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Barbara Callen

English Instructor and Fundraising Assistant

Barbara Callen is the English Instructor and Fundraising Assistant for La Cocina VA. Barbara holds a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics, concentrating on agricultural policy, trade, development and food security, from University of California, Davis. She received her B.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. During her senior year abroad, she studied at the Graduate Institute for International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, worked at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and completed a senior thesis on Food Security in the Southern African Development Community. Barbara obtained her TESOL Certificate to teach adults English as a Second language from Northern Virginia Community College.

Prior to coming to La Cocina VA, Barbara taught literacy students at the Arlington Adult Education Program (REEP), the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, and tutored privately. Her previous career was as an agricultural economist with the Foreign Agriculture Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There she worked on agricultural trade policy, agricultural marketing and food assistance programs in numerous countries. Prior to USDA, she worked at the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy at Resources for the Future, where she co-authored several publications on agricultural trade policy.

In her role as English instructor, Barbara’s teaching philosophy is to create a supportive learning environment for La Cocina VA students to learn culinary terminology and improve workplace English skills. As a fundraiser, Barbara identifies potential donors and writes grant proposals to donors that align with La Cocina VA’s mission.

Barbara has always been passionate about global and U.S. hunger issues. She has volunteered for many years at the Arlington Food Assistance Center and been a leader in community service projects with Arlington Public Schools. Barbara is a native of Northern Virginia and currently lives in Arlington. She likes to travel with her British husband and three teenage children.


By making a tax-deductible donation to La Cocina VA, you can:

  • Create job opportunities for unemployed members of our community
  • Facilitate access to healthier meals for our neighbors in need