Heather Hyden is currently the Director of Community and Cultural Initiatives at North Limestone Community Development Corporation in Lexington, KY. She grew up in Memphis,TN and has over 8 years of Community Organizing, Development and Food Policy experience. She has a B.A. in Geography and a M.S. in Community and Leadership Development. Her thesis focused on how cooperative economic food distribution models such as Fresh Stop Markets support food and farm security efforts in the Louisville and Lexington food shed. She is a former staff member of Community Farm Alliance where she started the Kentucky Food Policy Network. She has also worked in school health reform at Metro Nashville Public Health Department and as the Assistant Director of the Beltline Youth Enrichment Center in Memphis. Most recently, you may have met her through the Castlewood or East End Fresh Stop Markets in Lexington, which she co-founded with neighbors as a food justice and leadership development initiative.
Lee is a professor in sustainable agriculture and agricultural economics at the University of Kentucky, with a PhD from Purdue. His professional work has been targeted toward farmer-focused marketing, including beginning farmer training, direct marketing of meat products, farm transitions and organic corn. Lee taught Global Food Issues until 2015, guest lecture on world food issues (“how can the world feed itself sustainably”) and the role of livestock systems in sustainability. Lee has worked on long term projects in Thailand and Poland and shorter projects several other countries.
Lee chairs UK’s undergrad Sustainable Ag major. At the University level, he chairs the Faculty Sustainability Committee and is former co-chair of the UK President’s Sustainability Advisory Committee. Lee serves as a Southern SARE liaison to the Land Grant Universities, a role he continues to fill.
Lee is married and has three adult children and five grandchildren – all living in Kentucky. From a community perspective, Lee has chaired the Lexington Parks Board, is on the boards of Seedleaf (community gardening) and WildOnes (native plans). Gardening, running, playing with grandkids, biking, cooking and eating good food with friends are some of the ways Lee has fun.
Bree Pearsall and her husband, Ben Abell, are owners of Rootbound Farm in Crestwood, KY. They grow certified organic vegetables and grass-fed lamb for local wholesale markets, farmer’s markets, restaurants, groceries, and their CSA program. Before transitioning to full-time farming and entrepreneurship, Bree worked for a decade as a social worker. Bree and Ben started their farming business eight years ago and have helped support the Beginning Farmer movement in Kentucky.
Bethany Pratt is the Horticulture Extension Agent in Louisville with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. There, she helps the citizens of Louisville access land to grow their own food through the Louisville Community Garden Program and teaches home vegetables gardening classes to new and experienced gardeners looking to provide food for their families. Prior to her work with Extension, Bethany worked for The Food Literacy Project, developing and implementing in-garden curriculum for youth, teaching about food systems and increasing vegetable consumption. In her free time Bethany enjoys cooking, gardening and trail running with her family.
Laura is the Program Director for Common Earth Gardens and Common Table in Louisville. Common Earth Gardens is an urban agriculture program that focuses on providing land, training and technical assistance to refugees and other residents. She manages nine community gardens and one market garden, as well as coordinates cooking and nutrition classes for youth and adults. She is also the Outreach Coordinator for the Bardstown Road Farmers Market. Previously, Laura was the Procurement Manager and then Head of Operations for Grasshoppers Distribution, managing a 500 member, multi-producer CSA.
Jenny Williams has been teaching writing and reading at Hazard Community and Technical College since 1992. She is the Chair of Pathfinders of Perry County, a non-profit citizens action group that promotes community well-being, engagement, outdoor recreation and education. The youngest of six siblings, all of whom still live in Hazard, Jenny grew up in Hazard and is deeply rooted in the community. She is a member of InVision Hazard, a downtown revitalization group, and is passionate about food—eating it, cooking it, sharing it, and trying to change policies and behaviors so that everybody, regardless of income, age, or geography, has access to fresh, healthy, local food and knows what to do with it.