In our immersive Food Justice Leadership Program participants will develop social justice leadership skills while learning about food policy, hunger, farming, foraging, gardens, distribution networks, cooperatives, climate change, racial justice, gender equality, and food sovereignty. Through firsthand encounters with folks working on the frontlines of change participants will speak to food activists and leading scholars, visit incubator farms, urban farms, food banks, and think tanks all concerned with advancing equitable food networks. In addition to daily site visits, participants will engage current literature, lead discussion, and hear from a series of speakers engaged in food justice activism and scholarship all in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia.

Meet the Fellows

Emily Tingler is a native Appalachian and a 2017 graduate of West Virginia University with a B.A. in International Studies and a B.A. in Geography. During her time at WVU, she focused her energy on learning and advocating for migrant, environmental, and food justice initiatives within the Appalachian region and beyond. After graduating, she moved to Zambia to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer. As a Food Security Specialist, Emily served as a resource to community members to assist in the implementation of culturally appropriate and sustainable income generating activities and conservation farming methods. In her free time, she enjoys exploring outdoors, playing music with friends, and learning about different cultures and perspectives. She hopes to develop a holistic understanding of food justice in West Virginia by deepening her knowledge of West Virginian food policies, local urban farms and gardens, and other related concepts so that she can be a better advocate for her community.

Heather Kinney is a current graduate student at University of Kentucky in the Community and Leadership Development Program. She moved to Kentucky about five years ago to work on a farm where she fell in love with Kentucky and agriculture. As someone who wanted to farm, but did not have access to land, she started thinking about how she could engage in work around local food systems. She has volunteered with community gardens, gleaning organizations, and a cooperative economics market to better understand how we can make our local food systems more just. Her thesis research is centered on exploring agricultural livelihoods in Harlan County through oral histories. She loves to garden and to talk to other people about growing food. She can also be found walking her hound dogs around the neighborhood or chasing chickens around her backyard.

Steven Hyden is a non-binary trans-gender person who is passion about creating social mobility and equality for the people. Steven grew up in Memphis Tennessee were they learned what it was like to be poor, have low access to basic necessities, and the value of community. Steven later moved from Memphis to Nashville were gentrification was in full force. This is were Steven got involved in several community projects working to increase food access for working class neighborhoods. Starting with a Non-profit Farm named Old School Farm Steven volunteered in every moment they had. Soon after, Steven started a small community garden in their front yard, a compost system at a local community garden, and was all over Nashville Teaching gardening. Steven was on a mission to bring to the people of their community something they never had growing up, good food. After finishing their degree in horticulture, Steven was offered a opportunity to teach garden education to low-income kids in Austin Texas for Americorp. Steven spent a year teaching kids how to cook and excitement of the science behind growing food. Currently Steven runs a small business designing edible landscaping and goes to Texas State full-time for urban and regional planning. Steven is regularly involved in several LGBTQ community projects that work to not only protect the community but bring greater equality and opportunities to it as well.

Kayla Archibald-Hall is a student at the University of Colorado Boulder. Currently, Kayla is pursuing a Master’s degree in sustainable food systems. As a farmer and a student, her goal is to establish healthy communities built on resilient food systems. She believes that resiliency can be created by building strong relationships between community members and the land.

Mary Champlin is from Western North Carolina, and she am a rising junior at North Carolina State University majoring in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Mary spent most of her childhood going on hikes, helping her parents tend to the garden, and exploring the outdoors which all sparked her interest in environmental studies, sustainability, and food systems. So far in college she began contributing towards the development of sustainable food systems by volunteering at community gardens, shopping local at farmers markets, and working on a sociology food systems research project. Aside from food systems, Mary loves cooking, camping, listening to country music, and hanging out with her pet cat named Bento. She cannot wait to attend the 2019 Appalachian Food Justice Fellowship program to increase her awareness of food justice and bring useful food system skills to her own local community.

Chase Hand is from the Twin Cities in Minnesota USA. They identify as non binary transgender and use they/them pronouns (Chase accepts she/her for convenience). Chase currently resides in St Paul and work as a PCA caregiver to her elderly mother Mary Jane hand. Chase is currently enrolled in St Paul community and technical college as an undergraduate, and is in her 3rd semester at college. Chase has two cats and have grown up as an animal lover and friend of nature. Chase struggled with mental illness throughout her life, and has Bipolar 1 and autism. It’s Chase’s goal to spread awareness about mental health issues alongside natural issues and environmental concerns. She also knows how to draw and make art, and her preferred medium is watercolors!

Annie Chester is from the Pittsburgh, PA. She went to college at Ohio University (OU). With a strong local foods movement, OU offered Annie the chance to learn about farming and food systems. After graduating, Annie started expatalachians, an Appalachian journalism project with fellow OU alum. Her writing for expatalachians reflects her interest in the environment and culture. Annie has also traveled extensively and learned about local food systems abroad. Most recently, she lived in Corsica, France for 7 months. In September, Annie begins a master’s program at the University of Edinburgh where she will study Environment, Culture & Society. Through her studies Annie hopes to learn more about sustainable food systems. She wants to apply these skills in Appalachia, where she wants to return to in the future.

Miriam Ariño is 25 years old, and is from València, a city in the east-coast of Spain, which is very linked to its ancient and threatened orchard. She has a BA in Geography and Environment at the University of Valencia and participated in an Erasmus Exchange Program at the University of Loughborough (United Kingdom). Miriam also held an MSC in Territorial Planning from the University of Barcelona and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Human Geography at the University of Barcelona. She’s always been interested in agriculture and food issues. Her curiosity for developing sustainable cities and passion for learning about nutrition has led her to investigate about the actual agro-food system, its challenges and future solutions. She is very interested in finding alternative pathways to our industrialized food system that is causing an ecological (climate change) and health catastrophe (obesity and malnourishment). Miriam is excited about attending the Appalachian Food Justice Institute and learning about global food policy, cooperatives, distribution networks and food sovereignty through meetings with food activists and leading scholars. This fellowship will be a great opportunity to meet people from around the world and to discuss how we can reorient human systems to achieve better human and planetary health.

Olivia Glaser is originally from Los Angeles, California. Olivia is a junior at Skidmore College and is currently traveling through three countries on a study abroad program this semester. At school she is an Environmental Studies major and Sociology minor, and is particularly interested in people’s relationship with the environment. Olivia’s interests in food security and food justice began in quite a convoluted way, and she felt the need to further investigate food systems and distribution while she had a job as a cook on a sailboat last summer. Olivia loves learning and experiencing the food systems of the countries she has visited throughout the study abroad program(Ecuador, Malawi, and then Italy in April), and she is excited to expand upon her learning in the Appalachian region.

Valerie Slone is a horticulturalist and Masters candidate in Nutrition & Food Science at West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, where she works as a Graduate Research Assistant. She is a West Virginia native. Valerie has worked in many roles at the WVU Organic Research Farm, including research assistant, CSA coordinator, and volunteer. She is dedicated to enhancing her life and the lives of others through connecting with and experiencing food. She enjoys backpacking, river floating, and a deep exhale.

Whether it’s making pottery, helping children with their homework, or working a part time job, Ti’Anna Haning is always passionate about what she is doing. She is originally from Southern California, but she considers her hometown to be Pass Christian, Mississippi, where she graduated high school. This semester, Ti’Anna will be graduating a year early from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology. She has a sixteen-year old sister and a three-year old brother, and she is ready to help make changes in order for them to live in a better world! Ti’Anna pursued this fellowship because she believes food has the power to build relationships and community. With the help of a professor, she finally discovered that her interests in food, health, justice, and community are all intertwined within the Food Justice Movement!

Olivia McConnell is Morgantown native and graduate from West Virginia University with a degree in Geography. She is committed to bridging the gap between producers and consumers to improve food access within her community and   has collaborated with Mountain Harvest Farms and The Shack Neighborhood House to raise money for the Farm to Families project which subsidizes CSA shares for families with limited access to food. She has previously managed the Morgantown and Westover farmers markets and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Conscious Harvest Cooperative. She is a backyard gardener and local foods enthusiast who has been playing in the dirt since her early childhood. Her favorite plants include forsythia, ramps, and redbud trees. In her free time she enjoys being outside, cooking, and playing board games.

Grace Dever is from Cleveland, Ohio and she absolutely loves to be outside! Grace’s favorite activities include traveling, rowing, running, hiking and biking. She is a part of the WVU Women’s Rowing team. She has four other siblings and a dog named Coco. She is currently studying Environmental Protection with a minor in German. She is very passionate about the environment and is an avid supporter of doing what we can to preserve our earth!

Devin Wright spent her first 23 years in Southern California. She received her degree, titled ‘Integrating Society and Environment’, from a radical alternative education program, the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, at the University of Redlands. During that time, Devin designed her own degree, participated in a living-learning community that operated under a consensus-based governance model, and began her intellectual and practical investigation of food justice. Upon graduation, Devin turned more intensively towards her steadfast love: alternative agricultural labor. She worked as a nursery stock grower, farmers market sales rep, specialty produce grower farmhand, and outdoor/agricultural youth educator. Eventually, she stumbled upon the City, Culture, and Community interdisciplinary PhD program at Tulane University in New Orleans. Devin is in her second year of the program and is associated with research projects oriented around urban agriculture, gender dynamics in agriculture, climate change and agriculture, and agricultural organizing.