Executive Director, Cortney Renton
Cortney Renton is a seasoned food systems leader with experience driving change from farm to shelf. She is rooted in 15 years of multidisciplinary experience in research, sustainability, strategy, and fundraising roles across diverse social impact organizations.
Most recently, Cortney served as the Executive Director of CitySeed, a nonprofit based in New Haven, CT building an equitable local food system through community and economic development. During her tenure, the organization grew tremendously, expanding its budget by 120%, doubling staff, developing the first DEI Action Plan, launching a visual re-brand, and extending programmatic reach to generate $1.5M in economic impact for local farmers and food entrepreneurs.
Cortney is a proud Midwesterner. She was born and raised in Minnesota and built her career in Chicago. Previously, she led national programs focused on rural hunger relief by building strategic relationships with donors, partners and farmers at Feeding America, one of the largest nonprofits in the country. Cortney has also held research, fundraising, and sustainability roles with The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, The Greater Chicago Food Depository, and Sir Kensington’s. She has been an independent researcher and consultant for many nonprofits, think tanks, and start-ups, tackling complex issues including food insecurity, climate change, food system biodiversity, and international agricultural development. Her interest in food systems began with an apprenticeship on a family farm where she trained in organic farming practices from seed to harvest.
Cortney received her B.A. from Colgate University in Peace and Conflict Studies, focused on international social justice. She earned her Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of the Environment where she co-founded the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative, culminating in a series of articles on regenerative agriculture markets in the US.
Cortney has served on a variety of committees and boards to advance regional food system and climate solutions, including: ClimateHaven, the Connecticut Northeast Organic Farming Association (CT NOFA), Food Solutions New England, and the Connecticut Food System Alliance. As President of Slow Food Chicago, she led the organization’s strategy to promote good, clean, fair food for all and built a network of farmers, chefs, and advocates throughout the region.
Board of Directors
Michael Davidson, President
The Chicago Community Trust
Bruce Karmazin, Treasurer
Lumpkin Family Foundation
Shelby Parchman, Secretary
Good Food Catalyst
Erica King-McPherson, Board Member
Former President of Greenwood Archer Capital
Sarah McGraw Reichert, Board Member
BDT & MSD
Kinship Foundation, Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust
Investment Management Team
Torana Group is a novel investment firm that recognizes essential resources—such as soil, water, and labor—can be managed in ways that help companies and communities thrive in an impact-aware economy. The team at Torana Group has spent over a decade working with mission aligned investors, operators, and family offices to move capital in the food and agriculture sector. The team brings decades of expertise in finance, business, strategy, governance, alternative ownership, consumer facing industries, and impact investment.