Director of Regional Innovation
Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance
John Cotton Dean is the Director of Regional Innovation for the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (CLEDA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Dean leads CLEDA’s Central Louisiana Local Foods Initiative, which aims to strengthen central Louisiana’s local food economy while also increasing access to fresh food for all the region’s residents. Dean has over ten years of research and professional experience focusing on the development of food policy councils and rural economic development through local food. Dean has led and completed projects as diverse as community food assessments, regional food summits, the development of online marketplaces and the convening and management of multiple food policy councils. He has worked on local food and rural development Initiative in California, Oregon, Iowa, and Louisiana. Dean is originally from Washington State and earned Master’s degrees in both Sustainable Agriculture and Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University in 2012.