CitySeed Welcomes Cortney Ahern Renton as Next Executive Director

CitySeed is pleased to announce Cortney Ahern Renton as the organization’s new Executive Director. She will lead the organization in promoting a more equitable and robust food system in New Haven, in addition to ensuring the continued success of its acclaimed farmers markets and kitchen incubator programs. She will succeed Amelia Reese Masterson, who helped to launch the Sanctuary Kitchen program, create an incubator for food entrepreneurs, and address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Renton will start her new role at CitySeed on April 15, 2020. 

“CitySeed is a respected leader in New Haven, nourishing the community and building economic opportunity through its markets, Sanctuary Kitchen, and Incubator programs,” said Renton. “I admire CitySeed’s ambitious vision and am honored to be part of growing its impact into the future.”

Board Co-Chair, Christine Kim, expressed confidence in Renton’s ability to lead CitySeed, particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic: “Cortney’s background is uniquely aligned with CitySeed’s mission and values. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated commitment to social and environmental impact in the food system. She is a born leader who brings passion, creativity, and professionalism to her work.” Amelia Reese Masterson adds, “I am thrilled to be passing the baton to such a qualified leader. With Cortney joining the team as Executive Director, working closely with Ashley Kremser who is stepping up as Managing Director, I know that CitySeed will be well-prepared to thrive as we grow our work in equitable economic development in New Haven’s food system and support farmers across the state.”

Cortney brings a decade of multidisciplinary leadership within nonprofits, think tanks, and startups to this role. She led national programs and built strategic relationships with donors at Feeding America, the second-largest nonprofit in the United States. As President of Slow Food Chicago for five years, she led the organization’s strategy to promote good, clean, fair food for all. 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. Earlier, she apprenticed on a family farm and trained in organic farming practices from seed to harvest.

“My career has been dedicated to building a more resilient, equitable, and abundant food system,” Renton explains. “These experiences resonate deeply with CitySeed’s core values. Now more than ever, food is a powerful medium for taking care of each other and our community. I am honored to be joining the organization in this moment, celebrating its legacy of achievements and building new possibilities together.”

Board co-chair, Emma Kravet, stated, “Cortney’s experiences working in food systems from many perspectives will be a great asset to CitySeed. We are excited to see her build on and strengthen our efforts to grow a more equitable local food system no matter what challenges may lay ahead.”

Cortney received her B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies from Colgate University, focused on international social justice. She earned her Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she co-founded the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative and was involved in entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives. She lives in New Haven with her husband Chris and their dog Hank.