Below are the titles and descriptions for some of the amazing sessions we have lined up for this year’s Forum, along with bios of each of their respective session leaders.  Please note that this information is SUBJECT TO CHANGE.  Sessions are organized by category.

FARMING AND INTENSIVE GARDENING:

Small-Scale Start-Up Veggie Production: Tools and Tips — Considering starting a market garden? In this two-part session we will first discuss our process for starting our ½-acre market garden from converting the vacant lot to putting up a greenhouse and hoophouse to the tools we use and the ones we could live without. We will also discuss our crop planning and record keeping methods and will have tools on-hand for demonstration, including a paperpot transplanter, jang seeder, and quick-cut greens harvester.

  • Cheryl Nunes, River Queen Greens — Cheryl Nunes co-owns River Queen Greens (RQG) with her wife, Annie Moore. RQG is a low/no-till intensive vegetable production farm in the city of New Orleans that focuses primarily on intensively cropped salad greens, cooking greens, herbs, and microgreens. Before founding RQG in 2017 Cheryl spent 6 years farming on vegetable production farms in eastern Massachusetts.
  • Annie Moore, River Queen Greens — Annie Moore co-owns River Queen Greens (RQG) with her wife, Cheryl Nunes. RQG is a low/no-till intensive vegetable production farm in the city of New Orleans that focuses primarily on intensively cropped salad greens, cooking greens, herbs, and microgreens. Before founding RQG in 2017 Annie spent several years managing social enterprises for non-profits in and around Boston, Massachusetts.

 

Construction of a Simple, Inexpensive, and Efficient Produce Wash Station — Kristin, Darrell, and Billy will demonstrate the construction of a simple, inexpensive, and efficient produce wash station in this hands-on practical session. Materials, tools, and budgets will be discussed, as well as, potential modifications to meet the needs of those in attendance.

  • Kristin Woods, Alabama Extension — Kristin’s primary area of focus is the development of farm and food businesses in the rural area of Alabama where she lives. She specializes in helping small farmers and retail food establishments meet food safety requirements and navigate food regulations. Prior to her Extension experience, Kristin spent five years in the food industry working in process development, quality, and management. Kristin embraces a lifelong love of agriculture and currently owns and operates a small diversified farming operation in Southwest Alabama.
  • Darrell McGuire, Deep South Food Alliance — Darrell McGuire is currently the Food Safety Specialist for the Deep South Food Alliance, Chief Operating Officer for The United Christian Community Foundation, Pastor for the Bethel Hill Baptist Church, Director of Fine Arts at A L Johnson High School, and a Federal Contractor and Consultant for USDA. Mr. McGuire resides in Safford, Alabama.
  • Billy Mitchell, National Farmers Union/Local Food Safety Collaborative — As FSMA Training Coordinator, Billy Mitchell plans, organizes, and instructs Produce Safety Alliance Grower Trainings, food safety field days, and shorter FSMA or food safety workshops around the country. Prior to this position, Mitchell worked on different diversified vegetable farms in Georgia and spent a year and a half learning the ins and outs of small farm food safety at Global Growers.

 

Vegetable production methods: Hydroponic growing, no-till organic growing, and high tunnel production  — This discussion will review different types of production methods for vegetable production. What is hydroponics and which crops do well in this system? Can plants really be grown without seasonal tillage of the soil – and what would be the advantages of a no-till method of growing? Come discuss these topics and more.

  • Will Mastin, Local Appetite Growers — Will Mastin is the founder and co-owner of Local Appetite Growers. Local Appetite specializes in hydroponic lettuces, leafy greens, and other specialty crops. They also grow a variety of gourmet vegetables using no-till organic methods. Will is also a graduate of Auburn University with a Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture.

 

Transplant Production — Learn the basics of transplant production and how it can be beneficial to the grower. Pros and cons will be discussed. Learn to make your own seed starting mix, what supplies you will need, lighting and watering requirements, and temperature monitoring.

  • Sheila Dicks, Joy Haven Farm — In 2013 Sheila Dicks along with her husband Jim started farming part-time a variety of vegetables on 1/4 acre. The following year they chose certification through CGN to be transparent with their organic growing methods. Today they intensively plant 1 acre including 1 hoop house, have a 27 member CSA, and provide veggies to area restaurants.
  • Randi Carter, Owl Good Farm — Randi Carter is a beginning farmer who loves to farm and spend time in nature. Randi and her husband David have just completed their first year establishing their land. They reside and work the one-acre farm Owl Good Farm in Jefferson County, Alabama. Randi aims to support her community with fresh local food options and education.

 

Growing Cut Flowers for Markets — This panel will discuss varieties of flowers that are suited to Alabama climate, growing methods and crop planning, and tools. We will also dig into marketing for the flower grower: the ways in which one can sell flowers, types of markets, and pricing.

  • Charlie Griffin, Hepzibah Farms — Charlie has farmed at Hepzibah Farms in Talladega for 8 years, growing flowers for farmer’s markets, a flower CSA, wholesale to a flower market and to grocery stores, and events.
  • Jessica Hill, Jones Valley Teaching Farm — Jessica grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and holds a bachelors degree in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of Missouri. She has worked on mixed vegetable farms in Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Alabama.  Most recently, Jessica has been co-managing Jones Valley Teaching Farm’s 3-acre urban farm, where she took an interest in growing cut flowers.

 

Cultivating Mushrooms in the Deep South – This session will provide guidance on home/farm cultivation of mushrooms, including: matching mushrooms with tree species, timing of inoculation, substrate (i.e. log, totems, or chips), method of inoculation, care of logs, etc.  We will also cover packaging, presenting, and marketing methods.

  • Mark Hainds, Sweetbill’s Enterprises — Mark is a 6th generation farmer with BS & MS forestry degrees. His family are nine-year vendors at the Palafox Market in Pensacola, Florida where they sell mushrooms they’ve grown and foraged. He’s authored two books (Year of the Pig & Border Walk), and currently works as the Forest Technology Instructor with LBW Community College in Andalusia, AL.
  • Allen Carol, Fungi Farm
  • Anthoni Goodman, Alabama Mushroom Society — Anthoni was born and raised in the low desert of Arizona and always fascinated with the mysterious and almost mythical life of the forest. After becoming involved in a mushroom club in Arizona, he moved to Alabama to pursue his PhD in neuroscience and founded the Alabama Mushroom Society. He has since spent countless hours in the woods collecting and documenting fungi and sharing his passion with others.

 

Hemp 360 “The Full Perspective” – A full perspective of getting into the hemp business. Learn about CBD, food and industrial uses of hemp. Learn what it takes to be a grower, processor and retailer of hemp. Learn about the legal aspects, retail/marketing and risks in the hemp business.

  • Russell Bean, Tuskegee University – Russell Bean is a Resource Specialist and SARE State Coordinator with Tuskegee University, as well as an agricultural consultant and speaker. He is past President of the Alabama Medicinal Plant Growers Association. Russell and his wife Jewell operate the centennial S&B Farm in Eufaula, where they conduct monthly peer-to-peer training workshops. They are past recipients of the National Lloyd Wright Small Farmer of the Year and Alabama NRCS Small Farmer of the Year awards.
  • Olivia Cleveland, RootBound Collective — Olivia Cleveland is a middle Tennessee native and currently resides on her homestead in Northeast Alabama after living in Chattanooga for 5 years. She is a certified Herbalist and holds a degree in Dietary Supplement Science. Olivia is passionate about bridging sustainability and accessibility, preventative holistic care, and sustainable agriculture. She currently offers sliding scale, holistic health consultations, affordable products and free resources under the name RootBound Collective.
  • Coleman Beal, Bastcore Inc. — Coleman serves as CEO of Bastcore, an industrial hemp processing company he co-founded. Trusted partnerships with American Hemp Farmers are the foundation of Bastcore’s success. Coleman has over 15 years of professional experience working in the finance industry. He has worked across multiple disciplines including corporate and commercial banking, investment banking, fixed income securities, correspondent banking and payments.
  • Matthan Ibidapo, Cannabis South™️ LLC /International — Matthan Ibidapo founded Cannabis South in 2013 to focus on the commodities of the hemp and cannabis plant throughout all levels of the supply chain. Matthan was born in East Point, Georgia to Nigerian immigrants, and is a 2017 graduate of Alabama State University. Matthan is passionate about providing black folks in the south with medical alternative access, educational tools, non-supplemental therapy, and other resources through the evolving hemp and cannabis industry in America.
  • Scheril Powell, Green Sustainable Strong, LLC — Scheril Murray Powell, Esq., is an Agricultural and Cannabis Attorney and In House Counsel for Sunflora Inc./Your CBD Store. She is the Executive Director of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists of Florida and former Director of Federal Affairs for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Scheril is on the University of Florida’s Hemp Pilot Program Advisory Board, and the boards of the Hemp Feed Coalition and U.S. Hemp Builders Association. She is President of consulting firm Green Sustainable Strong, LLC, and President of Canna Headhunters.
  • Katelyn Kesheimer, Auburn Extension — Katelyn Kesheimer, PhD, is an assistant professor and entomology Extension specialist with Auburn University. She completed her graduate work at the University of Kentucky on predator-prey interactions in wheat before moving to west Texas and working in cotton. Currently, her lab conducts applied entomological research to help Alabama growers with pest problems in a variety of systems including small grains, forages, and hemp.

 

How to Create a Food Forest – Explore the method of agriculture know as permaculture. Learn how to sustain your garden without having to do work past the initial setup. A food forest combines raised bed gardening with trees and other bushes that produce fruit. We will talk about different methods and resources for starting a food forest.

  • Ash Reddy, Donoho School / ASAN Youth Council — Ash is a high schooler who enjoys gardening and wants to share how easy it is to start a food forest using permaculture in a small plot of land.
  • Vishwanath Reddy, Anniston Wellness Center — Dr. Reddy is an avid gardener who knows all about permaculture and the resources you need to create and sustain it.

 

Suitable Fruit Trees for the Hot and Humid South — Based on 40 years of experience, the speaker will give you his opinion on suitable fruit trees to grow in Alabama and Mississippi, where the climates and soils are not conductive for most traditional varieties. The emphasis will be on varieties that can be grown “sustainably,” i.e., without conventional spraying regimens, and on heirloom varieties that originated in our region, but have been forgotten. He will also talk about market potential for fruit and fruit trees.

  • Larry Stephenson, Southern Cultured Orchards & Nursery — Larry Stephenson is a long-time member of the North American Fruit Explorers and the Editor of the Southern Fruit Fellowship Newsletter. He runs a nursery business in Carrollton, MS, specializing in heirloom Mississippi and Alabama apples and pears, mulberries, figs, and Asian persimmons.

 

Vermicomposting: Building Fertile Soil Via Bioflora Regeneration — Worm castings and vermicompost teas increase the population of beneficial microbes in your soil, leading to increased plant fertility and yields. This class will explore worm husbandry and include instruction in worm bin construction, compost tea production, healthy worm diets, and turning worm waste to garden gold. Make worm casts into major players for your farm or garden.

  • Charles Thompson, Central Alabama Permaculture Enthusiasts — Charles Thompson became enamored with the notion of permanency, sustainability, and growing a healthier world in the 1990s. This work led to development of The Blue Heron Edible Forest Garden (2011), community gardens throughout the region, and the gathering of like minds via Central Alabama Permaculture Enthusiasts (CAPE) (2012).

 

Backyard Poultry Production – This session will consist of facts and tips for successful small-scale poultry production, including feeding, security and general farming.

  • Matthew Speros, Sfive Farms / ASAN Youth Council — Matthew Speros is 15 years old and a junior organic farmer at Sfive farms. He raises poultry, cattle, and crops. When he grows up, he wants to be a veterinarian.
  • Paul Speros, Sfive Farms — Paul works full-time as a Unit Manager at small hospital and has a family farm.

 

Seed Saving for a Changing Climate — The focus will be saving seed as a tool to mitigate and adapt to climate change in three ways: growing regionally adapted seeds that are more resilient to local conditions, breeding seeds that are specifically adapted to changing climates (eg. dry farmed tomatoes), and growing your own open pollinated varieties to increase biodiversity to absorb systemic shocks. We will also learn the basics of saving seed.

  • Jesse Schaffer, Jones Valley Teaching Farm — For the past nine years he has worked in a variety of capacities within the food system, from community building around food justice and education, to researching food insecurity and building educational community farms. Since graduating from CASFS in 2015, he managed Birmingham’s largest urban teaching farm and now facilitates the production of seven teaching farms across the city.

 

Black Farming. Black History. Black Culture: Sustaining and Extending Black Agrarian Legacies in Alabama — In this workshop, SAAFON (Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network) representatives will facilitate a collective discussion and storytelling circle on the Black Agrarian Cultural Roots in Alabama. As a network of small and heritage black farmers in the Southeast, SAAFON seeks to hear for black farmers in Alabama on how we can strengthen collective power, and build an alternative food system rooted in the values and beliefs of the network that we will explore together.

  • Alsie Parks, SAAFON (Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network) – Alsie Parks is an Atlanta-native, that advocates and activates the use of food as an organizing tool for healing and liberation. As a child of the south, farmer organizer and agrarian worker she serves by cultivating  intimate and responsive relationships with and for the land and our people that honor cultural traditions and practice radical resistance.
  • Whitney Jaye, SAAFON – Whitney Jaye, a native of Wilmington, NC is a farmer and founder of Semente Farm. As a food systems organizer she finds deep purpose in being in service to the land and community that supports her. Whitney sees her work through the lens of black Southern folkways that (re)center agrarianism, and through the ancestral memories and practices of coastal Carolinian culture.
  • Tammy Harris, SAAFON – Tamara “Tammy” Harris, born in Montgomery, Alabama has been a long-time advocate for environmental conservation, traditional homesteading practices, and cultural heritage projects. In 2015, she co-founded This Old Farmhouse, a nonprofit historical cultural heritage museum that serves as an agritourism attraction exploring the daily lives of small-scale West GA farming families during the early-mid 20th century.

 

Taking Action: Changing the Face of Agriculture – The face of agriculture is changing rapidly from the traditional image of what a farmer “should” look like. This roundtable will serve as a platform for radical inclusivity for Alabama agriculturalists, enthusiasts, gardeners, homesteaders, and herbalists, regardless of experience. This is an opportunity to commune and share, but also to transform our experiences into actionable steps in forming a tightly knit community of women and queer farmers across Alabama. This session is open only to those who identify as women and/or as queer/LGBTQ+.

  • Katie Willis, Burdock Book Collective — Katie Willis is a longtime farm laborer from Birmingham; she has worked on farms in New York, Minnesota, Vermont, and Alabama. She co-founded the intersectional feminist bookstore, Burdock Book Collective that seeks to cultivate a brave space that holds and honors all identities. Katie is also a student of critical race, gender, and feminist theories and brings this lens farming.
  • Olivia Cleveland, RootBound Collective — Olivia Cleveland is a middle Tennessee native and currently resides on her homestead in Northeast Alabama after living in Chattanooga for 5 years. She is a certified Herbalist and holds a degree in Dietary Supplement Science. Olivia is passionate about bridging sustainability and accessibility, preventative holistic care, and sustainable agriculture. She currently offers sliding scale, holistic health consultations, affordable products and free resources under the name RootBound Collective.

 

 

HOMESTEADING, COOKING, DIY, AND GREEN LIVING:

Fermented Foods: What, Why and How? — “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates.  This session will cover the history of fermented food and powerful reasons to eat fermented foods, plus will include a demo of how to make fermented cabbage, and samples.

  • Marsha Thadison, Yesterday’s Kitchen 4 Today — Marsha Thadison, owner of Yesterday’s Kitchen 4 Today, LLC, is a widow and mother of three. She birthed Yesterday’s Kitchen Today out her desperation to see her family and friends healed from sickness and disease, including sickle cell, high blood pressure, obesity, cancer, and diabetes.

 

Dancing with the Sun: Putting Solar Energy to Work — Come learn modern advances in using energy efficiently. Dance “The Path of the Sun” to learn how to design structures that are warm in winter and cool in summer. Explore solar techniques and equipment for cooking, transportation, ventilation, water pumping, water heating, and generating electricity. Open to everyone wanting to decrease their fossil fuel footprint and enjoy the benefits of solar energy. Individual projects can be discussed after the session or at other times.

  • Daryl Bergquist, Earth Steward Solar Consulting – Daryl Bergquist, Earth Steward Solar Consulting – Daryl Bergquist lives with partner Sara Rose, niece Lakshmi Tummalapalli, and often a WWOOFer, in a solar powered passive solar house on their homestead at Common Ground Community in Blount County Alabama. Daryl has worked with solar and energy efficiency for 40 years and served in leadership roles for the American Friends Service Committee and the Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce.
  • Lakshmi Tummalapalli — Lakshmi Tummalapalli is from Memphis, TN and currently living with her Aunt and Uncle in an intentional community called Common Ground in Alabama. She volunteers with Friends of the Locust Fork River and is a Bridge Builder Alumni member. Lakshmi is attending Wallace State Community College, building towards a career in graphic design.

 

Natural Organic Soap  — What we put ON our bodies is as important as what we put IN our bodies.  Not only can people make their own soap, but doing so opens up endless opportunities for creativity.  Learn the benefits of essential oils, oats, coffee grounds, and more.  There’s always something new to learn!

  • Alexandria Moore, ASAN Youth Council — I think it’s very important what we put in our bodies and also what we put on our bodies. I hope to teach people to make better choices but also help them learn the benefits of natural medicines, etc.

 

Welding Basics for Small Farmers, Gardeners and Homesteaders — In this session we will explore the basic principles of welding for repairs and fabrication. From a basic understanding of the different types of welding and what applications they are most commonly used for, to a hands-on demonstration. We will go over what types of welding machines many people find most affordable and applicable for their farms as well as tips and techniques for increasing your skill level on making repairs.

  • Jesse Murphy, DSR Farms — Jesse and Jessica Murphy began what is now DSR Farms back in 2013. Often telling customers they are the ‘’accidental farmers’’, what started with 5 backyard chickens for some fresh eggs chaotically spiraled into 1500 laying hens. Now a more diverse multi species farm, using holistic practices they continue learn, grow and expand to better serve their community.

 

Soul Food: A Diasporic Cooking Demo – This session seeks to transform tradition by rediscovering how our ancestors healed and communicated through food in the most challenging of circumstances, and illuminate how we can honor those traditions in accessible and nourishing ways. Participants will learn the anthropological history and nutritional value of familiar foods like okra, peas, and turnip greens while learning how to prepare these foods in simple, nourishing, financially accessible ways. Cooking is an invaluable component of civilization, and this demo teaches simple skills with affordable ingredients to inspire participants to reclaim these foodways for themselves and their families.

  • Olivia Cleveland, RootBound Collective — Olivia Cleveland is a middle Tennessee native and currently resides on her homestead in Northeast Alabama after living in Chattanooga for 5 years. She is a certified Herbalist and holds a degree in Dietary Supplement Science. Olivia is passionate about bridging sustainability and accessibility, preventative holistic care, and sustainable agriculture. She currently offers sliding scale, holistic health consultations, affordable products and free resources under the name RootBound Collective.

 

Wild Foraging Mushrooms in the Deep South — This session will examine common mushroom species that may be collected, eaten, and sold with minimal risk in the Deep South. We will also cover packaging, presenting, and marketing methods for foraged mushrooms.

  • Mark Hainds, Sweetbill’s Enterprises — Mark is a 6th generation farmer with BS & MS forestry degrees. His family are nine-year vendors at the Palafox Market in Pensacola, Florida where they sell mushrooms they’ve grown and foraged. He’s authored two books (Year of the Pig & Border Walk), and currently works as the Forest Technology Instructor with LBW Community College in Andalusia, AL.
  • Allen Carol, Fungi Farm
  • Anthoni Goodman, Alabama Mushroom Society — Anthoni was born and raised in the low desert of Arizona and always fascinated with the mysterious and almost mythical life of the forest. After becoming involved in a mushroom club in Arizona, he moved to Alabama to pursue his PhD in neuroscience and founded the Alabama Mushroom Society. He has since spent countless hours in the woods collecting and documenting fungi and sharing his passion with others.

 

Planning Your Raised Bed Garden — This session is for those who want to learn about home gardening using raised beds. We will talk about what supplies and other tools you need to start and keep the garden going. There will also be an opportunity for participants to share what ideas they’ve used in their own raised beds, such as materials, designs, and what to plant in each season.

  • Jayvonte Grant, 4H / ASAN Youth Council – Jayvonte has worked with 4-H for 6 years to help to the people in his community, by giving to others. Jayvonte loves agriculture because he loves to grow Corn and sweet potatoes.
  • Daniel Sullen, 4H – Daniel Sullen was born and raised in Tuskegee, AL. He earned his BS Degree in Horticulture from Fort Valley State University and is MS Degree in Horticulture from Auburn University. He is currently working on his PhD in Adult Education at Auburn University.

 

 

COMMUNITY FOOD SYSTEMS – community/school gardens, farmers markets, and more

A School’s Journey Toward Food Sustainability: An Agricultural Heritage Lost and Regained — This session is an invitation to participate in an open review and discussion of our ongoing journey at Hamilton High School, which was founded in 1895 as one of the first Agricultural schools in Alabama.  We will discuss how, over the last three years, they have worked to help students of all ages to gain a better understanding of what they are eating and what they should eat to be healthy, how they can grow food themselves (no excuses), and outreach to help others do the same.

  • David Markham, Hamilton High School — Born as the 3rd generation of a farming family in northwest Alabama, David Markham moved away and worked for 20 years as a geologist / engineer before beginning a teaching career at Hamilton High School. He teaches science and engineering classes, using technology along with hydroponics and aquaponics to attract students to potential careers as well as helping them to develop a much-needed sustainability-based, farm to table mentality.
  • Chelsea Humphres, Hamilton High School, Marion County Board of Education – Chelsea Humphres worked from 2009-2014 as an ER nurse, after which she became a Career Technical teacher in Health Sciences for the Marion County Board of Education, where she inspires students to follow careers in the Health Sciences. Of all her classes, at Hamilton High School, she is particularly passionate about teaching and promoting garden-to-table nutrition, as it relates to personal and community health for her students and her own children.

 

Farmers Co-operatives, Consumer Co-operatives:  Working together to Build Community Based Enterprises — Learn how Co-operative economics can be a tool to create an environment for farmers and consumers to work together voluntarily to build a fair, stable and community-controlled food system. The Co-operative model can be applied to various endeavors to meet the particular needs of its membership. Several Co-operative types such as worker co-operatives and financial services (credit unions) will be discussed. Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality and solidarity.

  • Willie Torrey, Cross Culture Church Community Development Corporation — Willie Torrey is an advocate for healthy eating and a proponent of organic and sustainable farming. He takes to heart the quote ascribed to Hippocrates, “Let thy food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.” He believes consumers and farmers can create adaptable local food systems through the development of community owned farmer and consumer cooperatives.
  • Pam Madzima, Federation Of Southern Cooperatives

 

What Are the “Non-Negotiables” of Community-Driven Farmers Markets? — Local? Direct? Community-led? What sets open-air farmers markets apart from other outlets? What are the agreements that each market can offer to their community (both vendors and shoppers) in terms of the mission and goals of their market? This workshop will offer a brief overview of some of the rules and directives that markets are setting their work apart and driving community evaluation along with some exercises to take home. Bring your market’s mission and rules and your dreams for your market to this discussion, but leave any inertia at home.

  • Darlene Wolnik, Helping Public Markets Grow & Farmers Market Coalition — Darlene Wolnik has been a national advocate and trainer for farmers markets for more than two decades. Her background contains both extensive community organizing initiatives and innovative small business projects, before serving 10 years as the Deputy Director for New Orleans-based Market Umbrella. Darlene joined FMC in 2015, designing the Metrics program and providing technical assistance to FMC members.

 

All Around the Farmers Market — Learn the history of the Poarch Creek Farmers Market, challenges faced, and collaborations established to increase health and wellness opportunities in our community. Through round table discussion participants will share ideas and possible solutions to common problems and concerns associated with local farmers markets.

  • Janet Shultz, Poarch Band of Creek Indians — Janet Shultz is a graduate of the University of Florida with a BS in Agriculture with major studies in Animal Science and Horticulture. She has been employed by the tribe for 5 years and currently she manages the Poarch Creek Farmers Market, teaches agriculture classes to the youth attending the PBCI Boys and Girls Club, and promotes agriculture sustainability through the Community garden program.
  • Wynell Bell, Poarch Band of Creek Indians — Wynell Bell is the “Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country” Grant Coordinator for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PBCI). She has held this position since October 2015. Ms. Bell holds a Masters’ Degree in Education from Troy State University, a Bachelor of Science Degree from The University of South Alabama and has done post graduate work at The University of Alabama.

 

Low-wealth Community Gardening — Learn the nuts and bolts of starting (and maintaining) a successful community garden. Learn how to set realistic goals, play to your community’s unique strengths/circumstances, what supplies/resources you need to get started, and how to sustain your garden (the soil and the people!) for the long term. Attendees will be given information on how to recruit children, youth and family participation and how to remain patient during the growing & harvesting seasons. Learn about how the Trinity Gardens community garden project has improved health and food security, promoted cultural preservation, and much more, in one low-wealth community.

  • Leevones Fisher, Bay Area Women Coalition — Leevones Gillespie Dubose-Fisher serves as Executive Director and Housing Coordinator for Bay Area Women Coalition. She has a lifetime record of serving communities not just in Mobile, but across America. She has served on the boards of the Presbyterian Self Development of People (SDOP), the Mobile Chamber of Commerce, and Mobile Area Water Sewer Service.  She is a wife, mother of eight grown children, 28 grandchildren, and countless spiritual children.

 

Land and Water Connections : Panel discussion of the interconnections and the concerns in Alabama

  • Kathleen Kirkpatrick, Hometown Action — Kathleen Kirkpatrick is a community organizer and sustainability consultant currently living in Wetumpka, Alabama. With a passion for rural communities and environmental justice, she leads electoral programs to build multiracial working class power in the Deep South as Strategic Initiatives Director for Hometown Action.
  • Beth Walton, Oyster South

 

Garden to Table Cooking for the Classroom – In this hands-on session, you will experience the joy of preparing a dish with fresh ingredients straight from the garden, learn some tips and tricks for involving children in the classroom kitchen, and experience how nutritious and fun it can be to cook with seasonal ingredients. This is a hands-on session; come ready to help prepare three different dishes! This is an excellent session for educators, home-schoolers, or anyone who wants to cook seasonally with young folks.

  • Cami Cleveland, ASAN Youth Council — Cami is a 15 yr old 10th grader in high school. She was born in New Orleans and now lives in Alabama. She loves cooking and has experiences with cooking through 4-h. She has taught classes on cooking and baking and adores the topic.
  • Nicole Gelb Dugat, Schoolyard Roots — Nicole is the Program Director for Schoolyard Roots. She has taught at a non-profit farm in Massachusetts, at a Permaculture homestead in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, and as the Lead Garden Educator for the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans. Nicole holds a degree in Experiential Education from Fairhaven Interdisciplinary College of Western Washington University. Nicole likes to practice yoga, paint with watercolors, grow flowers, make cyanotypes, and spend time with her family.
  • Natalie Wulf, Schoolyard Roots — Natalie joined Schoolyard Roots as an AmeriCorps VISTA in 2016 after graduating from The University of Alabama with a degree in civil engineering. In her new role as an education coordinator, she’s excited to continue sharing the wealth of knowledge and inspiration that can be experienced in gardens with students across Tuscaloosa. In addition to tending to gardens, Natalie enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, spending time with friends and family, and exploring Tuscaloosa (by foot and car).
  • Taylor Walters, Schoolyard Roots — Taylor is a Kansas City native and recent college graduate of South Dakota State University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Science. After graduation, thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail! In her free time, she enjoys finding new trails to run, trying new recipes, and walking her dog, Hans.
  • Tom Rathe, Schoolyard Roots — Tom is SYR’s Education Coordinator. An avid gardener, outdoor enthusiast, and advocate of hands-on education, he loves to share his enthusiasm with the children of Tuscaloosa. When he’s not in the garden, Tom can be found mountain biking, fishing, playing music, or spending some quality time with his dog, Dolly.
  • Hannah Locke, Schoolyard Roots — Hannah grew up in Vermont and got her degree in Biology from Castleton University. She began her career in education working with City Year-Washington D.C. She has also taught preschool and worked as an Environmental Educator at Rock Eagle 4-H Center, where she taught outdoor education classes to children K-12. When she isn’t in the gardens, she loves to travel, crochet, and sit down with a good book.

 

Our Story: Black-Led, Ag-Based Community Development in Rural Alabama – Tori Ratcliffe runs Hannah Bell Farms, an organic produce and pork farm in Camden, AL.  She works to help her neighbors – many of whom struggle with hypertension and diabetes – learn how food can be a tool to help manage those issues.  She also runs Wilcox Gifted, an entrepreneurship program where she teaches youth in 3rd-12th grades how to grow, harvest, and sell crops, and to save the money they make doing it.

  • Tori Ratcliffe, Hannah Bell Farms – Tori Ratcliffe, owner of Hannah Bell Farms in Camden Alabama started her organic farm after years of being a farm labor provider. Studying conventional and organic farming as well as providing labor to both, she fell in love with organic farming. With the belief that healthy eating will promote healthy living, she’s introducing CFSA (Consumer & Farmer Supported Agriculture) to the community in which she farms. Ratcliffe has an organic produce and pasture pork farm and a youth entrepreneurship program in Wilcox County, where she is growing produce specifically for what ails you.
  • Canashia Grace, Hannah Bell Farms – Canashia Grace is a student in the Wilcox Youth Entrepreneurship Program, founded and directed by Tori Ratcliffe, owner of Hannah Bell Farms in Camden, Alabama. Canashia is being groomed by Ratcliffe to be an organic produce, cattle and poultry farmer as well as how to manage a farmers market.