Roland McReynolds is the Executive Director here at CFSA. This self-proclaimed “wild-eyed idealist who loves to eat good food” came to CFSA in 2007. As a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law and a licensed attorney, Roland has brought a passion for and expertise in responsible food and farm policy to the organization, making CFSA one of the leading voices in the local food safety debate today. But where did this passion originate? Roland was fortunate enough to spend a year living in the south of France, where he and his family experienced firsthand a culture that values its farmers and the quality of its food—a culture that looks a lot like the kind of regional food system CFSA is striving for in the Carolinas. Working with CFSA is his way “to help make the world a better place, to promote great food and farms, and to show my kids that people can choose to make a difference.”
Sarah Sinning is a former intern with CFSA, who, when she’s not attempting to make the world safe for the consumption of real, actual food, enjoys long walks on the beach, a good Dickens novel now and again, and the occasional Leslie Nielsen flick. She received her MA in English from the University of Kansas and her Associates in Culinary Arts from New England Culinary Institute in Vermont.
She is also the former editor of The Sweet Potato.
Matt Lardie grew up in Connecticut and traded his Yankee roots for a Southern education, studying Political Science, Latin American Studies, and Spanish at Elon University. After graduating and moving around the country (Arizona, Brooklyn, back home with the parents), he settled in Durham. Matt currently works as the manager for Hillsborough Cheese Company where he spends his days wrist deep in curd. A local food devotee, he is a part-time student in Central Carolina Community College’s Sustainable Agriculture program, previously served on the Board of Directors for the South Estes Farmers Market in Chapel Hill, and is a volunteer with various local organization including Crop Mob and Slow Food Triangle. You can read his thoughts on the local and national food scene, agriculture policy, and try his recipes at his blog, Green Eats.
Kaynan Goldberg is a 12-year-old girl from Raleigh who will try almost anything once. (Maybe only once, but still….) She wants everyone to know that farm-fresh food is great.
When she isn’t researching, doing schoolwork, or blogging, Kaynan likes to read, write stories, practice TaeKwonDo, and cook. She plays with her two little sisters and her adorable baby brother. Kaynan also blogs about real food at her website, Veggies Go Crunch.
Melissa McKinnon grew up in Ohio and consequently loves the farm country! She moved to Greenville, SC to attend university in 1999 and has been in the Carolinas ever since, spending four summers and two full years on staff at a camp in Brevard, NC, where she met her husband Bryan, then moving back to Greenville, SC. Some of her earliest childhood memories involve sitting on the kitchen counter, sipping coffee and helping her mother create delicious, homemade meals. As she got older, her passion for the kitchen was not deterred. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Family and Consumer Sciences (though she will always say she learned more from her mother and grandmother than from any class she took). She was determined to combine her love for cooking and the English language, so she began to blog. As part of a personal journey, she started exercising and eating healthier, which included shopping at farmers’ markets and eventually beginning the conversion to organic produce. Currently, she’s working to attain her National Personal Trainer Certification, while working full-time as an Executive Assistant at a finance office. She is passionate about family, faith, fitness, and food, especially fresh, local organic food! She’s on a journey to simplify, to “lean” her life, and she would love for you to join her on that journey here.
Psychologist by day; food blogger, dancer, painter, writer, indie movie watcher by night. My name is Tiffany Griffin, and I heart numbers, revolutionary memoirs, my Tai-chi-yogalates class, old school hip hop, Marisa Monte, and quantum physics. But preparing, sharing, consuming, and writing about food are my true favorite past times. Born and raised in Springfield, MA, my schooling took me to Boston and then to Michigan, and now I reside in North Carolina, where the local food and friendly folks are rocking my world. Over the past decade, my work (and play!) has taken me throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. My food mimics the colors and passion of my two favorite cities–Salvador (Brasil) and Paris. If I had to be a fruit, I’d be a mango; if I had to be a vegetable, I’d be a Brussels sprout; and if I had to be an animal, I’d be a lioness. If I had to eat only one thing for the rest of my life, it’d be yellow rice and gandules.
After a stint in corporate marketing, then owning a retail business, Traci Nachtrab found her calling back home in Louisburg, NC as a farmer. As a true southern girl, she can frequently be heard saying “Hey ya’ll and heehaw” and she’s currently on a campaign to have “Seven Bridges Road” be declared the Southern National Anthem.
Ahhh…the peaceful life of farming. What?! Did anyone tell that to the cows that get out at 1am in the morning? The donkeys missed that bulletin as they bray and kick each other at all times of the day. The bank didn’t get the memo, as our loan payment is still due at the beginning of the month even if we didn’t sell a thing at the market last Saturday.
The peace comes at the end of the day when you’re tired, but filled with satisfaction at all you accomplished that day. The peace comes when you’re sitting on the tractor at 8:00pm staring at the stars, the sound of crickets and the smell of fresh hay enchanting you. The peace comes when you look at your happy animals munching away at the grass, flopped down in a mud hole, or braying for your loving attention when they see you. The peace comes when a customer tells me our beef is the best they’ve ever had.
Traci and her husband, Calvin, own Lucky 3 Farm – a small grass fed, grass finished beef farm – their own slice of heaven in beautiful Franklin County NC. Between herding cows and feeding their other crazy farm animals, Traci writes about life on a small farm on their farm blog.
Jackie Blackwell grew up with two parents from Iowa, which would of course lend one to believe that farming was in her blood; but a ‘girly’ mother and ‘artistic’ father led them to the big city life up north. After moving away to the University of Georgia on a swim scholarship, Jackie intended to pursue a large animal pre-vet major, assisting in a bucking bull breeding program with her uncle’s stock in Dodge City, Kansas (yes, there really is such a place). Organic Chemistry thought otherwise, so with a degree in Speech Communication and Sociology, the path to scratch her farming itch traveled to her backyard on Paris Mountain in South Carolina. Jackie’s small chicken flock, consisting of an assortment of breeds, not only provides friends and family with a steady stream of the most beautiful and delicious eggs, but also a daily stress release with their antics. Her stories of the flock as well as reviews on socially conscious activewear clothing can be found at her website, The Good Yogi.
Rochelle Sparko settled in (and fiercely loves) downtown Durham after growing up in western Massachusetts, attending college in New York City, law school in Washington, D.C., and practicing law in Honolulu, Hawaii. While she’s still far from home geographically, she’s getting closer all the time in spirit—her grandpa and her dad were both involved in farming. Rochelle and her partner, Will, live on the Darko Urban Farm, where they spend their evenings and weekends learning to apply permaculture principals to their small, urban backyard with the goal of growing all their own fruits and vegetables.
Ali Callahan is entering her second season as the Market Manager for the Riverfront Farmers’ Market in Wilmington, North Carolina. Ali holds an MA in Socio-ecological Food Studies from Goddard College. Ali sits on the Board of Directors of Tidal Creek Co-op and SENC Foods Processing and Distribution Center. She has been interested in sustainable agriculture for many years and has worked both as a farming intern and as a produce manager. Above all, Ali loves to eat fresh, local food!!
Susanne Blumer is the Hen-in-Charge at Huckleberry Farm, which she owns with her husband and two children. Susanne spent years modeling and even owned a fancy bridal salon (yes, she’s a big fan of girly things), but then her husband got a sudden yearning for land; so they left the city and moved to a 110-acre farm in Greenwood, South Carolina. She turned in her heels for a pair of pink farm boots, bought a few chickens and fell in love with both the way of life and her flock. Those few chickens have turned into a business. Huckleberry Farm sells its gorgeous rainbow-colored eggs commercially and to local customers and is part of the Locally Grown network. They are also serious chicken breeders, specializing in Silkies (the Muppets of the farm), French Marans, and Ameraucanas. She has almost convinced her husband that playing with the chickens is serious work and that they really do need 200 chickens. Almost. In addition to the chickens, they are raising goats, sheep and donkeys, have planted an orchard and vegetable garden, and have plans to move into commercial flowers in the next year.
Julia Mangan is a stay-at-home mom of her toddler daughter, Marcella. She blogs over at A Little Bit of All of It where she writes product and book reviews, shares her thoughts and experiences on babies, birth and parenting and also food, Christianity and other random stuff. She is passionate about attachment parenting, breastfeeding beyond infancy, baby-led weaning in relation to starting solids, cloth diapering, bedsharing/co-sleeping and natural childbirth.
Linda Watson is the chief cook and researcher for Cook for Good. Her mission is to help people save money, eat well, and make a difference by cooking delicious, seasonal food from scratch for very little money. Linda teaches cooking classes and speaks at conferences from coast to coast, from food banks to Slow Foods conviviums and from the national Share Our Strength Conference of Leaders in Washington D.C to the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Collaborative in Sacramento. Linda also uses her background in politics and business to advocate for just, sustainable food systems. Get her new book from Da Capo Press in June 2011—Wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet—all on $5 a Day or Less.
Celeste Beck is an organic and locally-grown product of North Carolina, where the simple act of eating can be a religious ritual. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she lived in Japan for two years, completed a master’s degree in Arts in Education at Harvard University, and worked in the Harvard Psychology Department. Returning home to the Triangle area, she is on a new culinary adventure. One of a growing number of people diagnosed with an intolerance to wheat, she is on the lookout for safe and delicious gluten-free meals, and encourages restaurants to proudly and transparently list their menu ingredients. To explore the Gluten-Free scene, she visits local restaurants, inquires about the menu options, and documents the experience for others who have the same dietary restrictions on her blog, Sweet Tea & Wheat-Free: The Quest for Gluten-Free Food in the South. She writes, “My goal is to exalt what is available in these restaurants, rather than complain about what is not. I’m a firm believer in the old American proverb: ‘you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.’ If we are the best advocates for our own health and happiness, it will behoove us to stay positive.”
My name is Carissa Leventis-Cox, and I believe in raw, fresh, organic, local/in season, unprocessed food. A culinarian with cooking school, restaurant and catering backgrounds, I am also a certified Ayurvedic Nutrition Therapist and co-author of Yoga for Cancer. After my son’s early multiple allergies, eczema and health scare, I wanted a long-term health solution for my family and found it in raw vegan foods. Today, I am a raw vegan mama, while my ultra-supportive husband and son are at least 50% raw. I believe my family is healthier both short- and long-term because of the addition of enzyme-rich living foods. I am also a passionate Mama In The Kitchen. I want to educate other mamas on how to create a disease-free, healthy life by adding more raw fruits and vegetables in their family’s diets.
Nicole Sanchez, born and raised in Virginia, has been a plant and flower enthusiast since early childhood. Some of her earliest memories include following her grandfather around his sizable vegetable garden in the Shenandoah Valley and asking him constant questions as soon as she was able to walk and talk. That early interest in vegetable gardening led directly to a career in horticulture. In addition to completing a 2-year associate’s program while in high school, Nicole attended the University of Tennessee, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture and a master’s degree in Entomology and Plant Pathology. She has recently joined the ranks of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, serving as Commercial Horticulture Agent for Jones, Craven, Greene, Lenoir, and Onslow Counties. Nicole is married to SSG Jorge Sanchez of the US Army, and they have a four year old son, a one year old daughter, five parrots, and three dogs. The family will soon reside in Pollocksville, NC, where they look forward to starting a new fruit and vegetable garden all for themselves!
Lynn Byrd, seasoned restaurateur, published author, organic gardener, and community health educator, loves to foment food revolutions. Currently earning a Master’s Degree in Health and Nutrition Education through Hawthorn University, Lynn helps people develop a consistently high quality of life in an ever-changing environment by providing tools fundamental for vibrant health, including techniques for keeping the fox out of the hen-house. Check out more of Lynn’s musings on her blog, The Byrdfeeder.
Paul Garrett is a writer, farmer and retired educator living in the Upstate of South Carolina. He is an award winning chef and a certified barbecue judge. He raises pastured poultry and sells organic vegetables and fresh eggs from his farm near Travelers Rest. He is a fan of down home, simple but well-prepared food. His blog, The Caroliner Diner, features his wry take on local cuisine.
Kristi Horvath hails from the alpine desert of Southwest Colorado but currently resides in Durham, NC. She is not, by trade, a writer, a photographer, or a chef, but enjoys blogging about her quest to eat locally at 30 Pounds of Apples. Her background is in theatre (stage management, specifically), and she works more than full-time coordinating performing arts events at Duke University.
When not at work, Kristi can frequently be found tromping around her plots in the Briggs Avenue Community Garden , cooking and photographing recipes in her poorly-lit apartment kitchen, and learning about new ways she can support growers and companies committed to food good for the earth, the body, and the soul.