Skip to content

Our Team

Bee on Honeycomb with Pollen

Our team spans across multiple statewide organizations and offers a diverse skill set to best support communities working on intentional networking and food council development for more thriving, resilient local food economies and healthy communities.

AbbeyPiner_squareAbbey Piner, Center for Environmental Farming Systems

Community Food Strategies, Project Lead | (919) 515-5362

Abbey has worked with non-profits at the intersection of food and community development for nearly 10 years in both Washington DC and NC. Abbey layered her experience in Public Health with a Masters Degree in Horticulture where she studied urban agriculture and community engaged design. Abbey began work with Center for Environmental Farming Systems in 2013 working to build community-based food systems across NC. She now coordinates the Community Food Strategies project at CEFS, with an aim to develop and network local food councils across NC to increase the capacity of local communities to influence food systems change.

ShorletteShorlette Ammons, Committee on Racial Equity, Center for Environmental Farming Systems

Shorlette serves as Equity in Food Systems Coordinator, Extension Associate with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at NC State University. She previously worked as a Community Food Systems Outreach Coordinator with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at NC A&T State University. Shorlette leads the CEFS CORE (Committee on Racial Equity) team where she coordinates and facilitates racial equity trainings and ongoing learning sessions, guest lectures and develops curriculum and strategic tools to address food insecurity and other food systems disparities through the lens of structural racism. She was selected as the Center for Social Inclusion‘s 2013 Food and Racial Equity Fellow (now the Maya Wiley Fellowship), releasing a policy brief, Shining a Light in Dark Places, which is a series of interviews of southern Women of Color working in the food system resulting in policy recommendations and long-term solutions for creating a more equitable food system.  

Megan 2 Small

Megan Bolejack, Care Share Health Alliance | (919) 861-8360

Megan Bolejack serves as the Program Coordinator for Care Share Health Alliance. She provides technical assistance and facilitation to the Collaborative Networks, Healthy Carolinians Partnerships, and collective impact initiatives across the state.   Megan collects and disseminates best practices, organizes webinars and trainings, and supports communication and technology for Care Share.  Prior to joining Care Share, Megan worked for two years with the NC Division of Public Health as the WISEWOMAN Project Health Educator and Interventionist.  She worked with the Chatham County Public Health Department for six years as the Health Promotion Coordinator and Health Disparities Coordinator.  Megan received her BA in Psychology and Sociology from UNC- Charlotte and her Masters of Public Health from UNC- Greensboro.  Megan enjoys traveling and spending time with her family, friends, and dogs.  She is an active volunteer in her community.  Megan serves as Chair of the Pittsboro Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Vice Chair of the Chatham County Recreation Committee, and Secretary for the Chatham Parks Foundation.

Cates_smJared Cates, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association| (919) 695-3391

An Orange County native, Jared holds a Masters of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill and has worked in nonprofit organizations in North Carolina for over a decade. His work on the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Policy Team focuses on connecting, organizing and mobilizing community members around critical public policy issues across the Carolinas. Through his work at Community Food Strategies and CFSA, he works to raise the visibility of local farm and food issues and to support communities in advocating for fair farm and food policies. Jared lives in Hillsborough, NC where he is an active gardener and poultry parent.

JamillaJamilla Hawkins, NC Rural Center  |  (919) 250-4314

Jamilla joined the NC Rural Center in July 2017 as the senior program manager for Food and Community Development. In this role, Jamilla works with regional and organizational networks to provide resources to food business entrepreneurs and local farmers that will strengthen the local food systems across the state. She also works with communities across the state to provide community coaching and small-town business development resources.

Prior to joining the Center, Jamilla served as a community & rural development agent with NC A&T State University Cooperative Extension Program in Edgecombe County, where she focused on cultural tourism, community development, leadership development, and entrepreneurship programs within the county.


KnightGini Knight, Center for Environmental Farming Systems | (919) 515-5362

Gini brings more than a decade of project management and communications experience around agriculture, local food systems, and conservation topics. She holds a MS degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development, started and managed an organic vegetable farm, facilitated several public and private sector teams developing urban and rural conservation practices, and currently works for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems on the Community Food Strategies (CFS) team. As part of the CFS team, she works on food council development and communications to help build a stronger NC local food economy.

Amy_squareAmy? ?Marion,? ?Appalachian? ?Sustainable? ?Agriculture? ?Project | (828) 236-1282 x109

Amy brings experience both working on farms in Western North Carolina and critically examining the food system through research projects. Currently, she serves as the Research Assistant in the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP)’s Local Food Research Center where she leads the evaluations of ASAP’s internal programs, and conducts research on the social, economic, and environmental impacts of local food system development. Amy received her Bachelor’s degree in Community & Regional Planning and Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University and is currently finishing her Master’s degree in Urban Studies and Alternative Food Systems from Portland State University.