Board of Directors

Ryan Burnette, Board Chair | Shelby County

After coming back to the family farm he transitioned it to growing mixed produce, pasture raised poultry, eggs, and Berkshire pigs.  He is the president of the Lexington Farmers Market as well as serving on several Kentucky Farm Bureau statewide committees.  Ryan is also the director of the plant division at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and oversees many programs that directly affect farmers in KY such as the Organic Certification program as well as Produce Safety.  He is a graduate of Georgetown College and The Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. 

Kenya Abraham, Vice Board Chair | Fayette County

Along with her family, Kenya is the Co-founder of Slak Market Farm located in Lexington, Kentucky producing signature raw milk and halal meat products.. She is first a wife and mother of 6 beautiful kids. The Abrahams have been on a farm for 6 years. 

When she’s not out building relationships with other farmers, she’s at home on the farm, helping her family, and keeping up with their agritourism by mentoring young people, inspiring visitors, and promoting the success of beginning farmers and agricultural innovators. 

Kenya has a strong dedication to utilize their farm as a place for serving the well-being of not only her family but for the well-being of the community that they have built through relationship-farming. The framework of her methods stems from her entrepreneurial free spirit and her background work experience in marketing, interpersonal communications, and business management. Kenya has begun her work as a liaison to farmers to help them push beyond the racism, limitations, and bottlenecks in the industry.

Valerie Horn, Treasurer | Letcher County

Valerie Horn is a community leader who works with the Cowan Community Action Group, Whitesburg Farmers Market, and Community Agricultural Nutritional Enterprises Inc. (CANE Kitchen) to grow a healthier community. Valerie believes ailing communities have the power to heal from within.  As a former CFA employee and  Chair of the City of Whitesburg Farmers Market, she has developed partnerships that have resulted in a Farmers Market with nationally recognized incentive programs including a fruit/vegetable prescription program, a USDA SFSP, and a University of Kentucky research project. Valerie is Chair of CANE Kitchen, a commercial kitchen with an event space that provides space for local producers and events.  Valerie is the Director of Cowan Community Action Group, Inc. and oversees programming including a Grow Appalachia Site,  Levitt Amp Music Series, and nationally recognized Mountain Music School.   Valerie has served as a Director for a National Institute of Health community-based participatory research project while working at CFA and served as co-facilitator on a UK research project to promote fitness and nutrition thru the Farmers Market and CANE Kitchen. Valerie was recognized as a Healthy Communities Champion by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.  Valerie is a retired school counselor and now does community development and is a partner in Appalachian Groundswell. 

Jenny Williams, Secretary | Perry County

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 citizen 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.

Maggie Bowling | Clay County

I farm with my husband and in-laws at Old Homeplace Farm in Clay County, KY. Previous to becoming a full-time farmer in 2014, I worked at Pine Mountain Settlement School in Harlan County coordinating the Grow Appalachia program for four seasons. I was raised on a certified organic vegetable farm in Ohio and became involved with CFA shortly after moving to Harlan County, KY in 2010.

Jeong Hyun An, Ann Montgomery | Fayette County

Ann is a Korean native has been living in the US for over 20 years. She has a BA in public administration in South Korea, an MA in journalism from the University of Southern California, and a Doctorate in communication (intercultural communication) from the University of Kentucky. She speaks Korean, English, and Spanish. 

“Farming and food are the powerful tools I have purposely chosen to use in my effort to contribute to this world, helping people communicate and connect with one another as well as with nature. Currently, I am a farmer and food manufacturer with a strong focus on cross-cultural local foods. I also consider myself a local food cultural diversity activist with a global vision that is closely connected with such concepts as food justice, food equity, food sovereignty, food sustainability, food literacy, etc. I am working toward a vision of a “glocal (global + local)” food co-op connecting all small-scale farmers around the world and forming a global market that is fair and beneficial to both farmers and consumers.”- Ann

Kurt Mason | Jefferson County

Kurt is recently retired from serving as the Urban Conservationist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. He currently serves on the Kentucky Black Farmer Fund Review Committee.

Wayne Riley (Previous Board Chair) | Laurel County

A carpenter by trade, in 2004 Wayne Riley founded the Laurel County African American Heritage Center in London, KY in honor of his late aunt, Lutisha Riley Bailey, in order to preserve African American heritage and history in Laurel County. The trustees and volunteers of the LCAAHC are working to remodel the historic Mill Street Baptist Church in London, which will serve as a meeting place and public archives for the community.

As CEO/Director of the Laurel County African American Heritage Center Inc., Wayne has coordinated one oral history project, several youth summer programs, ten community-wide celebrations of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday that include speakers, music, a parade, and dinner. He is beginning his eight-year managing and directing the Grow Appalachia Food Security Project in Laurel. He has completed the Brushy Fork Institute programs for Management of Non-Profit Organizations and Ordinary Communities. He also received the 2016 Berea College Service Award and attended the 2008 inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Wayne is also well known for carrying forward his own family food way traditions of barbecue and fish fries and has been a featured demonstrator at the Kentucky Folklife Festival in Frankfort, the Redbud Folklife Festival, and the Multicultural Folklife Festival in London, among other venues.

LaToya Drake | Barren County

LaToya Drake is a University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service professional with Kentucky’s Nutrition Education Program. LaToya holds a Master of Science in Integrative and Functional Nutrition from Saybrook University, CA) and received her BS Sociology from the University of Louisville. She has held a variety of titles in her decade-plus career in public service, including residential counselor, dependency case manager, substance abuse counselor, service coordinator, Extension Agent, and most recently Program Coordinator for the KY NEP.
Much of her career has been focused on getting folks fed. Whether that be working in food service, cooking meals for residents at youth facilities, organizing a community garden, or educating folks on proper use in her role as a food educator. In addition to her role as Program Coordinator, LaToya serves on the Feeding America Kentucky Heartland Board, Barren River Area Safe Space Board, the Mammoth Cave Region Advisory Council, the Sustainable Glasgow/Farmers’ Market Board, and as a mentor at the local Boys and Girls Club. LaToya believes that all community members deserve access to fresh and healthy food and her current efforts in the community focus on the promotion of local foods, sustainable agriculture, and nutrition education.

Marcus Bernard | Fayette County

Marcus Bernard is currently an Associate Professor of Agricultural  Economics and Rural Sociology at Kentucky State University and an Interdisciplinary Research Leader Fellow (alum) with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His research focuses on resilience and food security through a community-based participatory research lens and seeks to understand how marginalized groups build community through relationships and resistance. Prior to this, he served as the Director of the Rural Training and Research Center for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/ Land Assistance Fund in Epes, Alabama. There, he led an 8-member team in developing workshops and trainings for socially disadvantaged farmers and landowners, cooperatives, outreach to low-income rural communities, and developed partnerships with land-grant universities across the Southern United States.
Marcus’ dedication to rural development originated from his own rural roots in North Carolina on his family’s small produce operation. Throughout his career, he has integrated working for and researching rural-based organizations and communities. Academically, Bernard has built on his relationships with community organizations, small businesses, and farm families to research economic development, public health, and opportunities for youth in agriculture throughout the Black Belt Region.

Ashton Potter Wright | Fayette County

Ashton Potter Wright has worked in public health and local food systems development for the past 15 years. She started her career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta working on foodborne disease outbreak detection and response and later working to develop best practices for physical activity and nutrition for childcare centers as a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Child Care initiative. Ashton launched and currently manages the Bluegrass Farm to Table for the City of Lexington where she works to cultivate new market opportunities for Kentucky farmers and on collaborative projects that increase access to and affordability of Kentucky farm food. Ashton is a Lexington native and holds a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health. Ashton lives in Lexington with her husband Jonathan and three boys—Potter, Miller, and Wheeler. 

Click here to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of the board