce.

As a nonprofit based in Roanoke City, Virginia, LEAP works with the broader community to fulfill its mission of nurturing healthy communities and resilient local food systems. LEAP programs create economic opportunities for farmers and food-based businesses (urban and rural), increase affordable and equitable access to local and healthful food, and strengthen the people-to-people ties in communities via food. LEAP was founded to increase local food access in Roanoke and to help small-scale farmers within a 100-mile radius of Roanoke have reliable market access to sell their local produce, meat, dairy, and value-added products.