Come to the Table 2017 Speakers


Listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Susan Alan
National Farmworker Ministry
Workshop | Power on Your Plate: Deconstructing the Food System and Empowering Workers
Susan is Associate Director of Operations and Organizational Leadership for the National Farm Worker Ministry. She has worked at NFWM for 15+ years in administrative, fundraising, and programmatic capacities. She has visited work sites and met with farm workers around the country. Susan believes deeply in the solidarity mission of NFWM to support farm worker led efforts to improve their living and working conditions as the power to name and solve problems should be in the hands of these men and women themselves.

Randi Byrd
UNC American Indian Center
Workshop | Native Ways: Community-Based Philanthropy and Giving
Randi is the Community Engagement Coordinator for the American Indian Center at UNC at Chapel Hill. She coordinates the Healthy Native North Carolinians Network. Ms. Byrd works closely with American Indian communities in North Carolina around health and wellness through a holistic community lens, valuing indigenous ways of knowing and practices, and facilitating and promoting tribally-vetted and culturally appropriate curricula. Her work also affirms tribal self-determination in sustainable planning and fostering mutually beneficial partnerships.

Bacilio Castro
Western NC Workers Center
Workshop | Lives on the Line: The Human Cost of Chicken

Jared Cates
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
Workshop | Food Policy Councils: A Tool for Organizing from Neighbors to Decision-Makers
An Orange County native, Jared has worked in nonprofit organizations in North Carolina for more than 10 years. 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. Jared also works to support the growing network of food policy councils in the region through his work on the Community Food Strategies team. Jared lives in Hillsborough, NC where he is an active gardener, poultry parent, and fermentation aficionado.

Carter Crain
Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC
Workshop | Boots on the Ground: Disaster Relief Experiences from the Field
Carter joined the Food Bank team in September 2008 as the Volunteer Coordinator. In 2010 he moved into the Food Resources position. He loves the challenge of getting more healthy food to those in need in North Carolina mostly through work with retailers, manufacturers, growers, pack houses and wherever else we see excess! Prior to joining the Food Bank life Carter spent 10 years as a project manager in the construction world with a year off in the middle living in South Africa. Carter stays busy away from the food bank with his new twin girls that were just added to the Crain family. Ask to see a picture or 300 if you have time.

Steve Davis
Greene County Health Care
Workshop | Boots on the Ground: Disaster Relief Experiences from the Field

Kylie Foley
Institute for Emerging Issues
Workshop | Faith Values and Food Connections
Kylie Foley joined IEI in April 2016 as the Rural Faith Communities Fellow. In a joint partnership with IEI, The Duke Divinity School, and The Duke Endowment, the Thriving Rural Communities program allows rural faith leaders to use IEI’s resources to benefit their community. Rural churches and places of worship are often anchor institutions that have the credibility and resources to partner with private, public and nonprofit partners to address civic needs in the community. Kylie works directly with faith leaders (clergy and lay) on their community development plans and provides resources according to their needs.Kylie received her undergraduate degree in international affairs and geography from Florida State University. She has previously worked with the Florida United Methodist Conference as well as UMVIM, SEJ, the short-term missions arm of the United Methodist Church.

Fruit of Labor Singing Ensemble
Workshop | Organizing In Harmony: Building Solidarity In Action Through Music
The Fruit of Labor Singing Ensemble was born out of the struggle of organizing African American workers in the “Black Belt” region of North Carolina and the South. More than twenty-two workers have participated in this dynamic cultural workers organization at various times. Recruited from workplace and community struggles, they have captured in music the community and workplace struggles of oppressed peoples and the working class. Join these talented organizers and cultural worker musicians, and get ready to raise your voice in an energetic, participatory workshop on how to lift up community and workplace struggles through music.

Leonardo Galvan
NC Farmworkers Project
Workshop | Power on Your Plate: Deconstructing the Food System and Empowering Workers
Leonardo has worked for the NC Farmworkers Project for 15 years as an outreach worker. For many years he managed projects and data collection in collaboration with Wake Forest University. Since last year, he has been managing a lay health promotor program teaching farmworkers to teach their peers. Before joining the Farmworkers’ Project, he worked in tobacco in North Carolina for 10 years.

Eleanor Graves
Renaissance Community Co-op
Workshop | Cooperatives: Lessons for Community Development
Eleanor has lived one block away from the future home of the Renaissance Community Co-op for more than 30 years. She purchased her home in Greensboro because it was within walking distance of a grocery store-the one that closed in 1998. That store closing caused her neighborhood to become a food desert. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Management from Guilford College and a Master’s in Global Management from the University of Phoenix. She retired from Lucent Technologies as a Project Manager and from the US Postal Service’s Human Resources Center. Eleanor has been a member of the Co-op since 2013 and she strongly believes that affordable, healthy food should be easily available to everyone. She smiles each time she walks pass the construction site of the co-op and is looking forward to being able to walk to the grocery store again!

Andrew Hammond
Garden of Concord
Workshop | Building Livelihoods: Generative Faith and Food Projects
Andrew is a life long learner, but has only been learning about food and faith for a couple of years. As a student at Duke Divinity School, Andrew learned about the God’s love for creation, and wondered how to take part in that love. Through the field education program at Duke Andrew learned about The Garden of Concord. In his role at the Garden Andrew continues to discover God’s love for creation above and below the dirt. He currently resides in Graham, NC with his wife Justine, and their dog Bowie.

Cliff Harvell
NC Conference of the United Methodist Church
Workshop | Boots on the Ground: Disaster Relief Experiences from the Field
Cliff has been been involved in Disaster Response and Recovery as a volunteer and hire staff for 25 years. For the past 6 years, Cliff has served as the Disaster Response Superintendent for the United Methodist Church in the Eastern half of the state. Cliff is responsible for assessing areas affected and developing a plan to assist those affected by natural disasters rebuild their homes and their lives.

Shawn Hatley
Sun-Raised Farms
Workshop | Growing Innovation: Best Practices and Lessons Learned from RAFI Grantee Farmers
Shawn joined Sun-Raised Farms as managing director, to grow agricultural opportunities on utility scale solar farms for sheep farmers. Shawn serves as interim director of the Upper Pee Dee Farm & Food Council, serves as Chairman of the Stanly County Chamber and serves as secretary of the NC Natural Hog Growers Association, a 30+ member hog growers coop selling to Whole Foods Market, Firsthand Foods and others. Shawn lives in Oakboro, NC and received his bachelor degree in landscape architecture from the NC State School of Design.

Annette Hiatt
Land Loss Prevention Project
Workshop | Up From Discrimination to a Future in Building the New Local Food Economy
Annette is a Senior Staff Attorney with the Land Loss Prevention Project. She worked with LLPP from 2001 to 2008 as an Attorney and Policy Director and rejoined the staff in 2012 as a Senior Attorney. In the interim, she worked with a nonprofit focused on assisting the Southeast Asian refugee farming community in Fresno, CA. In addition to her broad spectrum of legal work across the LLPP’s practice areas, Hiatt participates in collaborative efforts to foster low-resource farmer participation in local food systems. She is also a certified Superior Court mediator in North Carolina. Ms. Hiatt graduated with a Bachelor’s of Social Work from UNC Charlotte and a J.D. in 2001 from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Savi Horne
Land Loss Prevention Project
Workshop | Up From Discrimination to a Future in Building the New Local Food Economy
Savi Horne is the Executive Director of the Land Loss Prevention Project (LLPP), a nonprofit organization founded in 1982 by the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers to curtail epidemic losses of Black owned land and to provide legal support and assistance to all financially distressed and limited resource farmers and landowners in North Carolina. In this role, Ms. Horne develops agriculture policy initiatives to encourage minority farmers and farmers with limited resources to continue working on the land. She specializes in minority agricultural issues, sustainable agriculture, food systems policy, and environmental justice policy. Horne’s efforts have earned her awards from the Southern Region Sustainable Research & Education Program as well as from the Environmental Protection Agency. Ms. Horne received her B.A. in Urban Legal Studies from Central College in New York and her J.D. from Rutgers University.

Laxmi Hummel
Student Action for Farmworkers
Workshop | Muraling: Sharing Our Experiences Through Visual Storytelling
Laxmi has worked with SAF for 15 years. For over 8 years she co-coordinated SAF’s Into the Fields Internship & Sowing Seeds for Change fellowship programs. As Assistant Director she helps manage the organization’s finances and policies, coordinates the Solidaridad internship and co-directs the SAF Theater Group. She is from Durham, has a BA in Religious Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill, and has served on the boards of Toxic Free NC and the NC Farmworker Health Program.

Chad Jacobs
American Prawn Cooperative
Workshop | Growing Innovation: Best Practices and Lessons Learned from RAFI Grantee Farmers
Chad is a retired Sargeant from the USMC. He has been an organic prawn farmer since 2004 and is a Member of the American Prawn Coop Charter Board.

Anna Jensen
NC Farmworkers Project
Workshop | Power on Your Plate: Deconstructing the Food System and Empowering Workers
Anna has been the Executive Director of the Farmworkers’ Project since 2014. She previously worked at the Project as an outreach worker from 2008-2010. Between stints at the Farmworkers’ Project, she attended grad school and practiced her community organizing skills with Toxic Free NC. Anna grew up in North Carolina and became interested in working with farmworkers after an internship in college made her aware of this too-often hidden community in North Carolina, and she is proud to work alongside farmworkers in the search for a more equitable food system.

Jeremiah Jones
Hog Growers Coop
Workshop | Growing Innovation: Best Practices and Lessons Learned from RAFI Grantee Farmers
Upon completion of five associate degrees in agriculture at NCSU in 2001, Jeremiah began his lifelong dream to farm his family land in 2002. Since then, he has expanded from a solely grain operation to raising AWA and GAP approved hogs, cattle and laying hens. Jeremiah was pivotal in the inception of the North Carolina Natural Hog Growers Association, a cooperative of members farmers supplying hogs to niche markets, where he currently serves as President. Jeremiah is regarded as a leader and authority in the natural hog industry.

Mo Kessler
Renaissance Community Co-op
Workshop | Cooperatives: Lessons for Community Development
Mo is a queer Appalachian artist and community organizer living in Greensboro, North Carolina with a long history of organizing for food justice. Mo is a founding board member of the Renaissance Community Co-op and is the chair of the Governance and Policy Committee. Mo also serves as the co-chair of the Central Carolina Worker Justice Center and a Board Member of the Beloved Community Center. They spend most of their time making art, hanging out with their dogs, and uplifting the intersections of food access, and environmental, racial and economic justice.

Gini Knight
Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS)
Workshop | Food Policy Councils: A Tool for Organizing from Neighbors to Decision-Makers
Gini brings more than a decade of project management and communications experience around agriculture, local food systems, and conservation. She holds a MS degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development, started and operated an organic vegetable farm, managed several public and private sector teams developing stormwater and agricultural conservation practices, and currently works for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems on the Community Food Strategies team. As part of Community Food Strategies, she works on food council development and communications to support the growing network of 30 food councils across North Carolina.

Murat Kose
Zakat Foundation of America
Workshop | Boots on the Ground: Disaster Relief Experiences from the Field
Murat Kose is a happily married husband and father of five children. As a chemical engineer, he has performed extensive multidisciplinary research and founded several successful start-up companies. Mr. Kose was president of the Muslim Student Association both at the University of Rochester and Syracuse University. During his time at Syracuse University, Mr. Kose was instrumental in establishing the first Halal college meal plan in the US. Mr. Kose currently serves as the East Coast Program Director of Zakat Foundation of America. He works in various capacities for both local and international poverty related charity projects and willing to establish partnerships with other organizations for the betterment of society.

Sally Lee
Workshop | Fairness in Contracts: Partial Screening of Under Contract and Farmer Panel
Sally Lee works directly with poultry farmers and manages RAFI’s Contract Ag Reform program. She has recently completed a joint master in Agricultural Economics and International Rural Development, assessing farmer risk in American poultry production contracts while at the University of Humboldt in Berlin. She has a background in social justice, including working at RAFI previously for four years with the Agricultural Justice Project, a social justice certification program for farms and businesses.

Scott Marlow
Workshops | Recovery and Resilience: Support, Healing, and Faith in the Wake of Disaster; Disaster Relief Resources for Farmers and Communities
Scott currently serves as RAFI’s Executive Director. He previously directed the organization’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 seeking to increase the sustainability of their farms by transitioning to higher-value specialty markets. His specialty is financial infrastructure, including access to credit and risk management for value-added producers.

Cyril Murphy
Chestnut Ridge Camp & Retreat Center
Workshop | Building Livelihoods: Generative Faith and Food Projects
Working in food and music ministry, Chef Cyril shares affordable, local, sustainably raised, made-from-scratch food at Chestnut Ridge Camp & Retreat Center and throughout the Triangle. His passion for food comes from growing up on the family dairy farm where his faith journey also has its roots. Cyril also serves as Minister of Music at Duke Memorial UMC and as co-chair of the Orange County Food Council. In his 12th year of ministry his focus is on offering all people a seat a table – if you would like to share a meal or conversation around the table please contact Cyril at [email protected].

Diana McCall
John Wilson Community Garden
Workshop | Before You Get Started: Community Asset Mapping
Diana has been working on a weekly basis at the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden since 2005. Under her leadership the garden has grown to serve nearly 90 gardening families, educate hundreds of volunteers and interns annually in biointensive horticulture, and now includes over 100 fruit, nut or native tree and shrub species. She has taught cooking and gardening classes for over a decade at the Organic Growers School and other local schools and organizations. In 2016, McCall was certified in Technology of Participation Facilitation techniques which she uses to support the growth and development of regional community gardens as well as nonprofits and private consulting companies.

John Parker
Wake Forest University Divinity School
Workshop | Theology and Food: The Vocation of Communion
John is a consultant with the NC Council of Churches and the Duke Endowment, and adjunct faculty at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity focusing on collaborative community organizing, culturally appropriate development, and restorative justice. John is a Moore County native. He received a BA from Wake Forest in anthropology, international relations, and politics, a MA in applied anthropology from the University of Memphis, a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke, and a M.Div. from Duke Divinity School. John serves on the boards of the UNC American Indian Center, Repairers of the Breach, and the Sandhills Cooperation Association.

Abbey Piner
Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS)
Workshop | Food Policy Councils: A Tool for Organizing from Neighbors to Decision-Makers

Donna Poe
Garden of Concord
Workshop | Building Livelihoods: Generative Faith and Food Projects
Donna is the founder and present garden coordinator for the Garden of Concord, an extension ministry of Concord UMC planted in Eli Whitney, NC in May 2009. Donna is passionate in sharing God’s love to many through garden stewardship as well as empowering those in need with healthy food and relationships. Beginning with little to no gardening experience, Donna later went on to complete a 2-year degree in Sustainable Agriculture at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro along with an internship and later employment at two local farms followed with becoming a certified NC Master Gardener. Donna has served on the Conference planning board to include presenting at the 2015 conference as well as being a cohort with the 2015-16 Fellowship. She has also shared the garden history and plantings at many other churches and organizations to inspire others to begin, join, and/or support community gardens.

Justine Post
Resourceful Communities
Workshop | Theology and Food: The Vocation of Communion
As the Faith and Food Coordinator for Resourceful Communities, Justine works alongside rural churches as they seek to deepen their food ministries. This kind of work aims at improving access to healthy and local foods for low income consumers in rural communities. As a recent recipient of and MDiv and MSW, Justine has always been passionate about strengthening the bridge between the church and the social injustices in our world. Justine sees great potential for rural churches to improve their communities, whether it be through hosting a farmers market, holding cooking and preservation classes, or partnering with local farmers.

Genell Pridgen
Workshop | Fairness in Contracts: Partial Screening of Under Contract and Farmer Panel
Genell Pridgen is a farmer and former chicken grower for Perdue and Case Foods. Genell’s farm has been in her family since the 1700s. They are one of the oldest farming families in her area. They have always had a very diversified operation, she grew up helping her dad raise hogs, cattle, row crops, and backyard chickens that they would sell independently. Today Genell and her family are still farming, and have opened a local butcher shop in Kinston, NC, to go along with their grassfed and free-range products.

Brandon Rencher
Reverend, Blackburn’s Chapel United Methodist Church & Blackburn Community Outreach, Inc. 
Workshop | Meaningful Engagement Across Your Community
Rev. Brandon Wrencher is from a small town in the Sandhills area of North Carolina. Since 2013 he has been serving in Western North Carolina in a cross-racial appointment as pastor of Blackburns’ Chapel United Methodist Church, a once-dying rural church that in a few years has doubled its congregation and has a significant missional impact in the wider community. The growing vitality of the church is owed in large part to its partner community development ministry, Blackburn Community Outreach, Inc. (BCO) which leads programs in tutoring and mentoring youth, community gardening, hunger relief, Christian intentional community, and grassroots organizing. Wrencher presently serves as executive director of BCO.

Cristina Rivera-Chapman
Tierra Negra Farms
Workshop | Gathering Roots: Looking at Inequities in the Food System
Cristina has been working at the intersection of social justice, food systems, and education for the past 14 years. Working extensively in both rural and urban settings throughout the United States, she has provided training and facilitation to diverse groups of people and organizations. Cristina has worked as a trainer for Dismantling Racism, and she currently works at (and co-founded) Tierra Negra Farms, a teaching farm, striving to model a community controlled food system that is just and sustainable. She is a proud to be founding member Earthseed Land Cooperative, a center for community resilience committed to People of Color and other communities pushed to the margins.

Noah Rubin-Blose
Chef, Educator, and Activist
Workshop | Bread from the Earth: Stories of Faith, Food, and Justice
Noah is a chef, baker, and community organizer. He is proud to be a queer, Jewish Southerner, and is grateful to be part of Jewish Voice for Peace’s Triangle chapter and the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia. He was a founding member of Bread Uprising community bakery in Durham. He seeks to ground all of his work in collective liberation, humility, and the deep sense that we are all made in the image of g-d.

Susan Sachs
Starfire Consulting
Workshop | Meaningful Engagement Across Your Community
Susan is Principal and President of Starfire Consulting, Inc. offering organizational development services to nonprofits across North Carolina. With more than 25 years of experience, Susan provides support to nonprofits in the areas of strategic planning, program development, fundraising, grant writing, evaluation, curriculum development and training and board and staff relations as well as professional coaching to nonprofit executives. Starfire Consulting is based in Durham, NC.

Fatimah Salleh
Duke Divinity School
Workshop | Our Stories as Sacred Ground: Land, Food, and Our God
Fatimah graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Duke University in May 2016. Prior to her education at Duke Divinity School, Dr. Salleh received her PhD in Mass Communication from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2012. She is currently serving as a minister in the Berean Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC.

Julia Sendor
Anathoth Community Garden & Farm
Workshop | Building Livelihoods: Generative Faith and Food Projects
Julia is the co-farmer and program coordinator at Anathoth Community Garden & Farm in Cedar Grove, NC. Anathoth’s garden, now grown to a farm, began as a response to a murder that brought to light divisions in the community. Anathoth’s mission is to cultivate peace by using good food and sustainable agriculture to connect people with their neighbors, the land, and God. Julia coordinates Anathoth’s core production program – HarvestShare, a sliding-scale, 180-member CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program). HarvestShare creates a practical structure for Anathoth’s vision: of community members fully sharing the harvest, connecting each through other’s gifts and needs.

Camryn Smith
Communities in Partnership
Workshop | Gathering Roots: Looking at Inequities in the Food System
Camryn Smith is a proud resident of Old East Durham, and is the co-director with her husband Ernest Smith of Neighborhood Allies of Durham. She and her family have been serving in place based development work for over 10+ years. Camryn has also served within non-profit arenas for the last 15+ years through volunteerism, consulting and training by serving various non-profits in the communities in North Carolina including 2 years of service in Romania. Camryn also works directly with grassroots leaders to engage in direct community organizing to enable communities to determine their direction for themselves and helps equip those wishing to connect with under-served communities and to do so from a perspective that values the community, is culturally competent, anti-racist, holistic and honoring of the community’s gifts and assets.

Christina Theodorou
Native Seeds Giving Circle
Workshop | Native Ways: Community-Based Philanthropy and Giving
Christina serves as the Community Engagement Coordinator for the UNC American Indian Center’s NC Native Asset Coalition. A graduate of UNC-Pembroke, Christina has 12 years experience advocating for and working with American Indian populations in NC. While attending the UNC Chapel Hill, she co-founded the Alpha Pi Omega Sorority Inc. Her professional experience has included work with the NC Commission of Indian Affairs, Guilford Native American Association, LRDA and the NC Indian Economic Development Initiative in program management.

Ashton Tippins
Workshop | Hungry Kids: How To Help and Why It Matters
Ashton graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in May 2012, majoring in Spanish and Communications. She began working at TABLE- a hunger-relief organization dedicated to providing healthy food to hungry kids in Chapel Hill and Carrboro- in August 2012. TABLE is an integral part of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community, growing annually to provide healthy food and nutrition education to increasing numbers of hungry children. Ashton is married to Kyle Tippins, Youth Pastor of Integrity Church in Burlington. She and Kyle seek to follow and reflect the love and character of Jesus Christ.

Susannah Tuttle
NC Interfaith Power and Light
Workshop | Recovery and Resilience: Support, Healing, and Faith in the Wake of Disaster
Susannah is on staff of the NC Council of Churches and the director of NC Interfaith Power & Light (NCIPL) a program supporting faith communities to identify and implement positive, hope-filled responses to climate change as a moral imperative. Susannah received her Masters of Divinity from the Graduate Theological Union and was hired as UNC Chapel Hill’s first Sustainability Research Associate. She currently serves nationally on the Justice Action Mobilization Network (JAMN) executive committee and is an active member of the U.S. Climate Action Network (USCAN).

Bevelyn Ukah and Members of the Food Youth Initiatives
Workshop | Youth Voices in the Food System
Working with trailblazing youth and adult allies from Conetoe Family Life Center, Growing Change, Poder Juvenil Campesino and Transplanting Traditions, to build a strong network of youth leaders in food justice, the Food Youth Initiative (program of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems) strives to co-creating strong ties amongst youth that are doing food justice work across NC. This network of youth focuses on many issues from immigration, (migrant) farm labor rights, community ownership, and awareness raising around school to prison pipeline. They work creatively through all of these issues with food and justice as their platform. Attendees are welcome to engage these youth on their experiences, challenges and uniques opportunities in their advocacy, policy and justice work.

Craig Watts
Workshop | Fairness in Contract Poultry Production: Partial Screening of Under Contract and Farmer Panel
A fourth generation North Carolina farmer, Craig resides in rural Robeson County. He is a former contract poultry producer for Perdue Farms (1992-2016) and currently serves as an independent consultant with the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP).

Joy Williams
Workshop | The Body and Worship: Moving to Social Change
Joy is excited to call North Carolina her home. Despite the experiences that taught her to appreciate new places–from attending Wheaton College in Norton, MA where she received a B.A. in Hispanic Studies to spending time in Mali–nothing was like home. She earned a Masters of Public Health degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and a Masters of Fine Arts at UNC-Greensboro. Joy is a health educator and a dancer.


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