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 an 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 foodshed. 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 Ph.D. 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 in several other countries.
Lee chairs UK’s undergrad Sustainable Ag major. At the University level, he chairs the Faculty Sustainability Committee and is a 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.
Wayne Riley, Board Chair
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.
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.
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 1st 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.
Paul Dengel grew up on a homesteading farm in Green County where his family raised Black Angus cattle, a big garden for fresh eating and preserving, and chickens for fresh eggs. He now farms with his wife, Cortney Moses, and two children in Whitley County. They grow certified organic vegetables for farmers markets and restaurants.
Paul is a veteran of both Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. After serving four years in the Air Force, Paul went on to attend and graduate from the University of Kentucky’s Sustainable Agriculture program and received his M.S. in Agriculture from Washington State University. He recently left his job as the UK horticulture extension agent for Whitley County so that he could focus more on his farming and be a stay-at-home dad. Paul has been active with the Community Farm Alliance since 2012.
Kristin M. Smith is a farmer and chef from Williamsburg, Kentucky. She discovered her passion for communicating with honest, thoughtful, engaging food while living and working in rural China. She returned home to take over her family’s sixth-generation cattle farm, Faulkner Bent Farm, in 2009 and has been living and working in Appalachia ever since. After several years as a burger and taco tent at the local farmers’ market, Kristin transitioned to an owner and the executive chef at the Wrigley Taproom and Eatery in Corbin, Kentucky—a farm-to-table Appalachian restaurant that works with area farmers to create a sustainable, supportive economy for local foodways. When Kristin isn’t chasing cattle or sharing a pumpkin pie with her prize sow Reba Bacontire, you can find her creating a joy-filled, hospitable atmosphere at the Wrigley or traveling through Appalachia from diner to diner, looking for her next favorite food adventure.
* bio pending
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.
I have dedicated the last decade of my life to food and farming. Not many things bring me greater joy than talking about food systems. Since moving to Kentucky in 2014, I have had the privilege to work with several organizations in their efforts to create food access for limited resource Kentuckians. Not just any food, but fresh, local food. Supporting the health of individuals and families, while supporting our Kentucky farmers, is foundational for healthy, thriving communities.
In my current position with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, I focus on working with the SNAP and SNAP-eligible audience on local food system projects. I also co-own a small farm outside Winchester, KY. We just completed our first farmers market season this year. We chose this lifestyle because we desire to walk gently on this earth and have a strong need to work in tandem with Mother Nature. All this being said, food and farming are my life’s work. It would bring me great joy to serve on CFA’s board. I would be honored to commit time and attention more directly to CFA’s goals and objectives for the coming year(s).
Jeong Hyun An, Ann Montgomery
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