MEET THE TEAM

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GAYLE WOODSUM

Founder and Director

I am an award-winning writer and speaker with international experience in community organizing for social change since the early 1980s.  I am president and chief executive officer for Action Resources International (ARI), a Wyoming based nonprofit organization dedicated to ending violence and promoting safety through a variety of community-strengthening efforts that are community-based, designed, and led. In 2009, I launched the Feeding Laramie Valley project through ARI, in an effort to expand resources and create equitable collaborations among various community food, health, and social justice programs. 

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LINA DUNNING

Community Engagement Director

I serve as the statewide AmeriCorps VISTA coordinator for Action Resources International, in addition to managing several FLV programs and documenting the area’s food history and future through interviews and videos. I grew up in a small town on the coast of Maine. After graduating from the University of Maine with a master’s degree in Community Development I worked as a community educator with the Cooperative Extension Service. My experiences there led me to focus on the urgent issues facing women and children including family planning and sexual violence. Now living in Wyoming, surrounded by mountains instead of the ocean, I am working as a community-based social change activist to understand the role that food insecurity plays in keeping women trapped in abusive relationships and how to make healthy, fresh food available to those in need.

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SANDY MOODY

Program Support Services Coordinator

I was born and raised in Laramie and have raised my three children here as well. I attended the University of Wyoming and completed a certificate program at Laramie County Community College. Having worked many years at UW and for the Albany County school district I landed at Feeding Laramie Valley. Working part-time cleaning the old Ft. Sanders building at LaBonte Park, I also took on several temporary jobs from watering gardens to assisting with the inaugural years of FLV’s free summer lunch program and the Higher Ground Fair. Now full-time at Feeding Laramie Valley, I am the coordinator of  Kids Out to Lunch and logistics coordinator for the annual Higher Ground Fair.

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EMBER AYALA

Mobile Market and Volunteer Coordinator

Hi, my name is Ember Ayala and I am originally from Victoria, Texas. After school, I traveled for a bit and worked across California focusing on environmental conservation with the Bureau of Land Management. I moved to Laramie, Wyoming in August of 2018 to serve as a full-year AmeriCorps VISTA member with Feeding Laramie Valley. After adjusting to the colder weather I quickly fell in love with the beautiful area and the amazingly inviting community of Laramie. I decided to stay after my year term to continue to work with the community in every way that I can. Outside of work I like to try new things, read, play board games, and be outside with my dog Rocket who you can find at the office during the winter!

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SARAH GRAY

Food Production Coordinator

Originally rooted in the New York Finger Lakes region, I have lived across the U.S and Asia and am beyond humbled to be settling in Laramie. I recently graduated from Chatham University with a B.A in Sustainability and Food Studies. Over the years I have held positions in regenerative farming, agricultural research and community organizing, where I have my found a passion in using farming, food, and culture to go beyond breaking bread. I am excited to continue the mission of creating a more resilient food system with FLV learning more about Laramie community. In my free time I am usually hands deep in the soil, mountain biking, reading novels, food writing or making ferments! 

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FRANKIE THORNE

Shares Program Assistant

Hi! I am a Wyoming native, born in Casper. I moved to Laramie in the summer of 2014. I am a summer shares associate. In my free time I enjoy making music and especially playing my cello. 

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MEARA HILL

Full Year AmeriCorps VISTA

Originally from Virginia, I've lived all over the country including Texas, Oklahoma, and now Wyoming. I'm a librarian by trade and I've spent nearly a decade working and volunteering with libraries across the southern plains creating spaces of learning and free access to information to the public in the communities I’ve served. The experience I gained during that time, combined with my experience living in and serving a cooperative housing community have instilled a firm belief that communities thrive when collaboration, diversity, and local action are celebrated. Now I'm so excited to be working at FLV to advocate for food access and education!

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ALLEN GONZALES

Full Year AmeriCorps VISTA Leader

I am a native of Southern California, born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley, and earned my Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Cal State Long Beach in 2018. Following graduation, I served in the Peace Corps as a TEFL Volunteer in the town of Sokal, Ukraine. I co-taught English, hosted English Clubs, both in schools and in my town’s library, and led public speaking clubs from 2018 until the agency wide evacuation in 2020. I’m excited to be serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Feeding Laramie Valley. As someone who benefited from school lunch ticket programs in elementary school, receiving nutritious food is of the utmost importance. I am also excited to learn more about Laramie and the community and devote a year to being a part of the solution to food insecurity in America. In my free time, I love watching older movies from the 60’s to the 90’s, cooking, collecting records, playing board games, hiking, and traveling to new places in Wyoming.

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CRAIG UPLINGER

Full Year AmeriCorps VISTA

Originally an Aviation Student at The Ohio State University from NJ, I've always had a longing to fully understand the political, social, and economic realities of our world. As time went on, my interest in material needs, community organization, and policy deepened. The country was actively debating how to address a range of important issues, and I found myself shying away from Flight in favor of joining the conversation. As a direct result of the ever-changing political landscape, I began looking for a new path in life that would give me the experience I need to help battle larger issues like Climate Change and Poverty. Fortunately, AmeriCorps had those opportunities. I was lucky enough to spend the summer with the Wyoming Conservation Corps, assisting the BLM, National Park Rangers, and The Pilot Hill Project. Now through AmeriCorps VISTA, I'm grateful to be learning from and working with Feeding Laramie Valley in the fight against Poverty and Food insecurity.