Skip to content
Jaylen Cates
Jaylen

Jaylen Cates

UNC School of Social Work

jaylen4nc@gmail.com
(919) 695-3391

Jaylen Cates (she/they), a Chapel Hill native, has over 15 years of experience in North Carolina’s nonprofit sector. She graduated from the UNC MSW program in 2012, specializing in Community, Management, and Policy Practice. In 2023, Jaylen transitioned back into academia, joining the faculty at her alma mater, UNC School of Social Work, where she brings her passion for community organizing and social justice to the classroom. 

Jaylen’s journey in food systems began in her youth, growing up in a family of chefs committed to ethical food practices and gaining valuable experience in various food-related roles. In 2007, she joined Volunteers for Youth as a case manager, focusing on community gardens and teaching youth about growing and donating vegetables. This experience and a commitment to fighting corporate control of our political and food systems motivated Jaylen to pursue her MSW.

Since interning with the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association in 2012, Jaylen has supported farmers and food system stakeholders in navigating state and federal policies. She left her CFSA staff position as Policy Director in 2023 but continues to consult for their Policy Team. 

Over the past decade, she has also fostered the growth of the NC Food Network as a founding member of the Community Food Strategies team. 

In 2021, she and her neighbors organized against a mega gas station proposal through a grassroots effort called A Voice for Orange County. Jaylen resides in Efland, enjoying gardening and outdoor time with her dog, Charlie. In 2023, she transitioned to her chosen name, Jaylen, from her birth name, Jared.

Jaylen Cates

Contact

jaylen4nc@gmail.com
(919) 695-3391