The North Carolina Food Justice Fellowship (NCFJF) is a new fellowship program offered through a collaboration between stone circles at The Stone House and Tierra Negra Farms. The fellowship was created in commitment to addressing structural oppression in the food system and beyond. We believe that change and self-determination can start on level with community-owned and community-driven initiatives. NCFJF is for People of Color in NC who are committed to building a more just food system. We welcome farmers, food entrepreneurs, and non-profit food system workers who are newer to the food movement, as well as those looking to deepen their work.
The NCFJ Fellowship will provide multiple opportunities to build meaningful relationships that support healing and resilience, peer mentorship and collaboration, as well as professional development and skill building. Trainings offered will deeply explore food systems through a racial justice lens, as well as develop skills in project management, business planning, and marketing.
Fellows will begin their 6 month fellowship by coming to The Stone House for a first session with their class on Jan 24th -26th 2014, and returning to The Stone House Feb 21st-23rd 2014. Throughout the year, fellows will be networked to each other through conference calls, virtual community spaces and opportunities for site visits. Fellows will also need to take ownership to help shape their fellowship experience and create hands on opportunities to learn from each other. Expenses to workshops will be covered by the fellowship. Meet the 2014 fellows and read their bios.
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The North Carolina Food Justice Fellowship
2014 Fellows Biographies
Adé Oni. I am the third of three U.S- born children of my Nigerian parents and I deeply enjoy record digging. I consciously began the (fraught) process of my decolonization by unraveling my relationship to food and media while living, loving, and working in D.C. It was in the acts of getting to know and growing foods that I came to perceive them as potent forms of liberation medicine. Now, I’m on a path to figuring out how to put these new revelations into meaningful action—the NCFJ Fellowship has arrived at a special time.
Ann Soltan. I grew up in Rocky Mount, NC. I am a queer, gender-nonchalant, Palestinian American food-head from the South. I manage Bella Bean Organics and just co-founded Heirloom Provisions, two companies that are dedicated to transforming the way food moves from ground to mouth. I find working in the business, distribution and logistics side of food as a critically important piece of the food movement. From coordinating a food bank that re-distributed grocery abundance to what I do now, I am thinking hard everyday about how to re-imagine the middle of food.
Kavita Koppa. I was born and raised in small-town-gone-suburb South Carolina in a proudly South Indian family. I went to college in North Carolina before starting a graduate program that taught me how unheard the voices of rural folks and folks of color were in public administration. I left in a great furor of knowing that I had to do something to make those voices be heard in agriculture. I have since apprenticed and managed on two small farms, run a beginning farmer program, and most recently is working with farmer-veterans to help folks heal from combat through agriculture. I am excited to learn and be humbled by my fellow Fellows and eventually to carry this work back to my home state.
Natalia Ospina. I am a recent graduate from NC State University. While I studied Psychology and Spanish Literature in college I found my passion in food through an internship with Student Action with Farmworkers. My favorite foods range from arepas to marzipan and I especially enjoy the unity food can bring. In my free time she enjoys writing, DIYs, and traveling. While I’m not too sure of my future I hope one day to be living in Berlin to take a stab at a food start-up.
Olufemi Lewis aka Sherrell. I am a Charlotte native, but have lived in Asheville for 14yrs. I am starting a cooperative mobile market business called Ujamaa Freedom Market. Also, I’m one of the Co-Founders of Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council,Former Co-Director of Hillcrest Unity Garden. I love this work and the joy and pain that comes with it.
Tamica Patterson. I am a native of Winston-Salem. I have been married for twenty years. I am a mother of four children. I have been a nurse for twenty years. Currently I am a first year Divinity Student at Wake Forest University. My concentration is in food and faith. My area of focus is access to healthy foods for a especially those in low income areas and food desserts. I hope to increase the healthy options capacity in my store (Rebecca Store) and start a church/community garden around youth. I also hope to revitalize Urban Farming in East Winston to help people have jobs.
Tavia Benjamin. I was born and raised in Winston-Salem. I have a deep love for my Black Southern roots, traditions, and foodways. During college, I became politically awakened and passionate about food justice, racial justice, broader social movements for equity not only in the United States, but around the globe. Upon graduating college, I completed the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship with the Congressional Hunger Center, where I lived in Detroit working with the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network on a feasibility study for a healthy food retail co-op, rooted in self-determination and food sovereignty for the Black community in Detroit. Currently I work on various projects in DC around healthy food access, racial equity, and transcending historical trauma with numerous partners. Figuring out how our community can transcend historical trauma, bring about healing, and bring our whole selves into this work to speak our truth and create solutions to some of our most pressing issues is what motivates and excites me about working towards a more equitable and just world.
The North Carolina Food Justice Fellowship (NCFJF) is a new fellowship program offered through a collaboration between stone circles at The Stone House and Tierra Negra Farms