Maya Atlas

Project Manager


Maya has spent her career working at the intersection of local food production, business development, and community engagement. After receiving her degree at Barnard College, she began her career at Union Kitchen, one of the nations first for-profit food incubators. At Union Kitchen, Maya helped open a 50,000 square-foot production facility, grew membership, and built the systems used to train kitchen operators, launch businesses, and scale products in a large metropolitan market. You can find some of the businesses she worked with at Whole Foods nationwide and large regional grocers!

Most recently, Maya was the Program Director for the Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. As the Program Director, Maya led feasibility studies and wrote business plans for enterprises across different industries and large event series. She worked with professors to implement academic and extracurricular programs, managed the agritourism event center, and led the student-run hydroponic farm on campus, tailoring the crops and programs to the educational goals of the students.

Maya lives in Southern Maine and enjoys long coastal bike rides and growing a garden many sizes too big for her family so she can share with the neighborhood. She serves on two city council advisory boards to support her town’s transit system and encourage land conservation.

 Whatcom County Food System Plan

In 2021, the Whatcom County Food System Committee conducted a community food assessment that pointed to key opportunities to build a more robust and resilient regional food system. New Venture Advisors partnered with Whatcom County staff and the Food System Committee to draft a Whatcom County Food System Plan that builds upon these findings. This Plan focuses on five key goals for building a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient food system, and was informed by an inclusive community engagement process. The Food System Plan will provide the county with a policy roadmap that will strengthen the local food system for years to come. (2023)

 Whatcom Local Food Campus

The Whatcom Community Foundation invests in activities and organizations that improve the ability of people to help themselves, increase connections among people, and take cooperative approaches to community issues. WCF is exploring the development of a local food campus on a waterfront property that would become a multi-tenant site, anchored by a collaborative production kitchen benefitting food access, school system, and community organizations. The goal is strengthening Whatcom County’s local food system by promoting health equity, forging tangible strategic connections between food production organizations, and helping farmers connect with institutional markets. The facility will also feature an incubation kitchen, demonstration kitchen, event and classroom space, collaborative office and conference facilities, and housing.  New Venture Advisors developed the business case for this ambitious project and continues to support its development through engagement and operational development. (2023)