Nathan “Man in Overalls” Ballentine, a child of the church and a 2008 graduate of Warren Wilson College, has been growing food since he was eight years old. He launched Tallahassee Food Gardens to encourage and assist locals in growing food for themselves and their neighbor. In 2010, Nathan connected with local good food leaders and co-founded the Tallahassee Food Network (TFN), a regional coalition of the global movement that works to grow community-based good food systems. In 2011, Nathan, in collaboration with local youth, founded iGrow Whatever You Like, TFN’s community youth empowerment and entrepreneurial urban agriculture program.
Cherice teaches at George Fox Evangelical Seminary, where her courses include Poverty & Restorative Earthkeeping and Spirituality & Social Justice. She holds an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and is currently working on a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England. Cherice serves as the editor of the environmental studies journal Whole Terrain. She runs a community garden at George Fox University and enjoys hiking and camping in her home state of Oregon, biking around town with her spouse and two sons, and eating home-grown fruits, veggies, and eggs. Her doctoral work will focus on themes of vulnerability, resilience, and spirituality in caring for creation. You can find her environmental writing on the Whole Terrain blog and an article in Christ & Cascadia, “Sister Willamette: Co-Lamenting with My River.”
Justin is Social Initiatives Specialist at the Michigan Fitness Foundation (MFF) and a Conference Ministerial Candidate in the Free Methodist Church, USA. As part of the SNAP-Ed leadership team at MFF, Justin provides issue-area expertise on food security and sustainable food systems to nutrition educators statewide. His particular focus is on “policy, systems, and environmental” change to improve the health and dignity of families facing hunger. In 2012, Justin was named a Hunger Justice Leader by Bread for the World. He now serves as Chair Elect of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior’s Division of Sustainable Food Systems, is organizing Congregationally Supported Agriculture among mid-Michigan churches, and is slowly but surely developing a taste for radishes. Prior to joining MFF, Justin developed and managed Michigan’s first food bank network SNAP Outreach Program and led regional food banks’ federal advocacy efforts. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Relations and Policy with a focus on Religious Politics from James Madison College at Michigan State University. Justin and his wife Hannah are soon-to-be parents and reside in Holt, MI.
Catherine finds joy in growing food and studying Spanish. Inspired by the Catholic Worker and their agrarian vision, she studied Agricultural Economics at Virginia Tech, where she served as the Catholic Community’s Justice and Service Minister. At the Alderson Hospitality House, where she found a second home, she grows vegetables for guests and all family and friends visiting women incarcerated in the nearby federal prison. Catherine loves to bike and bake bread. One day she hopes to work in therapeutic prison horticulture.
Since 2011, Duncan has served as Executive Director with the Leadership Development Initiative (LDI), training church teams in community organizing practices to develop local mission projects. He has also worked as Training Director for Life Together, the Boston-based Episcopal Service Corps program, and as a Teaching Fellow with Professor Marshall Ganz at the Harvard Kennedy School in his class, “Organizing: People, Power, Change.” Duncan’s career focus shifted from parish ministry, where he served as a minister for youth and children, to leadership and organizing through his experience in 2010 as Field Coordinator for the Promise Arizona campaign, which registered over 13,000 new voters in the state. He received an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School in 2008 and an A.B. from Harvard College in 2002. He lives in Watertown, MA.
Jillian Hishaw, Esq., is Founder & Director of Family Agriculture Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.), a non-profit that provides hunger relief, estate planning and marketing services to small farmers and youth in the Southeast. She has extensive experience in working in rural and urban communities as it relates to agriculture and environmental grass root efforts across the country. For more information about Jillian and her work, please visit www.30000acres.org.
Kelly’s spiritual path has led her to a deepened commitment to addressing food justice issues from a faith-rooted perspective. She studied Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics at the University of Delaware, completed her dietetic internship at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and received her Master’s of Public Health from NYU. Kelly is on the board of the Franciscan Action Network and founded the Food & Spirituality Committee of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics’ Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, which she currently chairs. She has coordinated the nutrition efforts of Bronx Health REACH since 2010.
Kelly is a missionary with The United Methodist Church, serving at the Servant Community, a new faith start in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. She has been working for the last year to start and facilitate an Agriculture Ministry. Using her background in teaching and a passion for creation care and food justice, she is currently developing educational programs and volunteer opportunities for intergenerational groups from around Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as those living in the local jail. Before coming to Wisconsin, Kelly was serving on the admissions team with the Asian Rural Institute in northern Japan, which invites rural leaders from around the world to practice leadership, community organizing, and organic, sustainable agriculture techniques. She has also been active both domestically and abroad in the effort to connect faith communities and address issues surrounding nuclear energy, climate justice, and local food systems.
Nadia is an assistant farm manager at Sandhill Family Farms, an organic CSA farm in Grayslake, IL. She is also a candidate for ordained ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. She aspires to bring these passions together to help build a regional, collaborative network of church-based food production and food security ministries. Prior to attending divinity school, Nadia lived in Washington, D.C., where she worked in faith-based advocacy, the labor movement, and human rights. She and her family live in Chicago.
Louis Tillman, a native of Atlanta, GA, received of B.A. in Business Administration and Public Relations from Carthage College. He is currently a second-year seminarian at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, pursuing a Master of Divinity degree for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Louis’ passion stems from food justice, racial justice ministries, and multicultural liberation theology. He currently resides on the South Side of Chicago.
In her capacity as the Regional Consultant for the Central South-East Region of NC with Partners in Health and Wholeness, an initiative of the NC Council of Churches, Joy has partnered with ten congregations to increase healthy local foods for the region through church gardens, cooking demonstrations, and food preservation classes. These churches and several others find ways to network together to gain and share resources to create change within the food system using sustainable practices. Any activity, whether it is holding a youth conference where the youth are running the workshops or building your own low cost fresh vegetable/fruit juice meal plan or starting a church garden, is done with a mindfulness to protect people and the planet in a just way. She believes strongly in an ecumenical and multi-cultural approach to working with faith communities. She has a blast organizing culturally sensitive meetings where you might find the group of Lumbee, Latino, Black and White adults singing worship songs, praying in once accord, playing games for team building, and collaborating together on improving access to healthy local foods.