Our Staff

  Dr. Barbara Eiswerth - Director & Founder, CEO

  Dr. Barbara Eiswerth moved to Tucson in 1992 to work as a research geologist specializing in GeoSpatial Information    Technologies with the US Geological Survey. After ten years working extensively with technology transfer in Latin      America, she pursued a career as an environmental scientist working at the Office of Arid Lands, Arizona Remote  Sensing Center with projects in East and West Africa.
 After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, Eiswerth founded a community-based organization that  empowers United Nations refugees from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East by creating opportunities to use their  knowledge and skills from their countries of origin. The network, made up of refugees and volunteers, is called  Iskashitaa Refugee Network, which means "working cooperatively together". The program has evolved from a few  thousand pounds of fruit harvested to an all time largest annual harvest of over 100,000 pounds annually of fruit, nuts,  and vegetables from backyards and local farms and orchards with a cumulative one million servings of local produce.  In addition, Iskashitaa has integrated projects including producing and marketing refugee culinary goods and sustainable crafts. During Isakshitaa project activities, residents of Tucson are educated about the refugee community as well as the local food system and food waste.
A sampling of the recognitions Eiswerth has received include being a National Finalist in Community for Sustainable Food, the Baha’i “Vision in Action Award”, National Garden Crusader Award for Feeding the Hungry, the Church Women United's Human Rights Award, The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona's Meyer and Libby Marmis Humanitarian Award, and Interfaith Community Services' Silver Spoon Award. Iskashitaa’s work was recognized by the White House through the Community Based Initiative for one of the winning videos in “Portraits of Compassion”. In 2011, Eiswerth, one of six recognized each year, was awarded the distinguished Hon Kachina Volunteer Award in the State of Arizona for community volunteer efforts that make a difference and for encouraging others to volunteer.

 Emily Oshinskie - Volunteer Coordinator 

 Emily headed west to Tucson from her Connecticut hometown. After graduating from Elmira College in Elmira, NY with her degree in  Adolescent Education and English Literature, Emily wanted to explore the possibilities besides classroom teaching. Emily is serving as  the Volunteer Coordinator at Iskashitaa Refugee Network as her year of service as a Young Adult Volunteer with the Presbyterian  Church (U.S.A.). As a lover of culture, food and diversity, Emily is thrilled to be a part of a community here in Tucson! 

 Stephanie Plotas - Food Justice Coordinator

 Stephanie Plotas is from Battle Creek, Michigan. In May 2013, she graduated from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan with a  Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Arts and Humanities. Within her major, Stephanie focused on the areas of language and religion.  For the next two years she will work with Iskashitaa as a US-2 missionary of the United Methodist Church. The US-2 program is a two year faith-  based social justice program for young adults. At Iskashitaa, she will be working as Food Justice Coordinator as well as liaison between  Iskashitaa and faith-based organizations in the Tucson area. Stephanie is excited to experience the Southwest United States and to learn  about the cultures and backgrounds of the many people she will meet.

Chloe Sovinee-Dyroff - Harvesting and Farmer’s Market Coordinator

Chloe moved to Tucson from Boston to work with Iskashitaa. She graduated from Connecticut College in the Spring 2014 with a degree in Anthropology, focusing on issues of food, migration and nutrition. She is currently working with Iskashitaa as an AmeriCorps VISTA member and the harvest coordinator. Chloe was fascinated to learn about all the edible plants in Tucson when she first arrived and is particularly excited about the exchange of knowledge about food preparation, preservation and cross-cultural cooking at Iskashitaa.

Our Board

Joan Hall - Chair

Allison Davis - Vice Chair

Dr. Anne Padias - Secretary

Alaa Al Ani - Member

Fabien Chindandali - Member

Robbie Dick - Member

Merrill Eisenberg - Member

Bereket Mehari - Member


Jo Anderson - Harvest Support

Marcela Ball - Family Mentor 

Marie Bampamulolwa - Cooking Demonstrator

Roy DeBise - Food Workshops

Joanne Finch - Harvest Support

Sarah Griffiths - Family Mentor 

Faeza Hililian - Cooking Demonstrator

Eric Hubbell - Harvest Support

Ken and Barbara Newman - Food Redistribution

Jane Ruggill - Family Mentor

Dayla Sarkees - Speaker's Bureau

Paula Schlusberg - Crafting Support

Natanya Siegel - Farmer's Market Support

Carol Tierney - Family Mentor

Sue Troutman - Photographer

Cadie McCarthy - Harvest Support, Culinary Adviser 


Gina Gresham - Public Relations and Social Media Assistance

Ty Trainer - U of A Campus Citrus Education and Harvesting, Linking Edible Arizona Forests