Special Advisor, Operations and Strategy
At Urbane, Michael provides leadership in creating cohesiveness and strategic alignment across Urbane’s work, promoting synergies, facilitating integration across operating divisions and building a highly inclusive culture ensuring team members thrive and organizational outcomes are met.
In addition to his work with Urbane, Michael established and serves as Principal of Landing Lights Strategies, a consulting firm that focuses on two priority areas: strategic support for nonprofit governance, including program and staff development, financial management, and program design and implementation; and food system expertise for businesses and nonprofits engaged in food distribution, market creation, food access initiatives, and workforce development, with an emphasis on regional food systems and supply chains.
Michael has also consulted on numerous projects, including as part of the Urbane Collaborative to evaluate supply chains and healthy food access in Western Massachusetts, the development and marketing of a hydroponic farm in upstate NY, and establishing regional food infrastructure and resiliency in Vieques, Puerto Rico.
Previously, Michael served as the Director of GrowNYC’s Food Access and Agriculture Programs. His portfolio included the operations of nearly eighty retail sites throughout New York’s five boroughs, and GrowNYC Wholesale. Under Michael’s leadership, Greenmarket built the nation’s largest farmers market-based food access initiative. Michael was also integral in forming GrowNYC’s Wholesale distribution arm and was a member of the development team of the NYS Regional Food Hub, a 65,000 square foot facility currently under construction in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx.
Prior to joining GrowNYC, Michael co-founded Added Value & Herban Solutions, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Red Hook, Brooklyn that trains young adults to be the leaders of change in their communities by operating a socially responsible market-farming micro enterprise.
He graduated as a Public Service Scholar from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law and received his Master of Social Work, specializing in Children and Families and Macro Social Work Practice, from the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as a Food Policy Fellow at Hunter College, designing, and delivering a continuing education food policy curriculum for food system professionals, and is currently an Adjunct Professor teaching food policy to undergraduate and graduate students in the Departments of Nutrition and Urban Policy and Planning.
Michael was recognized in 2018 as a McSilver Institute Vanguard for Social Justice. He received a Union Square Award in 2006 and was awarded a Petra Fellowship in 2004. Michael has served on numerous boards and advisory committees and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Drive Change and Meals for Good.