New Growth Associates - About Us
New Growth Associates - Partners in Growing Your Ideas
New Growth Associates is a dynamic, energized, and inspired team with complementary skill sets and interests, doing custom work for organizations building thriving and robust food systems.  Our mission is to help grow our clients’ best ideas and initiatives for a better world.  Simply, effectively, and efficiently.
Our primary business is helping you see, clearly and easily, the information you need in order advance the work you care about. Whatever your specific project, our work starts with listening.  We ask questions to determine the most strategic path forward. We conduct quantitative and qualitative research. We analyze what we find. Then we work with you to develop a strategic set of recommendations while also equipping you with the understanding you need to succeed.
With over 100 years of collective experience, we've worked across the country with clients of every size, tackling projects ranging from enterprise analysis at the farm level to strategic policy planning and investment development at the state level.  Bringing together our varied backgrounds as farmers and agricultural economists and food systems experts and food safety auditors and community health professionals and community organizers and communications gurus and website developers and project managers, we have the capacity and passion to create solutions to your most pressing needs.


Megan Phillips Goldenberg, MS, principal at New Growth Associates, brings seasoned experience producing feasibility studies, economic analysis, and policy recommendations in Colorado, South Carolina, Alaska, Mississippi, and Michigan, with extensive background in project management, survey development, economic impact analysis, academic research, quantitative methods, interviews, and food-based business and organization consulting. Megan is most interested in the intersections of public policy, food systems, and community development. She endeavors to work in an outreach and community building capacity in order to create and maintain a sense of place through better science and informed decision-making. 

Goldenberg holds a Master’s degree in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from Colorado State University. Her coursework emphasized Public Policy and Community Economic Development. Through her graduate research, Goldenberg worked with Be Local Northern Colorado, the Northern Colorado Regional Food System Assessment, Boulder County’s Building Farmers Market Track program, and the Building Farmers in the West Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. 

Goldenberg then worked for WPM Consulting in Boulder, Colorado as a Food Systems and Policy Associate. With WPM Consulting, she assisted with the development and initial execution of the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council and provided research support for three county and three regional food system assessments (including metro Denver and rural Colorado) while facilitating community projects focused on increasing healthy eating and active living through sound policy and planning. In her spare time, Goldenberg co-founded and co-directed The Growing Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes the value of a strong, diverse, and just local food system to all residents of Northern Colorado through direct agricultural experiences, education, and advocacy. 

During a brief tenure in Rhode Island, Goldenberg supported the initial development of the New Connecticut Farmer Alliance, participated in the Connecticut Food Systems Alliance, and supported the Connecticut Food Policy Council and the Northeast Organic Farming Association Rhode Island chapter. Additionally, she worked on a number of assessments across the country, including a $9.8 million agriculture investment strategy for the state of South Carolina, a comprehensive food systems assessment for the state of Alaska, and a food policy analysis for the state of Mississippi in collaboration with Crossroads Resource Center.

Now back in her hometown of Saline, Michigan, Goldenberg manages 22 acres of family land while continuing to professionally support food systems development. In the last year, she has launched a new platform of agroecology research for the University of Michigan Sustainable Food Systems Initiative, has managed the new Pittsfield Township Farmers Market (doubling vendor participation, doubling patron visits, and tripling sales in year two of her tenure), assisted in the development and management of the Washtenaw County Farmers Market Managers listserv, supports the planning of the Local Food Summit in Ann Arbor, and manages a feasibility analysis for a food business cluster initiative in Ypsilanti. She is dedicated to making Michigan her permanent home, reclaiming family land for productive agricultural use, and ensuring the viability of Michigan’s food systems. 


Vicki Zilke, associate at New Growth Associates, brings a wealth of experience from her background in pediatric nursing, education, marketing, and farming. Vicki is passionate about healthy food access and supports organizations and individuals working to address healthy food, healthy people, and healthy communities.
Zilke holds a Master’s degree in Family and Child Nursing from the University of Michigan, and worked in nursing education, primary care pediatrics, and information technology in electronic medical records before launching a farm business with her husband. She now owns and operates Zilke Vegetable Farm with a large CSA and a busy roadside stand, works with multiple institutions in the Ann Arbor area to provide workplace wellness markets, and is partnering with the University of Michigan to increase local produce in the dining halls. A number of funded research projects have been conducted on her farm in partnership with Michigan State University to identify best practices for reduced tillage and organic vegetable production success.
This past winter, Zilke attended the first-of-its-kind Food Hub Management course offered by the University of Vermont to increase her knowledge of and skills to develop sustainable food systems, delving into business planning and assessment, market development, value chain facilitation, supply chain management, food safety, and more. She has assisted in the development of the Ypsilanti Marketplace Hub and is a researcher for the Washtenaw Policy Food Council’s Farm to Institution Project.

A longtime resident of Milan, Michigan, Zilke is committed to the ideals of her farm business: working with her husband, employing local residents, and providing healthy food to her community.

With a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies of Social Sciences, an additional major in Sociology, and a minor in Peace and Justice Studies, Wertheimer is well equipped to approach a variety of subjects with diverse academic perspectives. Directly after graduation in the spring of 2015 Wertheimer spent the remainder of the growing season on a diversified produce farm in Northern MI, where he further identify the emerging food system sector as somewhere he would like work. With some practical knowledge and equipped with the ability to comprehend and synthesize information, he was accepted as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development and charged with capacity building for the areas emerging re-localized food system. Here Wertheimer gained knowledge from a different perspective as he managed a grant fund through the County. This fund was for communities and organizations to spur economic development is a variety of ways and focused on development of the food system. As a new associates at New Growth Associates, Austin hopes to continue his work towards a more localized, sustainable, and equitable food system for the foreseeable future by gaining experience in more aspects of the food system.


Crossroads Resource Center, a non-profit organization, works with communities and their allies to foster democracy and local self-determination. We specialize in devising new tools communities can use to create a more sustainable future.

WPM Consulting supports policy change for healthy food systems, schools, and communities through professional project management, collaborative and strategic planning, and facilitation of leadership summits.

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