Vivian Howard: Chef and Owner of Chef and the Farmer Restaurant; Star of Emmy Award Winning Star of PBS Show, A Chef’s Life. Kinston, NC
In 2005, Vivian, and her now husband, Ben Knight decided to return to Vivian’s roots to open a farm to fork restaurant in the small town of Kinston, NC. They opened Chef & the Farmer in the summer of 2006 serving local, seasonal, creative cuisine. Over the past eight years, Chef Howard has developed strong relationships with local farmers making it possible to source over 70% of the restaurant’s foodstuffs from within 60 miles. Chef and the Farmer has become beloved by locals and a destination for diners all over the state. Vivian Howard is also the star of the new Emmy Award-winning PBS show, "A Chef's Life," and a spokesperson for southern foodways.
Dr. Michele Pfannenstiel (“Dr. HACCP”): Dr. Michele Pfannenstiel is Dirigo Food Safety’s President and CEO
Dr. Michele Pfannenstiel is a certified HACCP auditor through ASQ. She serves as the President of the Maine chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, and as the Director of Food Safety for the national Farmer Veteran Coalition. A sought after speaker, Dr. P has taught food safety workshops at the Stone Barns Center, Pigstock, the Wallace Center Food Hub Conference, the New England Meat Conference, and the Empowering Women Veterans in Business and Agriculture Conference.
Craig Deihl “The Real Deihl”: James Beard Award Finalist, 2010 Chef of the Year by American Culinary Foundation, Chef and Owner of Artisan Meat Share and Cypress Restaurant
A devote of locally grown foods and the Sustainable Seafood Initiative, Deihl started the CSA-like Artisan Meat Share in 2009 to help boost the availability of local charcuterie (and offer a helping hand to struggling farmers). From 2009-2013, participants received local charcuterie and local farmers, in turn, received support from the increased product demand in what Deihl describes as a win-win scenario for both. In late summer 2014, Artisan Meat Share opened at 33 Spring St., providing a place where guests can enjoy all that AMS has to offer—all the time—including award-winning charcuterie, freshly butchered meat and delicious sandwiches. To date, Deihl has produced over 90 types of charcuterie which have been prepared, stored and cured in-house at Cypress.
Kyle McKnight: Executive Chef Highland Avenue
A graduate of Johnson and Wales University, McKnight’s career led him through Europe, Charleston, Miami, St. John and Argentina before he found a home at Hickory’s acclaimed Highland Avenue Restaurant. McKnight has cooked alongside acclaimed chefs Tom Colicchio, Sean Brock, Chris Edwards, Theirry Vergnalut and Phil Corr, and was named a Best Chef America 2012 to 2014 for his commitment to the slow food movement and his advocacy of local farmers in both Wilmington and Hickory, North Carolina.
Richard Huettman: Processor and Co-owner of Acre Station
Acre Station Meat Farm is a family-run business in eastern North Carolina founded in 1977. Acre Station is a USDA inspected, red meat slaughter and processing business that handles pork, beef, sheep, and game. Services include fresh meat cuts and smoked/other value-added processing. Acre Station processes for about 125 customers, including farmers and wholesale buyers.
Kathryn Quanbeck: Program Manager of the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network
Kathryn develops educational content related to local and regional meat processing issues and coordinates outreach and educational activities for NMPAN. She also provides consultation in business development and management, policy and regulations, and marketing. She has a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of California – Davis and was formerly a livestock economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Jessica Moore: Founder of Philly CowShare
Jessica Moore founded Philly CowShare in 2010 after 6 years of organizing her friends to share a purchase of a locally-raised, grass-fed steer. Her family of five eats a Quarter CowShare a year. Each time she needed to restock her freezer, she put the call out “Who wants in on a cow?” Jessica’s background in information technology has helped to make Philly CowShare a model for consumer-friendly web-based meat businesses.
Jamie Ager: Farmer/Owner of Hickory Nut Gap Meats
Jamie Ager is a fourth-generation farmer from Fairview, N.C. He and his family own and operate Hickory Nut Gap Farm, where they raise and market 100 percent grass-fed cattle, pasture-raised pigs, chicken, and turkey. On the farm they also have U-pick blueberries, black raspberries, blackberries, and apples. Jamie has a B.A. in history and environmental studies from Warren Wilson College and is a 2006 graduate of the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Agriculture Leadership Development Program. Jamie also serves on the Humane Society of the United States Advisory Board Council.
Eliza MacLean: Owner of Cane Creek Farm
Over the years, Eliza has managed rotating herds of pasture raised pigs, cows, and goats, along with flocks of chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, and guinea hens. A Carrboro Farmers’ Market vendor since 2004, MacLean comes to Market every Wednesday and Saturday with a variety of meats and eggs and also direct markets a small selection of fruits and vegetables. In conjunction with Ross Flynn of Left Bank Butchery, Eliza has expanded Cane Creek’s local meat products with the launch of a mobile butcher shop in 2015. Cane Creek, farmer, and Left Bank, processor, now own a mobile butcher truck bringing high-end charcuterie direct to their customer base at the farmers market.
Tyler Cook: Butcher at Foothills Local Meats, Meat Instructor
Tyler Cook has many years of experience working in whole animal butcher shops. Cook loves salt, smoke and bacon. His expertise can vary across species creating a name for himself as an expert ‘mixed meat maker’ and a ‘sausage math’ connoisseur.
Alan Wade: State Director of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Division for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Alan Wade is the State Director of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Division for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This agency is responsible for educating and enforcing the state and federal laws/regulations designed to protect public health by ensuring that only wholesome, properly labeled meat and poultry products are produced and sold to the general public. Mr. Wade joined the Agency in 1987 and became the State Director in 2013. Prior to becoming the State Director he served several roles relating to food safety inspection services and also oversaw the compliance and evaluation section of the Agency for 17 years. His work on behalf of food safety has been recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
William Lyons and Marie Williamson: Farmer/Owner of Bluebird Farm
Farmers Marie Williamson and William Lyons work full time on their farm, and their greatest pleasure is feeding folks wholesome foods and managing a healthy farm ecosystem. After studying biology, ecology, and sustainable agriculture and gaining experience on farms around the United States and in Europe, Marie and William returned home to Western North Carolina in 2009 and started Bluebird Farm. Over the years, Bluebird Farms has been working toward greater efficiencies on the production side of while taking records that allow for proper pricing of products and sharing their tactics for building farm economic sustainability.
Jennifer "Tootie" Jones: President of Swift Level Land and Cattle, Chair of the WV Food and Farm Coalition Meat Working Group, President Greenbrier Valley Pasture Network
Tootie Jones wears many hats, and in between her board meetings and work developing standards for animal husbandry, land and water conservation and assisting local producers of pastured meat animals with approved processing, marketing and the ability to sustain ones love of a farming life, Tootie is the executive director of all property and beef operations, marketing and sales at Swift Level Farms. Swift Level Farm is a grass fed beef farm in W VA, where she specializes in pasture production and 40 day dry aged beef. Tootie is working closely with her processor and producer base in the Appalachian region to advance pastured meat production.
Tolo Martinez: Butcher and Meat Cutter, Cliff’s Meat Market
Meet the butcher that’s filling a growing Spanish need in rural NC. Tolo Martinez has recently received star appeal as the main character in the new James Beard award-winning Southern Foodways Alliance documentary work, Un Buen Carnicero, produced by Vittles Films. Tolo Martinez, a butcher behind the counter at Cliff’s Meat Market in Carrboro, North Carolina who joined the store when customers began asking for cuts in Spanish. Notes the SFA, "For nearly 18 years Tolo Martinez has worked behind Cliff’s counter, learning "country" English and giving college professors, blue-collar workers and long-time patrons exactly what they want—and always with a smile." Tolo is interested in building his business connecting local farmers to the Latino markets in NC to help move whole animal.
Tina Prevatte: Co-CEO of Firsthand Foods
Firsthand Foods is a branded Meat company that sells pasture-raised, local beef and pork to over 80 customers throughout North Carolina. The company sources live animals from a network of over 60 family farmers and does the legwork to market and distribute a wide range of fresh cuts and value-added products. As Co-CEO of Firsthand Foods, Tina is responsible for financial planning and management, sales and marketing efforts, building and maintaining internal business systems, co-leadership of day-to-day business management activities and decisions, and providing strategic direction toward long-term business goals. Tina has an MBA from UNC's Kenan-Flager Business School along with a Master's from UNC-CH's Department of City and Regional Planning. She also holds both a B.A. in Women's Studies from UC Santa Cruz and a B.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley.
Amanda Carter: General Manager of Foothills Pilot Plant, Marion, NC
Foothills Pilot Plant, LLC (FPP) is located in the foothills of western North Carolina and opened in January 2012 to serve independent poultry and rabbit growers with USDA- and FDA-inspected processing. FPP processes chickens, turkeys, rabbits, and other specialty fowl, for more than 260 farmers. Carter plans to expand Foothills Pilot Plant services to include small ruminants and pigs in the upcoming years.
Tanya Cauthen, Professional Butcher, Owner and Operator of Belmont Butchery, Richmond, VA
Tanya Cauthen worked as a chef at The Red Oak and the Frog and the Redneck before starting her own catering company, Capers Catering which led her to opening her own butcher shop, Belmont Butchery. The focus of the butchery is organic and humanely raised meat. Tanya connects her customers to small family farms and teaches them the value of understanding where food comes from and how it should really taste.
Sam Suchoff: Owner of The Pig Restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC, and Meat Buyer for Weaver St. Grocery in Carrboro, NC
The Pig is a barbecue restaurant off Weaver Dairy Road in Chapel Hill, North Carolina that features whole-hog barbecue made with local, pasture-raised, antibiotic and hormone free pork. In addition to working with local pastured hogs and the NC Natural Hog Growers Co-Op, Sam has his hand in all sorts of innovative food projects across the Triangle. In addition to direct marketing his own value-added products, he currently serves at the meat buyer for Weaver St. Market and is a purveyor for fresh and value-added meat to the co-op.
Meredith Leigh: Writer, Author, Food and Farm Specialist
Meredith Leigh is a writer, and a food and farming specialist. She has worked as a farmer, butcher, teacher, non-profit executive director, and chef, all in search of realistic solutions for sustainable food. Author of “The Ethical Meat Handbook.”
Dr. Peter Ballerstedt, Barenbrug USA’s Forage Product Manager
Dr. Peter Ballerstedt earned his bachelors degree at the University of Kentucky and his graduate degree at Oregon State University. He has an extensive background in forage production, utilization, and forage-based livestock production systems. He was the forage extension specialist at Oregon State University from 1986 until 1992. His personal experience has led him to re-examine human diet and health.
Dr. Blake Brown: PhD, Professor and Extension Economist, Agriculture and Resource Economics, North Carolina State University
Since 1991 Dr. Brown has been a professor and extension economist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. He has spent much of his career as a policy analyst working on farm policy, particularly tobacco policy. In 2009 in collaboration with the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission he created the North Carolina Value-Added Cost Share Program. In 2014 Blake became director of the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Commission Agricultural Leadership Development Program. Dr. Brown earned his Ph.D. in Economics from North Carolina State University. Before becoming a professor at NCSU, he worked as an area extension agent providing farm management assistance in central North Carolina.
Dr. Mathew Poore: Extension Livestock Commodity Coordinator, Professor & Extension Ruminant Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University
Dr. Poore specializes in livestock production (beef, sheep, goats), forages and byproducts in animal production systems, and nutrition of beef, sheep and goats. Research includes optimum protein, energy and mineral supplementation of forage based diets, digestive interactions between fiber, starch and protein. In addition to his other responsibilities, Dr. Poore is Director of Amazing Grazinga statewide pasture-based livestock educational initiative and serves as Chair of the NCSU Extension Animal Systems.
Ryan Butler, Co-owner of Green Button Farm
Ryan attended Davidson College and earned a B.S degree in Agricultural Business Management with a concentration in Agricultural Economics from North Carolina State University. Over his fifteen year working career, Ryan has worked for the USDA, big chemical, an international grocer, and worldwide financial institutions. Those experiences have provided first hand knowledge of how our current agricultural system is broken and where we are as a nation of people starved for local, safe food. Ryan is the CFO (Chief Farming Officer) of Green Button Farm. He has a seemingly innate ability to care for animals and increase soil fertility. He finds it extremely rewarding to grow food for people he loves. You should see the animals follow Ryan around the farm. Their mutual love and respect for one another is evident.
Johnny R. Rogers: Owner Rogers Cattle Company LLC, NCSU Amazing Grazing Program Coordinator
Johnny and his wife Sharon own Rogers Cattle Company LLC (RCC) in Roxboro, NC. Currently, RCC raises Red Angus cattle, Katahdin Hair Sheep and forest finished pork. RCC markets cattle and hair sheep as well as pasture raised beef, pork and lamb from the farm and at farmer’s markets. Adaptive grazing techniques are used to optimize livestock performance and forage utilization while improving soil health.
In March 2015, Johnny accepted the opportunity to work with the NCSU Amazing Grazing Program. In addition to spending time working with other farmers as they improve their farm resources, Johnny coordinates the Conservation Innovation Grant Project (CIG) focused on “Improving Soil Health on Pasture Based Livestock Farms”.
Johnny serves on the board of directors of the NC Forage and Grasslands Council, NC Cattleman’s Association and the Red Angus Association of America.
Bryan Blinson: Executive Director of the NC Cattlemens Association
The North Carolina Cattlemen's Association is your organization which coordinates the promotion of beef and the beef industry. The NCCA, through its membership dues, assists cattlemen in legislative, regulatory, and production issues. The leadership on the Executive Committee of NCCA is made up of cattlemen elected by their peers, who are directors of the Beef Board and the dues and federation division of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association as well as at-large members representing North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. All of these are North Carolina cattle producers who serve to represent you. These, along with the elected officers, make a highly respected organization that functions to serve the cattle industry.
Steve Saltzman: Director, Healthy Food System Finance for the Self-Help Ventures Fund/Self-Help Credit Union
Self-Help has provided more than $6.5 billion in financing in its 35-year history. Steve has financed more than $300 million in community development businesses and projects in 15 states. Steve and his team are committed to finding financing solutions to strengthen local, regional and national food value chains. Areas of interest and past lending include niche meat processing facilities, food hubs, and cooperative groceries. In partnership with academic institutions and NGOs such as NC Choices, we work in tandem to identify the next frontier of businesses that will grow a healthy food system. Self-Help works closely with the USDA Office of Rural Development in North Carolina and nationally.
Marshall Stewart, Ed.D., as Special Assistant to the Dean and Director of College Leadership and Strategy in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State University
Marshall serves as Special Assistant to the Dean and Director of College Leadership and Strategy in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State University. In this role, he focuses on
· Development of new and innovative leadership development programs for the College’s internal and external stakeholders.
· Implementation and communication of the College’s Strategic Plan.
· Development of strategic partnerships and strengthening external relations at the state and federal levels for the College.
He serves as the Director of the Association of Public and Land grant University’s Food Systems Leadership Institute (FSLI), which provides executive leadership education for food and agriculture systems leaders in higher education and industry.
Marshall holds BS, MS and Ed.D. degrees from NC State University. Since starting his career as a high school agriculture teacher in 1986, Marshall has served in senior staff, volunteer and board positions in non-profit and education organizations at the national and state levels. From 1988 through 1993, he served as a part of the executive leadership team with the National FFA Organization and from 1994 through 1995 served as Executive Director of the National Association of Agricultural Educators. Starting his university academic career in 1996, he served as a faculty member in Agricultural & Extension Education with statewide leadership responsibility for the state agricultural education program until 2005. On July 1, 2005 he began his tenure as Department Head (Youth, Family & Community Sciences), State Extension Program Leader (4-H/FCS) and Associate Director (NC Cooperative Extension Service), all roles he held simultaneously until taking his current position on January 1, 2014. He is widely recognized for his knowledge and expertise in leadership development, strategic planning, trends in agriculture and education, and legislative advocacy. In addition to his professional responsibilities, he enjoys serving in various roles at New Hope Baptist Church, fishing, watching college basketball, eating “Eastern North Carolina” barbeque, time with his wife Jan, son John, friends, and serving as an author, workshop presenter and speaker.
Marshall hopes his words and actions will encourage, equip, inspire, influence and educate others so that they can reach their potential. A leader, teacher and servant, Marshall lives by the belief that “to those much is given, much is required”.
Steve Whitmire: Farmer, Ridgefield Farm/Brasstown Beef, 1973 BS Ag Economics from North Carolina State University
Whitmires have been farmers since coming from Germany to the USA in 1778. The current farming operation, Ridgefield Farm, was founded in 1954 at Brasstown, North Carolina; in the Blue Ridge Mountains, located in the extreme southwestern part of the state; touching Georgia and only a few miles from Tennessee. The 1,020 acre farm is split about 50%/50% between pasture/hayfields and forested land, consisting of steep rolling hills; with 800 foot elevation differences on the farm. An additional 300 acres is leased in the area for growing Non-GMO corn for corn silage and from which the cover crop of barley is harvested as hay.
Steve is involved with the Blue Ridge Mountain Cattlemen’s Association, American Angus Association; and served for five years on the board of directors of the Braunvieh Association of America. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) from 2009 to 2015, serving as President 2013/2014.
Ann Rose: Owner of Rose Mountain Butcher Shoppe
Farmer and now butcher shop-owner, Ann runs Rose Mountain Butcher Shoppe in Western North Carolina. As a farmer, Ann owns and operates Rose Mountain Farm, a pasture based, forest floor finished hog farm in Ashe County, located in the northwest mountains of North Carolina. As a butcher shop owner, Ann purchases the meat for the shop locally, and buys from a network of over 50 farmers. Ann looks forward to deepening and developing valuable relationships with livestock farmers and processors and increasing her knowledge about how to scale up her processing.
Abdul Chaudhry: Owner of Chaudry Halal Meats, Siler City, NC
Chaudhry Halal Meats is a family-run business in central North Carolina that has provided USDA-inspected, halal slaughter and fresh cut processing of beef, goat, and lamb for more than 15 years. Chaudhry processes for about 150 customers, including both farmers and wholesale buyers.
Emily Lancaster Moose: Director of Communications and Outreach, Animal Welfare Approved
Emily developed an interest in food, sustainability, and agriculture at an early age during summer visits to her cousin’s hog farm in eastern Virginia. After studying sustainable agriculture in college, Emily gained hands-on experience working at several farms in her native state of North Carolina. Based in Pittsboro, NC, Emily now works with AWA to build consumer awareness of the program and provide farmers with the highest level of service and support, leading AWA’s four-region Outreach Team, guiding communications, and developing new programs and initiatives within the program. She also coordinates AWA’s Labeling Assistance program.
Rick Larson: Senior Vice President and Director of Strategic Initiatives, Natural Capital Investment Fund
Mr. Rick Larson is the Senior Vice President and Director of Strategic Initiatives at Natural Capital Investment Fund. Previously, he served as a Director of Sustainable Ventures at the firm. He is responsible for North Carolina and Tennessee activities and is NC Program Director. He has worked with NCIF since 2007, when he opened the NC operations of NCIF. He manages NCIF’s strategic initiatives and impact measurement efforts, assists NCIF’s President with fundraising and outreach, and originates loans in the Southeast. He has led investments in enterprises in the following sectors: agriculture and local foods; logging; recycling; limited resource farmers; and eco-tourism. He has over 25 years of experience in community development and business finance, focused on supporting rural entrepreneurs, green businesses, and social ventures. Mr. Larson holds an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management and a B.A. from Amherst College in Amherst Massachusetts.