December 5 – 6, 2019
Rocky Mount Event Center, 285 NE Main St, Rocky Mount, NC 27801

SPEAKERS &  WORKSHOP SESSIONS

THURSDAY 10:00AM KEYNOTE

Cultivating interconnection: The power of equity work to catalyze connection

NATALIE S. BURKE, CommonHealth ACTION

Speakers

A nationally-known speaker, strategist, master facilitator, and public health leader, Natalie S. Burke is President and CEO of CommonHealth ACTION–whose mission is to develop people and organizations to produce health through equitable policies, programs, and practices.

She serves as co-director for the Robert Wood Johnson funded Culture of Health Leaders Program and directs Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Equitable Leadership.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Natalie has participated in the Emerging Leaders in Public Health Fellowship (University of North Carolina’s Schools of Business and Public Health) and New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service Lead the Way Fellowship for entrepreneurial leaders in the nonprofit sector. 

Natalie believes that to alter our collective health destiny, we must change our language; challenge deeply held beliefs about equity in our society and accept the role we each play in the production of the public’s health.

FRIDAY 1:00PM KEYNOTE

It Takes a Village: Facing the challenge of hunger head-on through policy, passion and people

JESSICA HOLMES, Wake County Board of Commissioners

Speakers

Jessica N. Holmes is a workers’ rights advocate, policy expert, and fighter for fairness and social justice.

Jessica was born and raised in eastern North Carolina.  She earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law.

In 2014, Jessica became the youngest commissioner ever elected in Wake County’s history. She is currently serving her second term as chair of the Board of Commissioners; her colleagues elected her unanimously.

Jessica has been successful with these key initiatives that support workforce development: increasing access to early childhood development programs, advocating for increased education funding across North Carolina and development of career and technical programs in high schools, and leading a campaign to provide capital funding for our state’s largest community college system, Wake Technical Community College.

16 WORKSHOP SESSIONS

THURSDAY WORKSHOP 1
1:15 – 2:30pm

NASH ROOMS 1-4

EDGECOMBE 1

I Can See Clearly Now:
How to Use Your Equity Lens

Natalie Burke,
Common Health Action

NASH 1

The Faces of Poverty
in North Carolina  

Dr. Gene Nichol,
Boyd Tinsley Professor, University of North Carolina

NASH 2

Creating Resiliency Hubs in the Face of Climate Change    

Jodi Lasseter,
NC Climate Justice

NASH 4

Lessons on Preserving Farmland Alongside Development

Margaret Sands (Triangle Land Conservancy), Tandy Jones (Grassy Ford Farm)

THURSDAY WORKSHOP 2
2:45 – 4:00pm

NASH ROOMS 1-4

EDGECOMBE 1

Incorporating Racial Equity Principles

LaShauna Austria (Alamance Food Collaborative),
Sue Perry-Cole and Kendrick Ransome (Just Foods Collaborative), Ashley Heger (Orange County Food Council) 

NASH 1

Placing North Carolina in the National Context: Lessons Learned from Food Councils Across the US  

Raychel Santo,
Food Policy Network, John Hopkins Center for Livable Futures

NASH 2

Double Up Food Bucks Impact and Implementation 

Sonsera Kiger (Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC); Christina Bailey (Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and the King St. Market, Watauga Food Council)

NASH 4

Accountability and Values in Sustain Community Food Systems Work:
A Funders’ Dialogue

Moderator Jen Zuckerman (Duke World Food Policy Center), Merry Davis (BCBSNCF); LindaJo Doctor (W.K.Kellogg Foundation); Monica McCann (Resourceful Communities); Sohnie Black (Fund for Democratic Communities)

FRIDAY WORKSHOP 3
8:30 – 9:45AM

NASH ROOMS 1-4

EDGECOMBE 1

Ancestral Awakening: Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Healing Greenspace

Mrs. Darlene Graham (Waccamaw Siouan), Mrs. Sue Young-Jacobs (Waccamaw Siouan), Mrs. Jean Brown (Waccamaw Siouan), Randi R. Byrd (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)

NASH 1

Youth-Led Food Work

Lenesha Northington
(ABC2), Zachary Clemons (ABC2), Coreya Lynch
(ABC2), Chester B. Williams (ABC2), Anthony Gregg (YA, MWYUF),
Chance Snowden (YA, MWYUF), Randolph Keaton (MWYUF)

NASH 2

The Financial Realities of Farming

Scott Marlow,
Rural Advancement Foundation International – USA

NASH 4

Reshaping Communities By Grounding the Work of Health Equity into the Community Health Assessment Process

Ann Meletzke (Healthy Alamance, Alamance Food Collaborative) & Zo Mpofu (Buncombe County Public Heath)

FRIDAY WORKSHOP 4
11:15 – 12:30PM

NASH ROOMS 1-4

EDGECOMBE 1

Race Wealth Gap Simulation

Rosa Saavedra (Bread for the World), LaShauna Austria (Benevolence Farm)

NASH 1

Advancing Racial Equity in Government

Ariana Flores & Emi Yoko-Young (Race Forward), Shorlette Ammons (Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Committee of Racial Equity)

NASH 2

Celebrating Stories of
Black Farmers

Moderator Gabrielle Eitienne (Revival Taste Collective), plus a farmer panel

NASH 4

Youth and Food Justice in NC

CEFS Food Youth Initiative – Transplanting Traditions, Jovenes Lideres En Accion (JLA), Growing Change, Men & Women United for Youth & Families representatives

FRIDAY 2:15pm IGNITE PRESENTERS

A fun, exciting series of 5-minute speed presentations highlighting community work. 

Randi Byrd

Randi Byrd,
Healthy Native North Carolinians

Healthy Native North Carolinian Network

Julius Tillery

Julius Tillery,
Black Cotton

Cotton is our Culture, Bringing Awareness to Black Farmers and Landownership

Sarah Daniels

Sarah Daniels,
Cape Fear Food Council

Food Systems Resilience in the Lower Cape Fear Area

Conetoe

Youth presenters,
Conetoe Family Life Center

Growing Food for Community Health

Ashley Page

Ashley Page,
Columbia SC Food Policy Committee

Developing Food Policy Recommendations by Hosting Food Gatherings

Growing Change

Youth presenters,
Growing Change

The Power of Transformation, Can Prisons be Flipped for Good?

SPEAKER BIOS

Jessica N. Holmes is a workers’ rights advocate, policy expert, and fighter for fairness and social justice.

Jessica was born and raised in eastern North Carolina.  She earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law.

In 2014, Jessica became the youngest commissioner ever elected in Wake County’s history. She is currently serving her second term as chair of the Board of Commissioners; her colleagues elected her unanimously.

Jessica has been successful with these key initiatives that support workforce development: increasing access to early childhood development programs, advocating for increased education funding across North Carolina and development of career and technical programs in high schools, and leading a campaign to provide capital funding for our state’s largest community college system, Wake Technical Community College.

Jessica Holmes

Jessica N. Holmes is a workers’ rights advocate, policy expert, and fighter for fairness and social justice. Jessica was born and raised in eastern North Carolina. She earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. In 2014, Jessica became the youngest commissioner ever elected in Wake County’s history. She is currently serving her second term as chair of the Board of Commissioners; her colleagues elected her unanimously. Jessica has been successful with these key initiatives that support workforce development: increasing access to early childhood development programs, advocating for increased education funding across North Carolina and development of career and technical programs in high schools, and leading a campaign to provide capital funding for our state’s largest community college system, Wake Technical Community College.
Sarah Fletcher Daniels is the founder of Heirloom Ideas Consulting, providing interim staffing and other support services to nonprofit organizations and advocacy coalitions. For most of 2019, she served as Interim Director of the NC Blueberry Festival and is an adjunct faculty member at UNC Wilmington. Sarah is also a founder and co-facilitator of the Cape Fear Food Council, based in New Hanover County. Her passion for this work developed during her time as Director of Feast Down East, a nonprofit local food distributor. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s in Public Administration from UNC Wilmington, in addition to a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the University of Georgia.

Sarah Daniels

Sarah Fletcher Daniels is the founder of Heirloom Ideas Consulting, providing interim staffing and other support services to nonprofit organizations and advocacy coalitions. For most of 2019, she served as Interim Director of the NC Blueberry Festival and is an adjunct faculty member at UNC Wilmington. Sarah is also a founder and co-facilitator of the Cape Fear Food Council, based in New Hanover County. Her passion for this work developed during her time as Director of Feast Down East, a nonprofit local food distributor. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s in Public Administration from UNC Wilmington, in addition to a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the University of Georgia.
Julius is a farmer and entrepreneur at Black Cotton in North Hampton County, North Carolina.

Julius Tillery

Julius is a farmer and entrepreneur at Black Cotton in North Hampton County, North Carolina.
The Food Youth Initiative (FYI) presenters include youth leaders from Transplanting Traditions, Growing Change, Men

Food Youth Initiative

The Food Youth Initiative (FYI) presenters include youth leaders from Transplanting Traditions, Growing Change, Men & Women for United Youth and Families (MWUYF), and Jovenes Lideres En Accion.
Ann Meletzke is the Executive Director of Healthy Alamance, a non-profit partnership between Cone Health - Alamance Regional and Alamance County Health Department. Healthy Alamance focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of health inequity. She has 20 years of federal and state funded grant administration experience. Her career has been devoted to assisting businesses, organizations, and individuals in the formation of innovative collaborations to make change. Prior to Healthy Alamance, Ann used practice facilitation to give medical providers a means to make changes that would empower their clinics to achieve best practice standards.
 
Ann currently resides near the Haw River in Saxapahaw, NC. She has an 18 year old son, William Conrad attending American University and their Great Dane, Friedrich, who competes with the blue herons as town mascot.

Ann Meletzke

Ann Meletzke is the Executive Director of Healthy Alamance, a non-profit partnership between Cone Health – Alamance Regional and Alamance County Health Department. Healthy Alamance focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of health inequity. She has 20 years of federal and state funded grant administration experience. Her career has been devoted to assisting businesses, organizations, and individuals in the formation of innovative collaborations to make change. Prior to Healthy Alamance, Ann used practice facilitation to give medical providers a means to make changes that would empower their clinics to achieve best practice standards. Ann currently resides near the Haw River in Saxapahaw, NC. She has an 18 year old son, William Conrad attending American University and their Great Dane, Friedrich, who competes with the blue herons as town mascot.
Youth Ambassadors for a Better Community (YABC) is a mission-based youth leadership group. Currently, Chance Holmes-Snowden serves as President and Anthony Gregg as Vice President of the group. Both are incredible youth leaders in their rural communities and passionate about triple-bottom line impacts that bring about social, environmental, and economic justice. YABC has a mission to increase the quantity, quality, and sustainability of community gardens across the Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus Counties region, while instilling leadership, entrepreneurship, and social skills in youth. The group recently increased its regional policy involvement and has a new partnership with NCSU’s Vacation Vittles. The youth food council has also met with local and state elected officials and hosted two youth Rural Food Justice Summits.

Youth Ambassadors

Youth Ambassadors for a Better Community (YABC) is a mission-based youth leadership group. Currently, Chance Holmes-Snowden serves as President and Anthony Gregg as Vice President of the group. Both are incredible youth leaders in their rural communities and passionate about triple-bottom line impacts that bring about social, environmental, and economic justice. YABC has a mission to increase the quantity, quality, and sustainability of community gardens across the Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus Counties region, while instilling leadership, entrepreneurship, and social skills in youth. The group recently increased its regional policy involvement and has a new partnership with NCSU’s Vacation Vittles. The youth food council has also met with local and state elected officials and hosted two youth Rural Food Justice Summits.
Rosa Saavedra, Regional Organizer (NC

Rosa Saavedra

Rosa Saavedra, Regional Organizer (NC & SC) with Bread for the World, is originally from Chile and has resided in North Carolina since 1980. Rosa has worked for over 20 years with state and regional organizations developing and executing strategic community engagement plans designed to maximize input and involvement of marginalized populations, primarily in the rural sector. She is experienced in working with marginalized or disenfranchised populations to build leadership from within. Through her work with Bread for the World Rosa is deepening and broadening community engagement in advocacy around food insecurity, food sovereignty, and hunger.
Originally from Asheville, NC, Jodi is a trainer, facilitator, and cultural worker. She is the Founder and Co-Convener of the NC Climate Justice Collective, a movement-building platform for frontline community engagement around the intersection of economic, social and ecological issues. In her previous positions as national program director with the Engage Network and director of organizational development for the international Amazon Alliance, she worked closely with hundreds of grassroots leaders in the U.S. and abroad. She consults with local, state and national groups and currently serves as the Energy Justice NC Campaign Director for Friends of the Earth. As a Social Change Fellow at Clark University, Jodi completed her master’s degree in International Development, Community and Environment. She delights in community singing, walking in the woods, and playing frame drums.

Jodi Lasseter

Originally from Asheville, NC, Jodi is a trainer, facilitator, and cultural worker. She is the Founder and Co-Convener of the NC Climate Justice Collective, a movement-building platform for frontline community engagement around the intersection of economic, social and ecological issues. In her previous positions as national program director with the Engage Network and director of organizational development for the international Amazon Alliance, she worked closely with hundreds of grassroots leaders in the U.S. and abroad. She consults with local, state and national groups and currently serves as the Energy Justice NC Campaign Director for Friends of the Earth. As a Social Change Fellow at Clark University, Jodi completed her master’s degree in International Development, Community and Environment. She delights in community singing, walking in the woods, and playing frame drums.
Emi has been at Race Forward since March 2018 and serves as the Manager of Policy and Advocacy. Her energy is devoted to supporting communities on the ground through coaching on internal and external racial equity practices, identifying model racial equity policies and practices as it relates to food and housing, and building relationships between communities and institutions to work towards their racial equity vision. Prior to working at Race Forward, Emi organized in Auburn, Washington around food access and immigration and supported a farm stand that brought subsidized, organic produce sourced by local farms to low-income residents. She currently lives in Seattle.

Emi Yoko-Young

Emi has been at Race Forward since March 2018 and serves as the Manager of Policy and Advocacy. Her energy is devoted to supporting communities on the ground through coaching on internal and external racial equity practices, identifying model racial equity policies and practices as it relates to food and housing, and building relationships between communities and institutions to work towards their racial equity vision. Prior to working at Race Forward, Emi organized in Auburn, Washington around food access and immigration and supported a farm stand that brought subsidized, organic produce sourced by local farms to low-income residents. She currently lives in Seattle.
Gene Nichol is Boyd Tinsley distinguished professor at the University of North Carolina. He was director of the UNC Poverty Center (2008-2015) until it was closed by the Board of Governors for publishing articles critical of the governor and General Assembly. Since 2015, his research has been supported by the N.C. Poverty Research Fund. Nichol was president of the College of William

Gene Nichol

Gene Nichol is Boyd Tinsley distinguished professor at the University of North Carolina. He was director of the UNC Poverty Center (2008-2015) until it was closed by the Board of Governors for publishing articles critical of the governor and General Assembly. Since 2015, his research has been supported by the N.C. Poverty Research Fund. Nichol was president of the College of William & Mary (2005-2008), law dean at the University of Colorado (1988-1995), and dean at UNC from 1999-2005. Nichol is author of The Faces of Poverty in North Carolina: Stories From Our Invisible Citizens, 2018; Federal Courts, 2015; and (co-author) Where We Stand: Voices of Southern Dissent, 2004.
Tandy Jones has lived and farmed in Chatham County for over thirty years. He has raised beef cattle, dairy heifers, and sheep, and has direct-marketed grass-fed beef and lamb to groceries, restaurants, and individuals in the western Triangle. He currently serves as Chair of the Chatham County Agricultural Advisory Board and the Chatham County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors. He has worked with Triangle Land Conservancy for over twenty years as volunteer, board member, staff member and, currently, as a Chatham conservation consultant helping to communicate the benefits of land conservation.

Tandy Jones

Tandy Jones has lived and farmed in Chatham County for over thirty years. He has raised beef cattle, dairy heifers, and sheep, and has direct-marketed grass-fed beef and lamb to groceries, restaurants, and individuals in the western Triangle. He currently serves as Chair of the Chatham County Agricultural Advisory Board and the Chatham County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors. He has worked with Triangle Land Conservancy for over twenty years as volunteer, board member, staff member and, currently, as a Chatham conservation consultant helping to communicate the benefits of land conservation.
Randi R. Byrd (EBCI) serves as the Senior Program Officer for Community Engagement at the UNC American Indian Center and coordinates the Healthy Native North Carolinians Network. She works closely with tribes and urban Indian organizations around health and wellness initiatives. She also serves as an Advisory Board member for the NC Native American Ethnobotany Project. Ms. Byrd is in the inaugural cohort of the Therapeutic Horticulture Program of the NC Botanical Garden and is enrolled in a Master’s program for Leadership for Sustainability through the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School for the Environment and Natural Resources. Probably more so than any other pathway, she is known for community-building through the art, science and interconnectivity of competition Giant Pumpkin growing.

Randi Byrd

Randi R. Byrd (EBCI) serves as the Senior Program Officer for Community Engagement at the UNC American Indian Center and coordinates the Healthy Native North Carolinians Network. She works closely with tribes and urban Indian organizations around health and wellness initiatives. She also serves as an Advisory Board member for the NC Native American Ethnobotany Project. Ms. Byrd is in the inaugural cohort of the Therapeutic Horticulture Program of the NC Botanical Garden and is enrolled in a Master’s program for Leadership for Sustainability through the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School for the Environment and Natural Resources. Probably more so than any other pathway, she is known for community-building through the art, science and interconnectivity of competition Giant Pumpkin growing.
Jen Zuckerman is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the World Food Policy Center, part of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.  Her work focuses on rooting the work of a global center in North Carolina, working specifically to support equitable food development through policy and practice. Jen comes to the World Food Policy Center from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, where she served as the Senior Program Officer for Healthy Living, focusing on increasing access to safe active environments and on providing sources for healthy, locally sourced food.

Jen Zuckerman

Jen Zuckerman is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the World Food Policy Center, part of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. Her work focuses on rooting the work of a global center in North Carolina, working specifically to support equitable food development through policy and practice. Jen comes to the World Food Policy Center from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, where she served as the Senior Program Officer for Healthy Living, focusing on increasing access to safe active environments and on providing sources for healthy, locally sourced food.
Mrs. Darlene Graham is known in her Waccamaw Siouan tribal
community as a grassroots sparkplug, kindling a passionate spirit in
her community among young and old through the Healthy Native
North Carolinians Network to instill a sense of good health among her
people, the land and waterways. Her leadership, time, labor and
welcoming spirit have been intrinsic to the success of the tribe’s
“Healing Greenspace.”

Darlene Graham

Mrs. Darlene Graham is known in her Waccamaw Siouan tribal community as a grassroots sparkplug, kindling a passionate spirit in her community among young and old through the Healthy Native North Carolinians Network to instill a sense of good health among her people, the land and waterways. Her leadership, time, labor and welcoming spirit have been intrinsic to the success of the tribe’s “Healing Greenspace.”
Scott Marlow is Senior Policy Specialist at the Rural Advancement Foundation International – USA, a non-profit organization based in Pittsboro, NC. Previously RAFI’s Executive Director, Scott also directed RAFI's 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 who are 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.

Scott Marlow

Scott Marlow is Senior Policy Specialist at the Rural Advancement Foundation International – USA, a non-profit organization based in Pittsboro, NC. Previously RAFI’s Executive Director, Scott also directed RAFI’s 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 who are 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.
Ms. Sue Young-Jacobs alongside her sister, Mrs. Jean Brown, is well
known in the Waccamaw Siouan community, most especially for her
preservation of ethnobotanical lifeways using cattail and basketry.
Her leadership, time, labor and welcoming spirit have been intrinsic
to the success of the tribe’s “Healing Greenspace.”

Sue Young-Jacobs

Ms. Sue Young-Jacobs alongside her sister, Mrs. Jean Brown, is well known in the Waccamaw Siouan community, most especially for her preservation of ethnobotanical lifeways using cattail and basketry. Her leadership, time, labor and welcoming spirit have been intrinsic to the success of the tribe’s “Healing Greenspace.”
Monica McCann serves as Associate Director of Resourceful Communities, a specialized program of The Conservation Fund, that supports a rural network of community organizations across North Carolina.  Through grants, skills building and connections to peers and resources, Resourceful Communities works to achieve the triple bottom line—environmental stewardship, sustainable economic development and social justice.  Monica is responsible for program development, evaluation, fundraising and leads the Food

Monica McCann

Monica McCann serves as Associate Director of Resourceful Communities, a specialized program of The Conservation Fund, that supports a rural network of community organizations across North Carolina. Through grants, skills building and connections to peers and resources, Resourceful Communities works to achieve the triple bottom line—environmental stewardship, sustainable economic development and social justice. Monica is responsible for program development, evaluation, fundraising and leads the Food & Farm Initiative, supporting community groups and small farmers to develop innovative food projects to serve vulnerable populations.
A Better Chance A Better Community (ABC2) was founded to empower young people through a life skills program that promotes positive values, healthy habits, and education through community development, culture, and awareness – resulting in real life power. The program involves community service learning, financial literacy, and developing and cultivating their Community Farm. The farm, located on black-owned Century Property, is a place where youth leaders can work with their peers to change the narrative around youth of color and farming. The World Changers are incredibly politically engaged and have hosted numerous Rock the Vote events. Coreya, Lenesha, and Farm Manager, Zachary, are all active in moving this work forward and taking control of their community's health and wellness.

ABC2 World Changers

A Better Chance A Better Community (ABC2) was founded to empower young people through a life skills program that promotes positive values, healthy habits, and education through community development, culture, and awareness – resulting in real life power. The program involves community service learning, financial literacy, and developing and cultivating their Community Farm. The farm, located on black-owned Century Property, is a place where youth leaders can work with their peers to change the narrative around youth of color and farming. The World Changers are incredibly politically engaged and have hosted numerous Rock the Vote events. Coreya, Lenesha, and Farm Manager, Zachary, are all active in moving this work forward and taking control of their community’s health and wellness.
Mrs. Jean Brown, alongside her sister Mrs. Sue Young-Jacobs, is
well known in the Waccamaw Siouan community, most especially for her preservation of ethnobotanical lifeways using cattail and
basketry. Her leadership, time, labor and welcoming spirit have been intrinsic to the success of the tribe’s “Healing Greenspace.”

Jean Brown

Mrs. Jean Brown, alongside her sister Mrs. Sue Young-Jacobs, is well known in the Waccamaw Siouan community, most especially for her preservation of ethnobotanical lifeways using cattail and basketry. Her leadership, time, labor and welcoming spirit have been intrinsic to the success of the tribe’s “Healing Greenspace.”
Raychel Santo is a Senior Research Program Coordinator at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, where she works on research projects related to local and regional food councils, urban agriculture, institutional food procurement, and the relationship between diet and climate change. Raychel earned her Master’s degree in Food, Space

Raychel Santo

Raychel Santo is a Senior Research Program Coordinator at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, where she works on research projects related to local and regional food councils, urban agriculture, institutional food procurement, and the relationship between diet and climate change. Raychel earned her Master’s degree in Food, Space & Society from Cardiff University School of Geography & Planning and her BA in Public Health and Environmental Change & Sustainability from Johns Hopkins University.
I am a massage therapist and local food enthusiast. I’ve been working with the local food system in Watauga County for about 6 years as a volunteer for different non profit organizations and projects including Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, the Double Bucks, Village Vision, and the Watauga Food Council. I have also been managing the Boone Winter Market and the King Street Market in Boone since January of 2019.

Christina Bailey

I am a massage therapist and local food enthusiast. I’ve been working with the local food system in Watauga County for about 6 years as a volunteer for different non profit organizations and projects including Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, the Double Bucks, Village Vision, and the Watauga Food Council. I have also been managing the Boone Winter Market and the King Street Market in Boone since January of 2019.
Sonsera Kiger is a native of the NC mountains, but has lived all over the globe. She completed her undergraduate degree at UNC-Asheville, and in Mexico, then completed her MA at Wake Forest University, and in Italy, researching the impact of solar energy in emerging economies. She has worked in the non-profit sector for 15 years, and in her current role as the Food and Nutrition Service Outreach Coordinator for Second Harvest Food Bank of NWNC, she serves an 18-county region, assisting families access better nutrition, including partnering with farmers’ markets to help double the impact for those using SNAP. She’s a member of the Watauga Food Council, and formerly served on the board of Middle of the Root.

Sonsera Kiger

Sonsera Kiger is a native of the NC mountains, but has lived all over the globe. She completed her undergraduate degree at UNC-Asheville, and in Mexico, then completed her MA at Wake Forest University, and in Italy, researching the impact of solar energy in emerging economies. She has worked in the non-profit sector for 15 years, and in her current role as the Food and Nutrition Service Outreach Coordinator for Second Harvest Food Bank of NWNC, she serves an 18-county region, assisting families access better nutrition, including partnering with farmers’ markets to help double the impact for those using SNAP. She’s a member of the Watauga Food Council, and formerly served on the board of Middle of the Root.
A nationally-known speaker, strategist, master facilitator, and public health leader, Natalie S. Burke is President and CEO of CommonHealth ACTION–whose mission is to develop people and organizations to produce health through equitable policies, programs, and practices.

She serves as co-director for the Robert Wood Johnson funded Culture of Health Leaders Program and directs Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Equitable Leadership.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Natalie has participated in the Emerging Leaders in Public Health Fellowship (University of North Carolina’s Schools of Business and Public Health) and New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service Lead the Way Fellowship for entrepreneurial leaders in the nonprofit sector. 

Natalie believes that to alter our collective health destiny, we must change our language; challenge deeply held beliefs about equity in our society and accept the role we each play in the production of the public’s health.

Natalie S. Burke

A nationally-known speaker, strategist, master facilitator, and public health leader, Natalie S. Burke is President and CEO of CommonHealth ACTION–whose mission is to develop people and organizations to produce health through equitable policies, programs, and practices. She serves as co-director for the Robert Wood Johnson funded Culture of Health Leaders Program and directs Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Equitable Leadership. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Natalie has participated in the Emerging Leaders in Public Health Fellowship (University of North Carolina’s Schools of Business and Public Health) and New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service Lead the Way Fellowship for entrepreneurial leaders in the nonprofit sector. Natalie believes that to alter our collective health destiny, we must change our language; challenge deeply held beliefs about equity in our society and accept the role we each play in the production of the public’s health.
Margaret Sands is the Conservation Manager at Triangle Land Conservancy where she helps landowners in Chatham, Orange, and Durham Counties voluntarily protect the natural resources on their properties.  A graduate degree in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, CA taught her that she needed to get back to the south as soon as possible. Originally from coastal South Carolina, she worked there managing communications and operations at a SC nonprofit environmental law firm before moving to Durham 4 years ago to join TLC and conserve wild and working lands for communities that need them.

Margaret Sands

Margaret Sands is the Conservation Manager at Triangle Land Conservancy where she helps landowners in Chatham, Orange, and Durham Counties voluntarily protect the natural resources on their properties. A graduate degree in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, CA taught her that she needed to get back to the south as soon as possible. Originally from coastal South Carolina, she worked there managing communications and operations at a SC nonprofit environmental law firm before moving to Durham 4 years ago to join TLC and conserve wild and working lands for communities that need them.
GrowingChange salvages places and people that have been abandoned by converting a defunct prison site into a sustainable farm and education center.  This is done by repurposing a decaying Brownfields site into an expansive, year-round farm and education center.  Young people on the edge of the criminal justice system will be redirected toward an engagement that gives them life skills and job training while providing clinical support therapy.

Growing Change

GrowingChange salvages places and people that have been abandoned by converting a defunct prison site into a sustainable farm and education center. This is done by repurposing a decaying Brownfields site into an expansive, year-round farm and education center. Young people on the edge of the criminal justice system will be redirected toward an engagement that gives them life skills and job training while providing clinical support therapy.
Ashley is employed with the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health. At USC she serves as a Program Coordinator for the SNAP-Ed team and works to implement nutrition policy, system and environmental change at libraries and cultivate potential new local food policy committees. In February 2019 she was appointed the Chair of the Columbia Food Policy Committee the first municipal food policy committee in the state of South Carolina.

Ashley Page

Ashley is employed with the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health. At USC she serves as a Program Coordinator for the SNAP-Ed team and works to implement nutrition policy, system and environmental change at libraries and cultivate potential new local food policy committees. In February 2019 she was appointed the Chair of the Columbia Food Policy Committee the first municipal food policy committee in the state of South Carolina.
Sohnie joined the Fund for Democratic Communities staff in 2012 as a community organizer. A native of Winston-Salem, she has lived in Greensboro for 40 years.
Sohnie brings with her a lifelong passion for justice and community organizing. At F4DC she focuses on food access, democratic ownership of natural resources, and ecological sustainability. Sohnie was part of the technical assistance team for the Renaissance Community Cooperative, a community owned grocery that recently closed after two years of operations. She believes great cities are built through organized and empowered neighborhoods that are resilient, sustainable and democratic.

Sohnie Black

Sohnie joined the Fund for Democratic Communities staff in 2012 as a community organizer. A native of Winston-Salem, she has lived in Greensboro for 40 years. Sohnie brings with her a lifelong passion for justice and community organizing. At F4DC she focuses on food access, democratic ownership of natural resources, and ecological sustainability. Sohnie was part of the technical assistance team for the Renaissance Community Cooperative, a community owned grocery that recently closed after two years of operations. She believes great cities are built through organized and empowered neighborhoods that are resilient, sustainable and democratic.
LaShauna Austria is a community organizer, farmer and ordained faith leader with a fierce commitment to, and deep experience with, building strong, vibrant, and sustainable communities as well as a demonstrated record of collaborating with rural communities, faith and non faith based organizations to address race, food justice and equity issues. LaShauna is a Community Food Strategies team member, co-founder of the Saxapahaw Social Justice Exchange and owner of Kindred Seedlings Farm. She has a professional and personal passion for, and involvement with, a variety of racial equity organizations, initiatives and food systems in the surrounding area.

LaShauna Austria

LaShauna Austria is a community organizer, farmer and ordained faith leader with a fierce commitment to, and deep experience with, building strong, vibrant, and sustainable communities as well as a demonstrated record of collaborating with rural communities, faith and non faith based organizations to address race, food justice and equity issues. LaShauna is a Community Food Strategies team member, co-founder of the Saxapahaw Social Justice Exchange and owner of Kindred Seedlings Farm. She has a professional and personal passion for, and involvement with, a variety of racial equity organizations, initiatives and food systems in the surrounding area.
Gabrielle is using filmmaking, writing, gardening, and cooking to build community and uplift these ways of being to ensure their survival.
 
Her work in creative storytelling and Diasporic grain research with James Beard Award-winning Chef JJ Johnson reconnected her to her roots in Agriculture. She has since published articles for Saveur Magazine, Crop Stories, and features in Design Sponge, Makers-Finders, and The Field Company in “At the Hearth of it” a story about her personal connection to cooking over fire.
Her most recent project “Tall Grass” which she showed as a work-in-progress at the Nasher Museum is a mix of Documentary film, photography, and textile development. This mixed medium exhibition is being conducted to preserve her family’s land, and raise awareness around the plight of displacement by “Right-of-way”, unfolding in her own community - impacting the livelihood of Elders, food sovereignty, and opportunity’s to build intergenerational wealth.

Gabrielle Eitienne

Gabrielle is using filmmaking, writing, gardening, and cooking to build community and uplift these ways of being to ensure their survival. Her work in creative storytelling and Diasporic grain research with James Beard Award-winning Chef JJ Johnson reconnected her to her roots in Agriculture. She has since published articles for Saveur Magazine, Crop Stories, and features in Design Sponge, Makers-Finders, and The Field Company in “At the Hearth of it” a story about her personal connection to cooking over fire. Her most recent project “Tall Grass” which she showed as a work-in-progress at the Nasher Museum is a mix of Documentary film, photography, and textile development. This mixed medium exhibition is being conducted to preserve her family’s land, and raise awareness around the plight of displacement by “Right-of-way”, unfolding in her own community – impacting the livelihood of Elders, food sovereignty, and opportunity’s to build intergenerational wealth.
Originally from South Texas and a proud Chicana feminist, Ariana has dedicated her professional career to serving and working to empower low-income communities of color and immigrants. She has worked as a community organizer and advocate in Boston, MA, Seattle, WA, El Paso, TX, and Oakland, CA focusing on issues such as wage theft, health care access, the rights of asylum seekers and survivors of sexual violence, and LGBTQ rights. She is the Membership Director for Government Alliance on Race

Ariana Flores

Originally from South Texas and a proud Chicana feminist, Ariana has dedicated her professional career to serving and working to empower low-income communities of color and immigrants. She has worked as a community organizer and advocate in Boston, MA, Seattle, WA, El Paso, TX, and Oakland, CA focusing on issues such as wage theft, health care access, the rights of asylum seekers and survivors of sexual violence, and LGBTQ rights. She is the Membership Director for Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE), a project of Race Forward and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. GARE assists local governments advance racial equity through changes to their policies, practices & procedures. She lives in Oakland, CA.

See past Ignite Presentations

Cecilia Polanco, So Good Pupusas

Cecelia talks about her “Social Justice Food Truck”, So Good Pupusas.

Katherine Metzo, Char-Meck Food Policy Council

Katherine shares the experience of promoting change in her county through policy advocacy.

Grace Kanoy, Davidson County Local Food Network

Grace promotes networking and collaboration to create change in her county.

Henry Crews, Green Rural Redevelopment Organization

Henry talks about the farm-community nexus and value of micro-farms at Crews Farm in Vance County.

Carl Vierling, Greater High Point Food Alliance

Carl shares the experience of promoting change through community engagement in High Point.

Jenn Weaver, Orange County Food Council

Jenn Weaver talks about connecting food councils to local government.