Uli Koester - Executive Director & Educator
Uli taught for six years in the Minneapolis Public Schools before starting full-time work for Midwest Food Connection. Over his years with MFC, Uli has become widely recognized as a master educator and expert on children’s relationship to food. He loves baseball, his cello, and traveling. Uli shares his garden at home with his wife, two teen-aged children, and a host of rabbits.
Haruko Ruggiero - Curriculum Specialist
Haruko Ruggiero has been teaching students of all ages in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis – St. Paul) for over ten years. She has been a patron of natural foods co-ops from very early on and has learned a great deal of the “how to’s” of eating natural, less-processed foods from her elders. She enjoys helping kids learn to make informed decisions regarding their food choices; and delights in their enthusiasm for handling fresh foods. Some of Haruko’s favorite after-school activities include being with her young daughter, making tile mosaics, gardening, swimming, cooking, reading and writing.
Ginger Pearson - Educator
Ginger has been an educator for many years. She has worked in the public schools, in social services, has done birth and breastfeeding support and also taught cooking classes. She feels particularly blessed to be teaching young children the delights of natural foods with Midwest Food Connection and also enjoys playing tennis, painting in pastels, and being in the Northwoods with her sister, two (almost) grown children and her dog, a Goldendoodle.
Kristi Pursell - Educator
Kristi’s enthusiasm for her work stems from her background in environmental and garden education in Minnesota as well as in the Pacific Northwest. She is thrilled to join the Midwest Food Connection family, teaching children of all ages about healthful eating. When she’s not in the classroom you might find her in her garden, riding her bike, paddling a canoe, or cross-country skiing. Kristi has found home and community in Minneapolis where she lives with her husband and son.
What Teachers Say
The public schools need outstanding, developmentally-appropriate lessons provided by community partners, such as Minnesota Food Connection, to add spark to our curriculum and provide good role models, especially for beginning teachers.
- Teacher, Minneapolis, MN