Allison Tohme
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, coaching at her Crossfit gym, or exploring the sensations of the great outdoors.
Bahia Nightengale
Bahia Nightengale is the Director of the Local Food Initiatives at CLEDA, she works to strengthen Central Louisiana’s (ten Parish) rural economy with the development of resilient farm and ranch businesses. Originally from rural California, Bahia was born in Yosemite National Park and after living and working in more than a dozen states she loves calling central Louisiana her home. Bahia has owned and operated her own farm, several small businesses, and enjoys coaching fellow entrepreneurs. She has more than twenty years of experience as a community organizer and in community development programs that address, environmental equity, fair wages, access to housing, health care, and more. Bahia believes in the restorative power of good food and the wisdom of always building a bigger table. 

John Cotton Dean
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.
Audrey Kolde
Audrey Kolde is the Alexandria Farmers Market Manager, where her role is to organize the Tuesday market and help connect community and local farmers, ranchers, and artisans.
Raised in Louisiana, Audrey graduated from Louisiana Tech with an Environmental Science degree and a passion for soil and plants, where a teacher shared the wisdom that when science excites you and community excites you, working with food is the natural next step. Since then, Audrey has lived in West Virginia managing livestock and gardens while hosting high school and college volunteers teaching sustainability, service, and community. She has served on a board-run food hub that managed a community garden, school garden, co-op grocery store, and a farmer’s market. Then, she worked in agriculture education in Alabama, allowing kids to experience and question the food system they participate in and influence.
Food is one of the connectors of nature, science, and communities. Getting to listen and work in that system is such an honor and joy.