MEET OUR FRESH CENTRAL TEAM

Allison Tohme
318.441.3423
Allison is a Louisiana native, an avid exerciser, and an aunt, and she’s never met a vegetable she doesn’t like.  She joined CLEDA in 2017 as the region’s first Farmers Market Program Developer.  It is her role to strengthen farmers markets across Central Louisiana by helping market managers and vendors identify best practices, connect to resources, and implement programs.

With degrees in biology and public health (from Louisiana Tech University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, respectively), Allison has experience with a variety of obesity prevention projects.  She shines when working in communities to design programs, evaluate success, and build lasting partnerships.  Allison has been involved with the Central Louisiana Local Foods Initiative since inception in 2012, and after completing CLEDA’s Louisiana Food Fellows Program in 2015, she knew she wanted to be a local food leader!

Allison is personally and professionally committed to finding ways to eat better, move more, and support all things local.  She serves on the board of directors for the Big River Economic & Agricultural Development Alliance in Baton Rouge, LA, and in her spare time, you will find her making a mess in her kitchen, growing stronger at her Crossfit gym, or exploring the sensations of the great outdoors.
Bahia Nightengale
318.441.3408
Bahia Nightengale, is the Director of the Central Louisiana Local Foods Initiative at CLEDA, she works to strengthen Central Louisiana’s (ten Parish) rural economy with the development of resilient farm and ranch businesses that partake in community-based local food systems. Most recently Bahia was the Community Development Manager for the City of Temple, Texas. Originally from rural California, born in Yosemite National Park; she has lived and worked in more than a dozen states; working to implement resources with communities that meet the health, social, economic and environmental needs of all residents.

A former law enforcement officer, wildland firefighter, rock-climber and whitewater kayaker, at her heart, Bahia is a farmer. She and her husband lived in Iowa for several years, growing fruits and vegetables on their ten-acre farm; selling through a multi-farm CSA, wholesale to restaurants, and to support charitable donations to community food boxes for under-nourished families. Bahia currently resides with her husband Mark, and their two dogs in Alexandria, LA, growing a small garden and a compost pile.
John Cotton Dean
318.441.3424
I first became interested in local food while working as a city planner in rural eastern Oregon, where I first understood the connection between local food and vibrant communities. Soon after this realization, I moved onto a farm in the Santa Cruz mountains of California as an intern, where I learned more about farmers markets, animal husbandry, CSAs, and most importantly, the harsh realities of being a farmer.

Building on my love for community engagement, I challenged myself to connect farming with the values of community and regional planning. As are result, in 2008, I joined AmeriCorps as a food systems coordinator on the far northwest corner of costal Oregon. There I witnessed firsthand the challenges of connecting buyers with farmers. After earning Master’s degrees in both Sustainable Agriculture and Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University, I moved to Alexandria to help lead the Central Louisiana Local Foods Initiative as CLEDA’s first Regional Food Systems Planner. Since then, I have become the Director of CLEDA’s Rural Prosperity Initiative, where I lead efforts to re-engage the vibrant rural communities of central Louisiana. When not working, I love to travel, paddle, backpack and plan my next big trip.