WorldFMC Headquarters

Richard McCarthy (he/him), President

Richard is a community development specialist, writer and speaker, who sees food as a pivotal organising tool. In 1995, he founded the New Orleans-based Market Umbrella and its flagship Crescent City Farmers Market, where he played a pivotal role in rebuilding the regional food system after the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster. Past President and co-founder of the US Farmers Market Coalition, he played a pivotal role in the piloting and expanding the use of nutrition incentive programs in farmers markets. For six-years, he directed Slow Food USA from New York City. In 2022, his first book, Kuni: A Japanese Vision and Practice for Urban-Rural Reconnection, was published by North Atlantic Books (co-written with Tsuyoshi Sekihara).. He now serves on the board of Slow Food International. Since 2021, he has served in the role as Provisional President for the World Farmers Markets Coalition. Born in Europe, raised in New Orleans, educated in the United Kingdom and the London School of Economics, Richard lives with his family in New York. 

Carmelo Troccoli (he/him), Director General

Carmelo began his work experience in Coldiretti in 2002 as its Policy Advisor on issues related to intellectual property, international agreements and innovation in agriculture to  community institutions in Brussels. Beginning in 2009, he began his nine year tenure as the National Secretary of Coldiretti Giovani Impresa (or Coldiretti Youth), for which he organised “Oscar Green”, the main competition on innovation in the primary sector. In 2016 he became Director of the Campagna Amica Foundation. It manages and promotes the world’s largest farmers market network of farmers’ direct sales operating under one umbrella (with more than 1,200 farmers markets throughout Italy). He has grown Campagna Amica to play pivotal roles in leveraging farmers markets to restart local food systems. These include the development of the World Farmers Markets Coalition, food education in schools, the strengthening of the Network of Social Agricultural companies, and work to defend and safeguard biodiversity. Of particular interest, due to Campagna Amica’s defence of biodiversity, Carmelo launched the “Campagna-Friendly Seals.” Built around the endangered products recovered by Campagna Amica market farmers, the Seals were created to raise consumer awareness about the importance of conserving the unique heritage of the world’s food diversity and how their actions can defend it. After two years of research and action, more than 600 agricultural products have already been included in the list of Campagna Amica’s Seals.

Board of Directors

Tran Thi Kieu Thanh Ha (Vietnam), Vice President & Board Representative for East Asia and Oceania

Ha, as she is known, is the Manager of the Livable Cities Program for the HealthBridge Foundation of Canada in Vietnam. Taking overall responsibility for the program planning and implementation since its launch in 2006, she has provided leadership to her team to promote physical activity environments, healthy food environments, park development, land-use planning and health, and active transportation in Vietnamese cities. In 2012-2013, Ha successfully led a campaign to dissuade the municipal government of Hanoi from replacing wet markets with supermarkets. This single intervention has since led to collaboration with local and international partners to preserve local food markets throughout Vietnam, thus helping to shape national policies for street markets and other informal markets in Hanoi and other Vietnamese cities. Before managing the Livable Cities Program, Ha served as Media and Advocacy Officer for HealthBridge. She studied politics.

Dr. Thiago Gomide Nasser (Brazil), Board Representative for the Americas

Thiago Gomide Nasser is co-founder and CEO for Junta Local, a community of local producers based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Founded in 2014, Junta Local runs street markets and holds events focusing on the promotion of good, local food. It also runs an online platform that facilitates more than 150 producers to sell directly to consumers. Thiago is also the editor and publisher of Revista Feira, an independent food magazine. He holds a PhD from the Institute of Social and Political Studies from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (IESP-UERJ), where he researched food and politics. His dissertation, titled “Food and Power: The Place of Politics in Gastronomic Discourse” focused on the role of chefs in the shaping of food discourse in Brazil”. He is the author of several articles in Portuguese and of the chapter “Tropical Brooklyn” in the book, Global Brooklyn: Designing Food Experiences in World Cities (Fabio Parasecoli, 2021). As a researcher and activist he is a member of the Organic Production Commission of the State of Rio.

Naima Akter (Bangladesh), Board Representative for Asia

Naima Akter is the Project Manager for the Livable Cities Program at the Working for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust, a role she has held since 2015. She has led extraordinary efforts to establish and manage sixteen new farmers markets in Dhaka North, Narayanganj and Gazipur city corporations in the mega-city, Dhaka. She collaborates closely with farmers, government officials, and community leaders on the ground. Internationally, Naima works closely with the Canada’s HealthBridge Foundation to promote local markets, placemaking, and pedestrian rights. Naima has extensive experience in policy review and program management. She regularly presents at related topical conferences.

Jean Charles Khairallah (Lebanon), Board Representative for Mediterranean and North Africa

After spending twenty-three years in the retail sector in France, China and the Gulf countries, and five years in the food industry, Jean Charles decided to put his skills to the service of his country of origin: Lebanon. Social entrepreneur, rabbit breeder and farmer, he opened a delicatessen in Achrafieh (Beirut) specialising in cheese, spices, and wines imported mainly from France. With his roots in his country’s soil, he launched an agricultural project called Terres Gourmandes in 2020. The project is based in his family’s home village of Jrane, on the heights of Batroun, where 3000 square meters are planted with tomatoes, cabbages, carrots, aromatic herbs, fruit trees and olive trees, cultivated in permaculture. A rabbit farm also thrives there. The meat is served in restaurants of the nation’s capital. He is an active vendor and member of the Organizing Committee for the Badaro Farmers Market.

Randi Ledaal Gjertsen (Norway), Board Representative for Europe

Randi is the CEO for Farmers Market Norway (or Bondens Marked Norge), a position she has held since 2015. She received her Masters degree from the University of Oslo, in development geography. Prior to Bondens marked, Randi worked for several organisations related to agriculture, food security, and rural development. In 2021, she played a leading role in formalising the World Farmers Markets Coalition, serving on its incorporating Board of Directors. She is married and mother to two children.

Dr. Selorm Akaba (Ghana), Board Representative for Sub-Saharan Africa

Selorm is an Agricultural Economist and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Ghana. He is the Deputy Coordinator for Students Farms Project at the School of Agriculture, UCC. He recently won the overall Best Evolving Researcher at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. He is the Co-PI to Bayer Food Wings Project that is focused on developing a business model in the use of Agricultural Drones and other digital platforms for transforming rural agri-food systems through servitization, bankability, land consolidation and regenerative agriculture. He is a member of prestigious academic and professional bodies, including the Central Regional Apex Farmers Association (CRAFA), Ghana Association of Agricultural Economists (GAAE), Africa Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), Interdisciplinary Food System Teaching and Learning (IFSTAL), and World Farmers Markets Coalition. He is the founder and coordinator for the Ghana Farmers Market Network, where he is leading efforts to establish farmers markets in Ghana and West Africa. In 2021, through the World Farmers Market Coalition, he was a Guest Lecturer at the Laboratory of Rural Studies ‘Sismondi’ in the International Master in Rural Development (IMRD)/Atlantis, an Erasmus Mundus joint Master programme organised by Slovak Agricultural University in Nitra (Slovakia), University of Pisa (Italy), University of Ghent (Belgium) and University of Pretoria (South Africa).

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