This fall, faith leaders and food justice advocates are coming together every week to participate in Come to the Table’s School for Food Justice, Faith, and Storytelling (SFJFS). Each week, cohort members tackle a different food justice topic, such as corporate consolidation, food access, and public advocacy, while also focusing on the role of story as a tool of change.
For the first time, Come to the Table opened up SFJFS to a national audience of leaders. The fall cohort features members from 19 states who work at the intersection of food justice and faith, at churches, non-profits, farms, and a host of other organizations.
Check out the graphics below to see where cohort members hail from, read bios of a handful of participants, and see the vocational settings of the cohort.
Wendy Wheeler has been involved in a variety of ministries at All Saints Episcopal Parish in
Brookline, Mass. and currently chairs the outreach activities for the church. The majority of the
initiatives have centered on alleviating food insecurity through both direct ministry as well as
political advocacy. After retiring from a 40-year career in management and marketing at
technology companies, Wendy turned her energies to causes in the U.S. and East Africa that
support social justice, especially projects that promote gender equality through women’s
education and economic opportunities. She served for seven years as an advisor to the only
women’s college in Rwanda. Julia is the marketing/development AmeriCorps VISTA at Sustaining Way, based in Greenville, S.C. She brings more than two decades of communication experience to her role, assisting Sustaining Way in building their organizational capacity to work with marginalized minority communities in the upstate of South Carolina.
Rev. Jaye White is the Director of Outreach Ministry for the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. She works with over 400 congregations and helps empower them to do ministry with their neighbors across eastern NC, to include addressing food insecurity and access. Several of her committee members are engaged with advocacy and action to address systemic injustices. I am Darryl Kenebrew, “aka Coach P,” born and raised in Chicago and moved to Dallas, Texas, in the late 1990s. Immediately became active in community development and engagement in the Black and Indigenous communities. Since 2015, I have founded and continue to manage and operate Unified Hands. This ministry focuses on providing Urban Agriculture and Health and wellness solutions in the communities of Black and Indigenous peoples of color locally and throughout America. Reverend Clifford is an experienced facilitator, leader, coach, teacher, and speaker with an extensive background in organizational development. Deb is an ordained deacon in the New York Annual Conference (NYAC) of the United Methodist Church. She partners with pastor Reverend Gene Ott at Simsbury United Methodist (SUM). She is the primary support for the following teams: Adult Spiritual Growth, Welcoming Team, Justice & Joy (Outreach & Social Justice), Friendly Visitors, and Communications. Emily Ling is an interdisciplinary practitioner and native Texan whose work centers on actively creating the Beloved Community she longs to see. She currently serves as the Farm Educator at Threshold Farm in East Bend, NC where she guides volunteers in growing organic food for marginalized families while nurturing relationships across the rural-urban divide. Her passion for building community includes hosting storytelling salons and curating special events that bridge conversations between justice, ecology, creativity and spirituality. Prior to moving to Winston-Salem in 2022, her work included serving as the Social Justice editor at the EcoTheo Review, teaching workshops for clergy on regenerative design & public policy, managing a farm that employed refugees through sustainable agriculture, and over six years in criminal justice reform and advocating on behalf of those who are incarcerated. She holds a Master of Divinity from Boston University and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas. Jodi Koeman is the Church with Community Mobilizer for World Renew, a global community development organization. She works with US congregations to learn and implement asset-based community development principles with their community. Prior to coming to World Renew she worked as the Executive Director of a non-profit farm and facilitated initiatives to increase healthy food through citizen-led efforts. She advocates for food security nationally and globally and is facilitating a Food and Faith pilot program hoping to mobilize congregations to act and advocate for food justice. Mary Jac Brennan enjoys connecting people with nature through gardening and gardens. That is where she nurtures her own spiritual life. As a landscape designer and consultant, she has helped bring change into the lives of home gardeners, school communities, and commercial entities through the design and development of sustainable and seasonally inspiring landscape gardens. She was employed by Forsyth County Extension as the first Community Garden Agent where she established the Forsyth Community Garden Program and the Community Garden Mentor Training program from 2010-2013. As a board member of the Threshold Retreat and Farm, she helps with the farm operations using organic practices to grow fresh produce to supply food pantries in Yadkin County. My name is Carol Wilson. I retired with 30 years under appointment as a United Methodist pastor. In my third-thrid of life, I am developing Table Grace which will offer opportunities for individuals, small groups, and congregations to engage in partner conversations and story-sharing that moves us toward abundant life for all. One element of this work will be exploring the personal and cultural stories that limit us and new stories that create opportunities and possibilities. The School for Food Justice, Faith, and Storytelling is a model of this kind of exploration that lets us examine where we have been, where we are, where we want to go, and who we want to be. I am grateful for the information and experience of looking again through the eyes of faith at the issues of food justice and hope to use this model to help others share in this type of experience both for food justice and other areas of social justice. Kelly Stainner began working with SoSA in 2019 as the Florida Program Coordinator and now serves as the Regional Director for the entire state. Since the beginning, she helped recruit new farmers, volunteers, and partners to ensure that food grown in Florida was used for feeding people. At the height of the pandemic, Kelly’s network of relationships helped rescue and share record levels of food with communities across the state. Rev. Sarah Macias and her husband Rodney live on Sister Grove Farm in Van Alstyne, Texas where they run a small regenerative farm and retreat center. Cattle, sheep, and chickens keep them busy. She has recently entered a DMin program at Memphis Theological Seminary which specializes in Land, Food, and Faith Formation and serves on the Board of Creation Justice Ministries as a representative of the Alliance of Baptists.
SFJFS cohort members come from three main vocational fields — faith communities, nonprofits, and religious organizations. This cohort is made up of an eclectic mixture of those three and more, with several farmers, extension agents, and food justice advocates also in the group. No matter their vocational background, each member has a passion for the work of food justice.
While applications are closed for this cohort, applications will open in late 2024 for our next cohort. Stay up to date with SFJFS and the work of Come to the Table by subscribing to our e-newsletter at