2019 Conference Presenters
Each year, conference participants tell us the great line-up of presenters with their practical experience is what makes our conference program so valuable. These people know their stuff and are willing to share their expertise. Successful farmers and ranchers, along with well-respected educators and local food organizers from around the region, all with extensive knowledge and most importantly, practical experience, will lead all conference sessions, pre-conference courses and field trips.
Ben Abel caught the farming bug early in life. Although he didn’t grow up on a farm, his parents are avid gardeners and he has many happy childhood memories preserving and canning the summer bounty in their kitchen. Ben studied conservation and agriculture at the University of Kentucky and has interned and worked on organic farms in California and Kentucky. In 2008 he returned to his alma mater to manage the Community Supported Agriculture program of the South Farm, the University of Kentucky horticulture research farm, and eventually was the farm superintendent. He started Rootbound Farm while working for UK and in 2013 took the plunge into full- time entrepreneurship and farming. Rootbound Farm is the passion, business, and homeplace of Ben, his wife Bree Pearsall and their daughter, Hazel Grace.
Michelle Akindiya serves as Education Manager at Farmshare Austen. Michelle caught the farming bug in 2005 on an internship on a farm in Southern Wisconsin. She continued her farmer training with Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) and the Michael Fields Institute, while managing a CSA farm and vineyard outside of Chicago. Since her arrival in Austin in 2009, She has worked with Gabriel Valley Farms and served as Garden Manager at the Monument Cafe since 2011. Michelle loves the endless learning opportunities inherent to farming, and she loves to share her passion for sustainable growing with the community and is excited to nurture a new crop of farmers.
Guy K. Ames has been growing fruit naturally for over 40 years in the Ozarks of Arkansas. He's not shy about sharing his failures along with his successes. He is a horticulturist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology and has operated Ames Orchard and Nursery ("Fruit for the Ozarks") just outside of Fayetteville, AR, for almost 30 years.
Julia Asherman is the farmer at Rag & Frass Farm, a three-acre veggie and specialty cut flower farm in central Georgia. Julia has been farming in Georgia for 9 years, and started her own farm six years ago, buying 54 acres with a UDSA/Farm Service Agency Purchase Loan. Julia will discuss how to navigate the FSA/financing process, as well as considerations in choosing land, record keeping, self-assessing resources, and the basic business planning necessary to buy a farm. Julia holds a degree in Printmaking and Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Troyce Barnett services as the Resource Conservationist Specialist and Acting State Agronomist for Arkansas. Mr. Barnett transferred to Arkansas from Ohio where he serviced as the State Agronomist and Grazing Specialist. Mr. Barnett also served as the State Soil Health Specialist and Specialty Crops Specialist.
Felicia Bell of RD & S Farm, LLC was born into agriculture with her family sustaining themselves from the land and the food grown from it. It was instilled in Ms. Bell that helping others in your community is a very important value to hold and informs your very existence as a farmer and producer. Ms. Bell has had many opportunities to share her work and knowledge through sustainable agriculture project development, various board assignments including Southern SAWG, acting as the Ag Specialist for National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and as Network Coordinator for the Southeastern African American Organic Farmers Network (SAAFON). She believes that everyone deserves the option of healthy food and with the collective effort of small sustainable farmers across the country this can become a reality.
Don Bennett is a 35-year resident of Fayetteville, Arkansas who has studied landscape architecture, landscape design and urban horticulture and environmental science at the University of Arkansas. Don’s career experiences have included operating and managing a small business, maintenance technician of power substations for a local cooperative, appliance sales specialist, grid tied solar and renewable energy applications, to name a few. Don’s personal experiences with food insecurity and underemployment in the economic downturn led to the founding of Tri Cycle Farms in 2011. He is a natural at forming collaborative, strategic partnerships. In the past six years Don has used this skill to collaborate with community members, like-minded non-profits, local businesses, University of Arkansas student and faculty members, as well as clergy and civic leaders. Don believes that local and regional food systems and networks are at the very core of greenhouse gas reduction, climate change adaptation, energy and water conservation, underemployment, health disparities and all manner of social injustice.
Andrew Branan is a practicing attorney in North Carolina and Virginia, based in Hillsborough, NC. He has over 13 years of experience working with farmers and rural landowners. A native of Texas, Andrew attended Hampden-Sydney College in rural Southside Virginia. Andrew graduated with distinction and later attended Wake Forest University School of Law. He gained various experience in Virginia, Washington, DC, and Vermont before relocating to North Carolina to begin a family. Andrew and his wife, a photojournalist, reside in Cedar Grove, north of Hillsborough, North Carolina, with their two great kids. http://www.brananlaw.com
Ash Bruxvoort is the Plate to Politics & Communications Coordinator at Women, Food & Agriculture Network. They are a certified VoteRunLead trainer. Ash has led Plate to Politics workshops for hundreds of women leading change in food and agriculture. Several of those women have gone on to run for office at the local, state, and national level. Ash also uses their own story as a writer and community organizer in Iowa.
Jerica Cadman is the farmer’s wife at Shady Grove Ranch in Jefferson, Texas, where she and her husband, Matt, have been pasture-farming for 10 years in efforts to produce real, healing foods to help others like them recover from autoimmune disease. The Cadmans started out as engineers but were faced with no solutions for Matt’s chronic illness and decided to become the growers of the foods they needed, including grass-fed beef and soy-free pastured pork, chicken, eggs, and turkey. They have 5 precious children ages eight and under, and Matt is symptom- and medication-free as of almost 9 years ago.
Anne Cafer is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Mississippi and coordinator for the Community Based Research Collaborative at the UM Center for Population Studies. She works generally in the area of community resilience with special interests in food access, food affordability, food insecurity, and health inequalities in both Sub-Saharan Africa and rural US, primarily the MS Delta.
Mark Cain has been farming organically in the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks since 1984. He was a student of master gardener Alan Chadwick in the late 70s, and apprenticed at the Farm and Garden Project of the University of California in Santa Cruz. For the past 30 plus years he and farm partner Michael Crane have owned and operated Dripping Springs Garden, an intensively-cropped, four-acre certified organic market farm near Huntsville, AR. Their cut flower and vegetable crops are sold at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market, through a CSA, and at a handful of selected natural foods stores and restaurants in Fayetteville. In addition to flowers and vegetables, Dripping Springs turns out a crop of trained garden interns each year who are secretly taking over local school garden programs, sustainable food hubs, and farmers markets across the country! http://drippingspringsgarden.com/
Dawn R. Camardelle farms at Star Nursery, Inc., a fifth generation family-owned and operated farm located in Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans, Louisiana along the banks of the Mississippi River. They have 80 acres of land with a 5000 plus producing citrus tree orchard and 100,000 plus citrus tree nursery. The love of farming started before their generation—their great-great grandfather was a farmer on the slopes of a mountain in Ustica, a small island off the coast of Sicily. In the 20’s the farm was on the Eastbank of New Orleans. In the 40s and 50s it moved to the current homeplace in Belle Chasse. The farm was a truck farm raising cabbage, greens and creole tomatoes. As each generation brought new ideas to the farm, they expanded to citrus, and are now one of the largest growers of citrus in the state. They are looking forward to a sixth generation joining us when our grandchildren return to the farm. Their fruit and vegetable line include satsuma mandarin, oranges, grapefruit, kumquats, lemons, creole tomatoes and blueberries, however their specialty is in satsuma mandarin, oranges, and blueberries. The satsuma in particular is a piece of fruit that is similar to the Clementine Mandarin sold in stores today, but is easier to peel, juicer, and sweeter than anything available today.
Linda Coffey is a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist, focusing on sheep and goats. She grew up on a diversified livestock farm in central Missouri, where her family raised cattle, hogs, and sheep. Linda has a master’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Missouri. She is a member of the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC), American Dairy Goat Association, and Gulf Coast Breeders Association. Linda and her family run Maple Gorge Farm near Prairie Grove, Ark., raising sheep, dairy goats, and a few laying hens. A couple of calves, three livestock guardian dogs, and occasionally hogs complete the farm.
Dara Cooper is a national organizer with the National Black Food and Justice Alliance (NBFJA), an alliance of Black led organizations working towards national Black food sovereignty and land justice. She is also an anchor team member of the HEAL (Health Environment Agriculture and Labor) Food Alliance, a cross sector alliance of organizations working to deeply transform our unjust food system. She recently published a report on food hubs and racial justice after completing a southern tour interviewing Black farmers, co-ops and food hubs throughout the south in partnership with Race Forward. Dara is based in Atlanta, GA.
Terence Courtney has been organizer and advocate for economic justice for more than 20 years. He began his career in the 1990’s working with the labor movement in the South and on the West coast by leading campaigns to give workers a voice and democracy in their workplaces. In the 2000s, Terence began directing non-profit organizations focused on building power with working class communities of color, black union members, Reproductive Justice organizations, Immigrants and LGBT communities. Campaign victories and losses gradually revealed to Terence that our movements often times lacked a comprehensive analysis of the interlocking forms of oppression we face, but in particular, how grassroots cooperative development provided people most affected by racism, class oppression and patriarchy an opportunity to more fully control their own lives by becoming the collective owners of their destiny. By the 2010s, Terence organizing analysis had adopted cooperative development within a comprehensive strategy for positive social transformation, which resulted in the development of an educational and food buying cooperative called Cooperative Atlanta. This cooperative learning space provided a forum for Atlantans to learn about cooperative development, and it provided a means to practice cooperative economics on a small scale through food buying. The work that Terence led gained the attention of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives (FSC), who then afforded him the opportunity to take his cooperative development organizing to a higher, more regionally focused level. Terence currently serves as the FSC Director of Cooperative Development & Strategic Initiatives.
Rhyne “Pork Rhyne” Cureton is a niche pork production consultant, international agricultural trainer for E.A.T.B.E.T.A. International Foundation, and a consultant for several environmental organizations. Rhyne has been invited to speak at events hosted by organizations such as Southern Foodways Alliance, California Certified Organic Farmer Foundation, and Black Urban Growers on topics related to niche & modern pig farming, increasing youth and diversity in agriculture & environmentalism, and understanding consumer engagement. Rhyne is also a recent graduate of North Carolina A&T State University with a degree in Agricultural Education (Extension).
Pam Dawling is the author of the popular Sustainable Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production on a Few Acres, and The Year-Round Hoophouse (November 2018). She also writes for Growing for Market magazine. Pam grows vegetables at Twin Oaks Community in central Virginia, where the gardens feed 100 people on 3.5 acres.
Linley Dixon is the Associate Director of The Real Organic Project, which helps educate and connect farmers and eaters by providing more transparency on organic farming practices. She holds a MS in Plant and Soil Science from West Virginia University and a PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of Florida. The Real Organic Project is an effort to support organic family farms that are competing with the increasing number of factory farms now being certified organic that are at odds with the original intent of organic farming. She owns a mixed vegetable farm in Durango Colorado, marketing through Southwest Farm Fresh (a farmer-owned cooperative), farm to school, and at farmers markets. She farms with her husband, brother and eight-year-old daughter.
Emily English is the Director of the Access to Healthy Foods Research Group at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, which focuses on building evidence, capacity, and support for an equitable food system that fosters the health and wellness of children, families, and communities in Arkansas. In this role, she is the Program Director of Arkansas GardenCorps and Arkansas Farm to School and serves as the Arkansas Core Partner for the National Farm to School Network. Prior to graduate school, Emily worked on and managed small organic farming operations in Arkansas and Oregon.
Cameron Farlow is the Farmer Programs Director at the Organic Growers School. Hailing from Greensboro, NC with dairy farming in her blood, she has now made her home in Western NC. After earning her undergraduate degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, Cameron dove headfirst into the realm of sustainable agriculture and local food systems, and later completed her Master’s Degree in Appalachian Studies and Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University. She also brings experience in the realms of farmland preservation, food security, farm to university, and land access for farmers.
Dr. David Fernandez is the Extension Livestock Specialist at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He had a small sheep farm in Grapevine, AR for several years and regularly works with small and limited-resource farmers to improve their sustainability in small ruminant production.
Iris Figueroa is a Staff Attorney at Farmworker Justice, where she engages in advocacy and community education for farmworkers on issues related to immigration, labor rights and occupational health and safety. Throughout her career, Ms. Figueroa has collaborated with various civil society organizations throughout the U.S. and Latin America, including in Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica. Ms. Figueroa also has experience providing direct legal services to survivors of gender based violence. Ms. Figueroa is a native Spanish speaker, with fluency in English and French. Ms. Figueroa graduated from Georgetown University in 2007 and earned her JD from Columbia Law School in 2010.
Cara Fraver is the Business Services Director for the National Young Farmers Coalition, a national advocacy network of young farmers fighting for the future of agriculture. Before joining the NYFC team, Cara owned and managed a diversified vegetable farm with her husband in upstate New York. Through work with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Just Food in NYC, and the New York State Berry Growers Association, she’s connected farmers with resources and education to improve their businesses for more than 15 years.
Luke Freeman is a horticulture specialist for NCAT/ATTRA, where he assists growers and leads trainings on fruit and vegetable production, marketing, and food safety. Luke and his wife Natalie own a small farm in Fayetteville, Arkansas called Freckled Hen Farm and they use social media extensively to share their story and communicate with customers. They raise eggs, vegetables, and cut flowers on their farm, which they market out of their general store, Freckled Hen Farmhouse.
Julia Gaskin is Sr. Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator in the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Crop & Soil Science Department. For 16 years she has worked with extension programs to conserve soil and restore soil productivity. As the Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator for CAES, she has focused on agricultural production systems that accomplish these goals, including conservation tillage systems and organic production systems.In addition to her extension work, she has published 13 scientific journal articles and 2 book chapters as well as mentoring students and serving as a guest lecturer for several classes.
Mavis Gragg is originally from Black Mountain NC and a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and Pepperdine School of Law. In addition to being a lawyer, Mavis has extensive experience in conflict resolution and a Master of Dispute Resolution degree. In her practice, Mavis synthesizes her professional experiences as a lawyer and mediator with her passion for helping individuals and families maintain and grow wealth. She accomplishes this by dedicating her energy to assisting her clients with estate planning, estate administration, and heirs property matters. Mavis enjoys being active in the community. She is the founder and host of Legal Sips, a public dialogue aimed at providing community members with a greater understanding about legal issues that impact them and the attorneys who work on those issues. She serves on the boards of directors for Triangle Land Conservancy, North Carolina Conservation Network, and Dispute Settlement Center. Mavis is also the founder and Co-Chair of The Gragg Family Fund, which provides educational and travel abroad opportunities for young people.
Charles Greenlea’s roots run deep in the red clay of Georgia’s soil. A resident of Atlanta, Ga, and the descendant of a long line of farmers, educators, entrepreneurs, and activists, Charles was cultivated to serve his community in a very unique way. Since he began nurturing his interests in agriculture and food systems almost six years ago, Charles has managed several urban farms including Metro Atlanta Urban Farm, college gardens on the campuses of Spelman College in Atlanta, and Tougaloo College in Mississippi, piloted a mobile farmer’s market in Atlanta’s underserved neighborhoods, and has also taught agriculture and environmental science in the public school systems of Jackson, MS and Atlanta, GA. As the Program Director for HABESHA, Inc., a 501c3 whose mission is to cultivate leadership in youth and families, Charles manages the operations of agricultural programs that serve children, adults, and senior citizens. More recently, Charles has completed a training in tropical agriculture development from Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO) in Ft. Meyers, Fl, as well as a training around bamboo cultivation and construction from the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to better assist HABESHA with the development of the Kweku Andoh Sustainability Institute in Ghana, West Africa. Charles is also a member of the 2017-18 cohort of the Small Farmers Leadership Institute through Southern University. Charles loves food, people and being physically active. He enjoys the work he does and sees it as an opportunity to share his personal lifestyle with others as a means to strengthen communities.
Margo Hale is the Southeast Regional Director for the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and also serves as a Sustainable Livestock Specialist for NCAT’s ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program. Since 2011, Margo has led NCAT’s efforts to train military veterans interested in agriculture through Armed to Farm, NCAT’s sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans. She has worked in the fields of sustainable livestock production, beginning farmer training, farmer outreach and education, and regional sustainable agriculture outreach. Margo has extensive experience in developing and implementing farmer trainings, has written dozens of sustainable livestock production publications, manages farm to school efforts through FoodCorps Arkansas, and has given many presentations and workshops throughout the country. She has a B.S. in Animal Science and a M.S. in Agricultural and Extension Education from the University of Arkansas, is a member of the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control, and serves on the Arkansas Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Professional Development Program Advisory Board. Margo, her husband Josh, and their two daughters also raise livestock and vegetables on a small farm in Northwest Arkansas.
Devon Hamilton originally hails from Leimert Park, Los Angeles and currently works in Madison, Wisconsin, where he recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison. He is the Assistant Policy Director with the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, where he both helps develop a program designing food justice lessons plans for youth of color, as well as works with local producers on best land management practices to protect Wisconsin soil health and water quality as it relates to the nutrient loading down the Mississippi into the “Dead Zone.” He is a community organizer and aspiring chef, choosing food as his vessel to facilitate change around issues ranging from racial justice to masculinity and sexual assault. He also serves as the co-founder of the TradeRoots Culinary Collective, a group of Black chefs in Madison exploring the many intersections, identities, and histories that make up Southern Black cuisine.
April Hampton was born in Miami, Florida and now lives in Montgomery, Alabama with her husband who works in urban ministry and her three children. She is a former elementary school teacher, English as a Second Language adult instructor, realtor-turned-house-flipper and author. Mrs. Hampton wrote “The Telling: A Gathering of Remembrance” after attending a Jewish Seder and recognized how the annual sharing of the Jewish food and history created a continuity and connection within diverse Jewish experience. Seeing experiential similarities between the Jewish people and African-American, made it obvious that creating “The Telling” would be essential in sharing our story and our soul food in a way that was healing and empowering.
Josh Hardin grew up on a “conventional” family farm in Arkansas and went on to start Laughing Stock Farm 11 years ago. He recently transitioned from Laughing Stock and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service to being Director of One World Pharma, where he manages indigenous hemp education programs while producing CBD based products for international export.
Randy Hardin farms in the Delta region of Arkansas where Hardins have farmed since the late 1800s. The farm relied on cotton until Randy decided to diversify into pecans, watermelons and other products and enterprises including an agri-tourism venture. The agritourism venture was set back by a highway cutting through the farm, but the Hardins have come back stronger than ever. The Hardin family illustrates a variety of means of coping with disturbance and stress, especially through diversification.
Damon Helton, a native of Little Rock, served eight years as an Army Ranger including five deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Now he and his family own the Farm at Barefoot Bend, a 165-acre property in Lonsdale, AR where they raise grass-fed cattle, pastured poultry and pastured hogs. They decided to open Olde Crow General Store to better sell the products generated by the farm. The Helton’s found the help they needed to start their farm through the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)’s Armed to Farm Program, the Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Homegrown By Heroes Program and the Farmer Veteran Coalition. They hope to further develop the farm into an agritourism destination as well as create a farm intern program for veterans to promote personal healing and interest in the agriculture industry.
John Hendrickson conducts research and education programs for specialty crop producers at the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His work focuses on fresh market vegetable production systems and he is particularly interested in farm scale as it relates to finances, labor, equipment, and management. John also owns and operates his own organic vegetable farm.
Savi Horne is Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers’ Land Loss Prevention Project, a non-profit law firm that has offered, for more than 33 years, legal representation of clients, community economic development, and professional outreach in the effort to promote wealth, land preservation, and rural livelihoods. As a state, regional, and national non-governmental organization leader, she has been instrumental in addressing the needs of socially disadvantage farmers and rural communities. She graduated from Rutgers University, School of Law–Newark, New Jersey, and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1990.
Jon Jackson is an an Army Ranger turned farmer and the owner and operator of Stag Vets Inc. and Comfort Farms. STAG VETS INC is a nonprofit that created the nation’s first Acute Veterans Crisis Agriculture center named Comfort Farms, in Honor of Army Ranger Captain Kyle A. Comfort, (KIA, May 8, 2010). The farm currently prepares veterans and students for careers in sustainable food production that integrates economic profitability, environmental stewardship, and healing through the use of Agri-therapy and time-tested natural approaches. The facility also serves veterans in acute situations where time and help are of the essence. Featuring a short-term stay lodge that can provide rooms for up to two veterans or one family, Comfort Farms is building the resources to offer shelter and therapy that allows veterans to regain strength and re-boot for everyday life and a fulfilling future. Comfort Farms was recently featured on the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.
Krista Jacobsen is an agroecologist and Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky, where she has been working on soil health in high tunnels and year-round production systems since 2011.
Dr. Ravi Jadeja is an Assistant Professor and Food Safety Specialist at Oklahoma State University with 11 years of food safety training and consulting. During the past several years, Dr. Jadeja focused his attention on the development of strategies to control foodborne pathogens and to improve the safety and quality of a variety of food products at pre- and post-harvest levels.
Cathy Jones and husband Michael Perry own and operate Perry-winkle Farm outside of Chapel Hill, NC. In 1991, working just a quarter acre of land, they took their first crop to market. Currently, they have about three and a half acres in vegetable and cut flower production, and five more acres in pasture-based poultry. They sell at three weekly farmers' markets, including the famous Carrboro Farmers' Market, and to numerous restaurants in the area. They have been sharing their knowledge and mentoring new farmers through paid internships on their farm, workshops in their area and trainings around the South for years. Cathy and Michael collaborate with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, participating in on-farm research projects, hosting field days and farm tours.
Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch is the James and Wanda Lee Vaughn Endowed Professor of History and Director of the ASTATE Digital Press at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro. She teaches courses in U.S., Women's, Civil Rights, Rural, African American History, and Heritage Studies. Dr. Jones-Branch received her Bachelors and Master degrees from the College of Charleston, South Carolina, and a doctorate in History from The Ohio State University, Columbus. She has been teaching at Arkansas State University since 2003. Dr. Jones-Branch has authored numerous articles on women’s Civil Rights and rural activism. In 2014, she published Crossing the Line: Women and Interracial Activism in South Carolina during and after World War II, with the University Press of Florida and is the co-editor of Arkansas Women: Their Lives and Times, published by the University of Georgia Press in 2018. She is completing a second monograph, Better Living By Their Own Bootstraps: Rural Black Women’s Activism in Arkansas, which is under contract with the University of Arkansas Press. Dr. Jones-Branch is a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated and Eliza Murphy Chapter #395, Order of the Eastern Hall, Prince Hall Affiliated. She is also a United States Army Persian Gulf War Veteran.
Nikki Seibert Kelley (SC) is owner of Wit Meets Grit, a company empowering nonprofits and businesses to reach their goals by providing guidance on organizational management, community engagement, marketing, and funding. Mrs. Kelley brings 14 years of nonprofit experience, seven years in the agriculture sector, and a passion for education into every project. Nikki has trained 142 apprentices, coordinated 40+ farmer workshops, and launched SC’s first incubator farm “Dirt Works”. Mrs. Kelley is also an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston and serves on the boards of SSAWG, SC Food Policy Council, Green Hearts Project, and Charleston County Farm Bureau.
Dr. Calvin R. King, Sr. is the founder and executive director of the Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation (ALFDC). He founded the nonprofit ALFDC in 1980 to reverse the conditions leading to the loss of black-owned farmland and the decline in the number of small farms in Arkansas. The corporation assists black farmers in gaining access to credit, provides technical and training assistance as well as marketing support, and aids in the development of alternative means of ownership. In 1991, King helped institute the Youth Enterprise in Agriculture Division of ALFDC as a career and leadership development program to introduce youth to farming and agriculture-related careers and to provide students with opportunities to do hands-on training. King was a land and agriculture specialist for the SC/Arkansas Delta Project’s Land and Agricultural Development Component (1980), before founding the ALFDC. Since 1978, King has worked his own family’s farm near Marianna, Arkansas. In 1985, he completed the Leadership and Entrepreneurial Development Training Program at the University of Arkansas in Pine Bluff. King attended Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, received a B.A. (1976) from Philander Smith College, Little Rock, and graduated (1980) from the Institute of Politics in Little Rock.
Robin “Buz” W. Kloot is Research Associate Professor at the Center for Environmental Nanoscience and Risk in the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health Environmental Health Sciences Department. Buz is a self-proclaimed soil health nut, passionate about seeing soils change and the lives of farmers change with their soils.
Katie Kraemer holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California at Santa Cruz, a bilingual elementary teaching certificate in Texas, and vivid memories of her time living on a farm in Alaska. In addition to big states, Katie has experience founding and operating an organic vegetable farm, which she has done with her husband and partner-in-business, David Pitre, since 1993. Tecolote Farm began a CSA (the longest-running in Texas and possibly the South) to complete a three-pronged direct marketing approach: farmers markets/CSA/restaurants & grocers. Besides handling the business side of the farm, Katie has been active in her local food policy board, groundwater politics, farmers market advisory councils, raising the three Pitre kids, trail riding, backpacking, and enjoying books and the outdoors. Lately she is involved in the distribution aspect of the farm-to-table movement through involvement with the University of Texas organization, Food+City.
Marla Karina Larrave works with grassroots members to link identified priorities and needs with policy efforts and advocacy opportunities on a national scale. She facilitates NSAC’s work on equity within the food and farm system through the Diversity Committee and alongside member leaders. Having grown up in Los Angeles with deep farming roots in Guatemala, her previous experience includes progressing community-based and leadership initiatives with people of color, migrants and indigenous communities both in the U.S. and abroad. Marla holds an M.A. in International Development from American University and a B.A. in Global Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Wekesa O. Madzimoyo is co-director of AYA EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTE which is based in the Atlanta, GA Metro area and which operates nationally and internationally. He is a widely known educator, public speaker, facilitator, consultant, storyteller, and photographer. Using what he calls “The Process Communication Approach,” he has over 30 years promoting a brand of between-culture communication that accounts for both the conscious, and often unconscious superior/inferior dynamic which is the primary source of intractable conflicts. He is married to Afiya O. Madzimoyo.
Dr. Ayanava Majumdar is an Extension Entomologist for the vegetable and peanut integrated pest management (IPM) programs, and Team Leader for Commercial Horticulture Extension Programs in Alabama. He is also the statewide coordinator for the Alabama Small & Beginning Farmer and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Programs at Auburn University. He has over 17 years’ experience in alternative pest management systems with focus on trap crops, pest exclusion systems, and bioinsecticide development for organic farming.
Lauren Manning is a food and agriculture lawyer based in Fayetteville, AR, where she is a partner and beginning farmer with Ozark Pasture Beef. The farm direct markets beef, lamb, and goat meet to consumers and restaurants in NWA. She teaches a variety of agricultural law classes for the University of Arkansas and recently authored a workbook discussing how to use social media for small farms. Lauren also writes for AgFunderNews, an online news site covering investment and innovation in agriculture technology.
Scott Marlow is Senior Policy Specialist at RAFI-USA. Previously RAFI-USA’s Executive Director, Scott also directed the Farm Sustainability program, providing in-depth financial counseling to farmers in crisis, education on disaster assistance programs and access to credit, and addressing the needs of mid-scale farmers increasing the sustainability of their farms by transitioning to higher-value specialty markets. Scott’s specialty is financial infrastructure, including access to credit and risk management and how that infrastructure addresses food security and global climate change. He has served on the steering committee of the National Task Force to Renew Agriculture of the Middle, the Organization Council of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Board of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, the Board of the NC Farm Transition Network, and the NC Agricultural Advancement Consortium and serves on the Advisory Committee of the NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. He has a Masters Degree in Crop Science from NC State University and a BA in Political Science from Duke University.
Susie Marshall serves as the FSMA Training Project Director for the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. She is also Executive Director of GROW North Texas in Dallas. Susie was trained by the Produce Safety Alliance and qualified to instruct the FDA-recognized training.
Sarah Martin wears many hats: from Transport Coordinator to Financial Officer to Food Program Manager for the National School Lunch Program at The White River Regional Juvenile Detention Center. Her most challenging responsibility is planning and preparing meals for the juveniles in their care. They do not have an extensive kitchen in our facility - in fact, they don't even have a stove! This year, they started a farm to table program with two small beds of tomatoes, squash and cucumbers. They were able to serve the kids fresh vegetables several times from their own harvest and they hope to be able to expand this program in the future. Currently, they purchase their produce through Ben E Keith or Sysco but they would love the opportunity to serve fresh, locally grown, fruits and vegetables to their kids.
Kenny and Jamie Mauthe established their farm in Progress, MS, where they raised four children who continue to work on the farm. The Mauthe family has been milking cows for four generations, conquering multiple challenges along the way. Kenny Mauthe’s grandfather began milking in New Orleans Ninth Ward. When the city expanded they moved to Mississippi. Following a hurricane, their farm evolved from 150 cows producing milk to for a gigantic cooperative to a few dozen cows whose milk is bottled or turned into unique dairy products for local customers in New Orleans and Mississippi.
Judith McGeary is an attorney, activist, and sustainable farmer. After earning her Bachelors of Science from Stanford University and her law degree with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin, she clerked for a Federal Appeals Court and went on to private law practice. During that time, she became a passionate advocate of sustainable agriculture, and she and her husband established their own livestock farm. After seeing how government regulations benefit industrial agriculture at the expense of family farms, she founded the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) to promote common-sense policies for local, diversified agricultural systems. Judith has been profiled in the Texas Observer and Edible Austin, appears in the documentary Farmageddon, and has been interviewed on numerous radio shows across the country. Judith served as the Vice Chair of the U.S. Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health and, in addition to running FARFA, currently serves on the Board of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and the Advisory Board of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Marty Mesh an expert in sustainable agriculture from Florida. He has dedicated more than 40 years to a more environmentally responsible and socially just form of agriculture. He represents the Agricultural Justice Project’s Food Justice Certified label, which launched in 2011. The label sets rigorous standards for the respectful treatment of farm workers, living wages, safe working conditions and collective bargaining rights.
Laura Mewbourn is owner and operator or Feast & Flora Farm in Charleston, SC, specializing in custom floral design for Lowcountry weddings. Laura completed the Growing New Farmers program through Lowcountry Local First then apprenticed on a vegetable farm and a hydroponic farm. In 2017, Laura started Feast & Flora with her wife and they have been living their dreams of flower farming ever since.
Qiana Mickie became the Executive Director of Just Food in May 2017. She previously worked as the CSA Network Manager and most recently returned in September 2016 to serve as the Policy & Advocacy Director/ Farmers Market Network Manager. She enjoys sharing the gift of learner-centered trainings, cultivating community leadership, exploring the intersectionality of food justice, and advocating for sustainable and equitable food/farm policies on the local, regional, and federal level. Qiana earned her Food Hub Management Certificate from the University of Vermont and her B.S. in Marketing from Hampton University. She is a member of the Alliance for Food and Racial Equity (AFRE) and serves on the Organizational Council of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). Qiana loves being an active CSA member of Stoneledge Farm, practicing Vinyasa yoga, and serves on the boards of The Point CDC, Revolutionary Fitness, and the South Bronx Farmer’s Market.
Billy Mitchell is the FSMA Training Coordinator for National Farmers Union and has experience in farming and food safety training with other organizations. Billy Mitchell was trained by the Produce Safety Alliance and qualified to instruct the FDA-recognized training.
Dr. Brian Keith Mitchell is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana and has been a resident of Arkansas nearly ten years. He teaches in the History Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. His interests include African American Antebellum History, free black communities, and Urban History. He is currently working on aseveral digital projects which pertain to free blacks in the Antebellum South and commemoration of the 1919 Elaine Riot. Dr. Mitchell’s academic interests and training are purposefully broad and varied. His interests include race and ethnicity, immigration, public history, African American history, 19th century history, Louisiana history, urban history, U.S. History, justice and inequality studies, historic preservation, digital history and material culture.
Joseph Monroe is the farm manager at Ashbourne Farm and co-founder of Valley Spirit Farm. Valley Spirit Farm began in 2015 when the Monroe and Fiechter families embarked on a shared farming journey. Living and working together on 118 acres in Henry County, Kentucky, the families strive to grow exceptional produce, mushrooms and pastured meats. They are dedicated to growing nutritionally dense, chemical free and ecologically responsible food. By empowering their families to steward the earth, they strive to enrich their lives, their community and your dinner table.
Karyn Moskowitz is a native New Yorker who landed in the Ohio River Valley Region in 1998, experienced first hand the devastating effects of the lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and her life, fortunately, was never the same. She now has 18 amazing years experience as a food justice organizer and social entrepreneur, and is one of the founders of the New Roots Fresh Stop Markets, which she has operated since 2009, in partnership with hundreds of volunteer leaders. Karyn holds a B.A. from Boston University in biology and an MBA in environmental management from the University of Washington Foster School of Business and ESCP Europe. She is an engaging and passionate, sought-after speaker and has spoken near and far about fresh food as a right, not a charity or a privilege. She is a proud mom of a 18-year old daughter who loves to eat her Kentucky-grown spinach.
Elisa Muñoz-Miller is the Co-Chair of the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee, a broad-based coalition of individuals, organizations, and businesses working together to create systemic change in the New Orleans Food System through policy. Elisa's past includes experience in transportation and pedestrian advocacy, urban farming, farmers markets, facilitation, nonprofit management, food policy, and community programming. Elisa was named a W. K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellow and she serves on the board of Southern SAWG. Prior to working on FPAC, Elisa was the director of public market development at the French Market Corporation and before that was a market manager for the Crescent City Farmers Market/Market Umbrella, all of which involved food access in New Orleans. Before working in New Orleans, she worked in Birmingham, AL, as the founder and vice president of the bicycle advocacy nonprofit Bici Bicycle Cooperative and as a program coordinator at Greater Birmingham Community Food Partners. In her spare time, Elisa enjoys sewing, baking, and exploring Louisiana with her husband and son.
Jim Munsch is a cow-to-finish, grass-fed beef farmer, and consults with many organic vegetable and livestock farms, to analyze their operations so growers can make more informed management decisions.
Marlena Nip is currently the Associate Garden Educator with Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, a signature program of FirstLine Schools, a network of five public, open-enrollment charter schools in New Orleans. After graduating from Loyola Marymount University with a bachelor's degree in political science in 2014, Nip moved to Seattle and volunteered for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest. There she served in marginalized communities and began to hone in on her desire to work in food sustainability and food justice. After a yearlong stint in Hawaii as a service member for FoodCorps, she accepted a position in Jackson, Mississippi as a FoodCorps Fellow where she worked to support the 10 FoodCorps service members in addition to starting a joint project with FoodCorps and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) to train educators on how to incorporate garden and outdoor education into their lessons.
William Padilla-Brown is a social scientist, educator, mycologist and founder of MycoSymbiotics a small business focused on the cutting edge use of fungi for the betterment of the Planet.
Michael Parker is the Land Access Program Associate for the National Young Farmers Coalition, a national advocacy network of young farmers fighting for the future of agriculture. He is a former livestock farmer and has varied professional experiences in farm direct-marketing. Mike holds a degree in accounting from Georgetown University.
Daniel Parson is the farmer/educator at the Oxford College Farm, part of Emory University. He has spent the last 20 years doing small-scale intensive organic vegetable farming in South Carolina and Georgia.
Bree Pearsall got her start farming when she was offered a summer job picking tomatoes between college semesters. She was studying political science and social work and although she didn’t know it then, she would soon get the farming itch too! Bree has a Master’s degree in Social Work and worked for 10 years as a social worker. She happily transitioned to full-time entrepreneurship in 2015 and together Ben and Bree are striving to grow Rootbound Farm into a sustainable and vibrant family business. Ben and Bree also welcomed their first child, Hazel Grace, in the fall of 2015 and a new baby boy, Sage, in February 2018.
David Pitre studied Agroecology at the University of Santa Cruz, CA in the early 80s. After that he farmed in the San Francisco Bay area selling organic produce to restaurants and retail stores. He, and his wife Katie Kreamer operate Tecolote Farm, the oldest continually running CSA in the south.
Ellen Polishuk, a long-time Virginia vegetable producer and now farm consultant will provide examples from her own farm to show how to analyze your farming operation and make more informed decisions that will increase farm profits.
Jeremy Porter is the Executive Director of Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition, a community coalition in Lexington, KY dedicated to making healthy eating and physical activity more popular and accessible in Lexington. In 2017 the coalition supported 270 families in purchasing $18,500 of local produce through Fresh Stop Markets.
Lynn Pugh is the farmer at Cane Creek Farm in Cumming GA. She has been Growing for a CSA, using organic practices, for 13 years. After attending Dr. A’s presentation last year, she implemented the system for pest exclusion he described.
CheFarmer Matthew Raiford wears many hats. Most recently, he again donned his ‘toque blanche’ as the owner and executive chef of the newly-opened Brunswick, Georgia restaurant, Strong Roots Provisions – serving Port City food with jazz, rhythm and blues. His first restaurant, The Farmer and the Larder (opened 2016), was featured in Garden & Gun as one of the South’s most exciting new restaurants. He and his family own and operate Gilliard Farms, where he is the sixth generation to farm the land since 1874. First established by great, great, great grandfather Jupiter, Gilliard is a certified organic farm growing under Matthew’s watchful eye with his sister, Althea. Raiford holds a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree in culinary arts from the CIA in Hyde Park, New York. He is a certified ecological horticulturalist (University of California Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems). He was named a James Beard semi-finalist: Best Chef in the Southeast, 2018.
Jenna Rhodes is the Program Manager in the Access to Healthy Foods Research Group at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute and serves as co-Core Partner to the National Farm to School Network. She works to build evidence, capacity, and support for an equitable food system through the management of Arkansas Farm to School and sitting on the Arkansas Farm to School Collaborative, a statewide group working to advance Farm to School in the state through information sharing, events, and systems change.
Eric Simpson is a farmer and owner of New Eden Ecosystems in West Point, GA. He joined the West Georgia Farmers Cooperative (WGFC) in 2012 where he currently serves on the Board of Directors and the Development Committee. Originally formed as the Harris County Cooperative, WGFC was chartered in 1966 as part of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, an organization they were also instrumental in forming, in 1967. WGFC was formed to provide assistance and economic opportunities to farmers and families in the rural community to gain economic viability. Eric is passionate champion of cooperative economics, working alongside the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and the Georgia Cooperative Development Center. Eric also serves on the board of Georgia Organics. He graduated from LaGrange College in 1993 with a Bachelors of Social Work.
Steven Taylor Skeleton is retired from Kentucky State Government and went to work with Kentucky State University closely with the USDA and FDA to set up MPUs in Kentucky states serving 222 farmers and 11 schools with on-demand processing of poultry, small livestock and aquaculture products.
Rachel Spencer works across the USDA's southwest region of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico to help child nutrition program operators incorporate local foods into federal child nutrition programs. She holds a degree in environmental health science from the University of Georgia and a master's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Arkansas. As a former FoodCorps service member and fellow, Rachel has direct experience working to connect kids with healthy food. Rachel is passionate about supporting farmers and helping people access USDA programs. In her spare time you can find Rachel kayaking, cooking, and soaking up all the adventures the South has to offer.
Michael Stein is an attorney and a scientist who is passionate about sustainable agriculture. He has focused his career on implementing legal and policy tools to address environmental, health, and economic issues in our food systems. He was worked extensively on food law and policy issues around the country. Currently, Michael is based in Washington, D.C. where he works with members of Congress and the USDA to advance organic and sustainable agriculture policy. He holds a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School and an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
Dolores Sutterfield is Child Nutrition Director at Harrisburg School District, where Dolores leads the child nutrition department in every aspect. Numerous programs are under her direction, such as National School Lunch Program, Breakfast Program, Snack Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and Summer Feeding Program. Dolores' passion has shown for these programs for over thirty-two years. She has served on state and national boards and committees for Child Nutrition organizations. She was named; Outstanding Director of the Year for Arkansas, in 2014. Dolores helps Child Nutrition departments across the state to purchase the highest quality products at a cost saving price. She serves as bid coordinator for the Purchasing Group of Arkansas (PGA), which includes thirty, school districts. Any free time Dolores may have, she spends with her grandchildren.
Jilo Tisdale serves as Director of the Bonner Office of Community Service and Student Development. In this role, she ensures that Spelman community service programs support individual service, scholarship programs, and special initiatives. Tisdale has been charged with supporting the growth of service learning at Spelman and managing evolution of a campus culture of service. Tisdale was born in Detroit, but has also lived in South Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, California and Georgia. She holds an undergraduate degree in comparative literature from Northwestern University, and a graduate degree in education from the University of Michigan.
Tara Treffry is the Director of Culinary for the Southwest Region of Whole Foods Market and oversees innovation and development, the LOCAL program and all culinary partnerships for Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas. In her position, Tara helps connect chefs, local producers and trends to the shelves and venues of the stores. As part of her work, Tara focuses on ensuring LOCAL growers and products specific to the states and region she serves are part of the product mix in all stores. She has a lengthy background in restaurant concept development, marketing, communications and program management. Tara proudly serves as an advisory member of the Austin Food & Wine Alliance Board of Directors as well as on the planning committee for the Austin Taste America Series for the James Beard Foundation. When not at work, Tara enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with her husband and their dog Mr. Carlos Bojangles.
Renard Turner is owner and operator of at Vanguard Ranch Ltd. Natural Gourmet Products an organic and sustainable farm raising myotonic meat goats, vegetables, herbs and Akbash livestock guardian dogs. Turner is the former president of the Virginia Association for Biological Farming and has over 20 years experience raising and training Livestock guardian dogs. Renard’s expertise extends to his innovative on-farm, value-added marketing strategy, a mobile concession food truck where he and his wife sell their meat products.
Dr. Ann Wells graduated from Oklahoma State University School of Veterinary Medicine and has more than 30 years experience in livestock production. She was in private veterinary practice for eleven years worked for a sustainable agriculture organization for nine years, and has had her own business, Springpond Holistic Animal Health, in Prairie Grove, AR, developing and educating about sustainable animal wellness plans for producers and educators, since 2005. In addition to helping farmers apply these principles in their operations, she raises sheep and beef cattle herself. The animals are raised and finished on grass and marketed directly to customers, through Ozark Pasture Beef, which she is a founding partner of. For several years, Dr. Wells also worked with Heifer International, researching parasite management strategies to reduce the need for anthelmintics.
Jim Worstell has more than 30 years’ experience developing resilient farming systems in Appalachia, Ozarks and Delta in the U.S. and in 36 counties—most recently in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Armenia, Georgia and Jamaica. He leads the Resilience Project which has explored resilient farms and communities in the U.S. for the last five years. With University of Mississippi, the project has resulted in an assessment tool which helps farms and communities assess and improve their resilience.