Meet Our Team
Max Kaniger – Founder, Executive Director
Max Kaniger grew up in a household surrounded by food. His father was a chef, his parents met in a restaurant, and there was always ample food around the house growing up— barbecues and meals were the things that brought people together, especially in Kansas City. But when he rode his bike around town, it was apparent some neighborhoods had plenty while others did not. Similarly while attending college at the University of Missouri, he began to notice that for some of his peers, the dining hall represented, for the first time, a truly plentiful and well-balanced opportunity to eat. He took time off to work for a tour company in Maui and was exposed to an entirely new food culture, but also saw how difficult it was for some to provide for a family on a single paycheck. Believing that reliable, affordable, and healthy food options should be available to everyone, regardless of background, Max returned to Kansas City with an idea.
Kanbe’s Markets first program, the Healthy Corner Store, aims to solve food insecurity in Kansas City through small-scale, sustainable, and affordable produce stands set up in corner stores across the city. At first, Max largely maintained and funded the project himself, but after the initial pilot locations saw immediate success, he led Kanbe’s expansion to an organization with five full-time staff, a growing team of delivery drivers and over 28 locations across Kansas City. He is driven by the belief that everyone benefits from living in a more just world, and the best way to create one is to start from the beginning–– making sure everyone has access to fresh, healthy, affordable food.
Carmen Hatten – Development Manager
As Development Manager, Carmen oversees Kanbe’s fundraising development, volunteer services, marketing and communications. Early on, Carmen witnessed many sides of life, and from this diversity of experiences developed a passion for storytelling. While studying at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, she developed her talent for understanding and communicating complex, multifaceted topics with clarity and perspective. She brings these skills to meet the urgent needs of our food system, driven by the belief that nourishment is an essential cornerstone to our ability to thrive — something everyone deserves.
Carmen enjoys eating their way through Kansas City, traveling whenever she can, and snuggling her dog Lady ~ always.
Brandi Schoen – Procurement Manager
Brandi is the Procurement Manager, where she focuses on sourcing fresh and local food for Kanbe’s programs to distribute. This culture of food stewardship has been in Brandi’s family for the past five generations— since they first settled in rural Colorado— and from an early age, she’s deeply understood the full story behind the food on our plates. After managing an agricultural nonprofit for 8 years, Brandi brings extensive experience in organizational administration as well as familiarity with the local food supply chain. Through strong partnerships with local growers, she balances sustainability, trust, fair compensation, and community support in meeting Kansas City’s produce supply needs. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Northern Colorado and served as executive director of Kansas City Food Circle prior to joining Kanbe’s team.
Brandi lives with her husband, two children, and three cats, and maintains a personal garden in her free time.
Amy Goldman – Office Manager
As the office manager to a group of talented young professionals, Amy coordinates the day to day operations of the Kanbe’s staff, facility and budget. She has a nursing degree from Johnson County Community College and the University of Kansas. The foundation she built her career on is accountability and honest communication and she leads by holding others to these same standards. Her multifaceted skill set was developed while working 17 years as an orthopedic nurse at the Kansas University Medical Center. Working with orthopedic trauma patients from all over the city and surrounding rural areas, Amy witnessed first hand the vast inequities present in not only the healthcare system but in healthy food access. She discovered a plant based diet rich in fruits and vegetables containing nutrients and vitamins needed to promote healing was not readily available to every person that wanted or needed it. It was this realization that first brought her attention to the food inequity crisis in Kansas City and she is incredibly fortunate to be a part of the solution with Kanbe’s Markets.
Amy has a husband that makes her laugh, 2 children that make her proud and 2 dogs that make her crazy. They like to hang out together.
Kearra Johnson – Graphic Designer
Kearra Johnson is a graphic designer and visual artist from Kansas City, Missouri. After graduating from the University of Missouri with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2020, she returned to her hometown and joined the Kanbe’s team as the Graphic Design and Marketing intern. She brings an unmatched lens of experience to her work that helps tell the story of Kanbe’s Markets through design, animation, and everything in between.
For Kearra, a good time is easy to achieve as long it includes food, family, friends, and a lot of laughs.