Our Team

Erin Sullivan White  Principal, Founder  email: white@communityfoodlab.org

Erin Sullivan White

Principal, Founder

email: white@communityfoodlab.org

A native of North Carolina, Erin White is a designer, entrepreneur, and teacher working for healthy food systems. Characteristic of his collaborative nature and his belief that diverse ideas lead to resilient solutions, Erin built this creative practice as a hybrid model in the intersection between design, consulting, and social entrepreneurship to allow free exploration into what it means to design for the human-centered territory of food systems. 

He has degrees from North Carolina State University and Bowdoin College, five years experience as a chef and line cook, one summer’s work as an on-site farm manager, two years work as a statistician with the NC Central Cancer Registry, three years experience as a framing carpenter, four and a half years of architectural practice with Boston's utile Architecture and Planning and Frank Harmon Architect of Raleigh NC, and extensive travels throughout the US and abroad. 

He is a founding member and interim Chair of the Capital Area Food Network, and a former board member of Advocates for Health in Action. 


Zulean Cruz- Diaz  Project Associate  email: zulean@communityfoodlab.org

Zulean Cruz- Diaz

Project Associate

email: zulean@communityfoodlab.org

Zulean’s background has been catered around community impact, programing, and a business twist. This Texan received her Management Engineering degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts and has experience in national and international projects. Her food justice and food system interests sparked while interning at a small nonprofit, Ka Honua Momona, on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. While living on a farm, Zulean learned and understood the magic and impact food has on individuals and communities. Food, is one of the most vital aspects to life. It unites cultures, it inspires creativity, it impacts how a child develops. Zulean is excited to get her hands deep in food system projects in Raleigh, and help Community Food Lab continue its mission.

At Community Food Lab, Zulean is using her business knowledge to balance project support roles along with marketing and administrative responsibilities. In her free time, she loves traveling and eating (not quite a foody though). On weekends you may find her catching up on her latest Spanish telenovela, cross-country road tripping, or tending to her plants while listening to podcasts.


Angel Cruz  Food System Designer  email: angel.cruz08@gmail.com

Angel Cruz

Food System Designer

email: angel.cruz08@gmail.com

Emily Sloss  Food System Designer  email: emilysloss@gmail.com

Emily Sloss

Food System Designer

email: emilysloss@gmail.com

Emily Edmonds  Food System Advisor  email: emilymedmonds@gmail.com

Emily Edmonds

Food System Advisor

email: emilymedmonds@gmail.com

Emma Blondin  Food System Designer  email: ekblondi@live.unc.edu

Emma Blondin

Food System Designer

email: ekblondi@live.unc.edu

Angel Cruz has more than 10 years of knowledge and experience in food systems work, both locally and internationally with non-profits, small businesses, universities and the US government. She received her Ph.D. in Agroecology from North Carolina State University. For her Ph.D. research, funded by a Fulbright and USAID, she used participatory action research (PAR) methods to work with smallholder farming communities in rural El Salvador. Her work was turned into a regional extension model for soil and water conservation work with smallholder farmers. Angel believes agroecology is a way of redesigning food systems, from the farm to the table, with the goal of a more ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable system.

Growing up in rural Western NC, surrounded by tobacco and Christmas tree farms, Angel has roots in agriculture from a young age. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, biking, and backpacking in the mountains.

Emily Sloss is passionate about community-based design as a tool for social justice to create more equitable urban and rural spaces. Her expertise is in food and agricultural systems, cartography and data visualization. Emily earned a master's degree in Urban Design from Parsons School of Design/The New School and holds a bachelors degree in Public Policy from Duke University. Her previous roles have included founder and manager of the Duke Campus Farm, community organizer for an urban ag land trust, and food systems funder. 

Emily has a small farm in Hillsborough and loves spending time in her garden and bringing people together over good food. 

Emily Edmonds has worked in economic development, government, and agricultural business for over 15 years in North Carolina and across the East Coast. A native of Western NC, she received her Masters of Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill with a thesis on rural economic development and has focused her career on working with nonprofits, local governments, and universities to accelerate, evaluate, and strengthen economic programs in rural places. With a background that includes project management, land conservation, grant administration, community outreach and research & analysis, she focuses on innovative programs that help leverage funding & resources to do the work that most needs doing in the places that need it and often can’t afford it. Emily lives in WNC with her daughter and enjoys traveling, writing, reading, and live music.

Online portfolio: emilyedmonds.pb.online

Emma Blondin is a Food System Designer with a passion for public spaces—where residents have a chance to co-create the city. She is interested in the intersection of planning, design, and community development. She believes in sustainable food systems as a multifaceted approach to community and economic development. Emma has previous experience planning for both regional government and private sector firms, where she was involved in the creation of both affordable housing and active transportation plans.  

Emma is currently getting her Masters in City and Regional Planning at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has a background in Design from North Carolina State University. In her free time, she enjoys learning about planning and design history and admiring beautiful maps. Born and raised in Raleigh NC, Emma also loves giving people tours of the city and being involved in local planning processes.