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FoodCorps Friday: Meet our 2016-17 FoodCorps Georgia Team

Meet our 2016-17 FoodCorps Georgia Team

By, FoodCorps Georgia Fellow, Sumer Ladd

 

This program year, we have nine service members serving in five service sites across the state, and we’d like to take the opportunity to formally introduce you to them!

Please read their bios below to get to know them a lil’ better!

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dsc_0924Bexx Merck

2nd Year Service Member

Athens Land Trust, Athens, GA

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Originally from Texas and South Carolina, Bexx moved to Athens in September 2015 to join ALT as a FoodCorps Service Member. With a degree in Systems Thinking, Design, and Urban Agriculture from Hampshire College, Bexx brings a framework of food justice and food system knowledge, a love for cooking, understanding, and sharing food, and eclectic farming and greenhouse experiences to educate youth in Clarke County schools. Bexx has experience across the board from ecological and horticultural sciences, to environmental design and solar energy fabrication, to leading community driven courses for peers and youth, and running an LGBTQ after-school group.

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Dasia Harmon

1st Year Service Member

Captain Planet Foundation, Atlanta, GA

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Dasia learned the importance of safe, quality, and affordable food at an early age. She worked on a small two acre farm called Growing Power in her hometown Milwaukee, WI at just nine years old. At 18, Dasia received an agricultural scholarship to attend The Fort Valley State University in middle Georgia. Here she received her bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Science. Blossoming further, Dasia received her master’s degree in Entomology at Florida A&M University. Dasia is passionate about changing food desert areas, and finds it most fulfilling to be fully engaged with her hands in the soil.

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Dory Cooperdsc_0951

1st year service member

Carrollton City Schools, Carrollton, GA

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Dory was raised in a semi-rural Massachusetts town where she experienced the joy of gardening at a young age in her family’s summer vegetable garden and wild raspberry bushes. She graduated in 2015 from the University of Vermont with a degree in Public Communication and Nutrition, focussing her studies on community development through the food system. While living in Vermont, she was an active member of the community working to plan annual fundraising and outreach events with the Vermont Community Garden Network, Vermont Brewer’s Festival, and EatxNE. Dory is passionate about bringing the community together through good food, encouraging entrepreneurship, and providing children the opportunity and skill set to become positive change makers in their own communities.

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Gregory Lafortunepy17-headshot-gregory-lafortune

1st Year Service Member

Captain Planet Foundation, Atlanta, GA
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Gregory is an enthusiastic and zealous leader. A recent graduate of Georgia State University, he wants to use his Nutrition degree to impact communities and influence individuals who feel as if eating healthier is impossible. As an 11 year old child, Greg was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. With maturity and God’s grace, he now uses his condition as a catalyst in his commitment to be more health conscious. In life’s race, kids often feel like it is impossible to hurdle personal battles and situations outside of their control. Greg wants reverse that mindset and feels that service through FoodCorps is the stage to project his platform.

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dsc_0901Kana Miller

1st Year Service Member

Athens Land Trust, Athens, GA

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Originally from Decatur, Georgia, Kana recently returned to Georgia after living in New York and North Carolina for the past six years. Kana brings an excitement for growing, cooking, eating and sharing food to Athens, GA and FoodCorps. She graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies and concentration in Intergroup Relations from Skidmore College. As a peer facilitator for a multiracial dialogue group with Intergroup Relations, Kana began critically thinking about the way race and other social identities clashed with some of the topics she was learning about in Environmental Studies. Determined to discover ways to blend her love for the natural world and environmentalism with a commitment to social justice, Kana joins FoodCorps full of excitement and readiness to engage with people through the Clarke County Schools, West Broad Garden and Market, and the Young Urban Farmers Program, sharing knowledge and, of course, food.  

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Katie Sanders

1st Year Service Member

Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, Jackson County, GA

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Katie grew up in Oconee County, Georgia and followed in her family’s tradition by attending the University of Georgia. She graduated with a degree in Biological Science from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science and minored in Ecology. Agriculture and public service played a large role in her time in college as she interned at the UGArden, an organic garden on campus, taught science based education to elementary students in a program called Project FOCUS, and served as a Public Service and Outreach Student Scholar. Through the last program, Katie was able to learn about to impact the public in meaningful ways as well as secure an internship at the State Botanical Garden where she gained valuable experience in greenhouse management and cultivating methods. In the future, Katie is looking to attend graduate school in environmental conservation and/or sustainable agriculture in order to continue her efforts in these fields.

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py17-headshot-susie-burtonSusie Burton

2nd Year Service Member

Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, Habersham County, GA

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Susie is from St. Louis, Missouri and graduated in 2015 from Hendrix College in Arkansas, with degrees in Environmental Studies and Spanish Literature.  She believes investing in local food systems is an essential, holistic approach to promoting rural economic development, improving public health, and protecting the environment.  Thankful to FoodCorps, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia and Georgia Organics for the opportunity teach, garden, and organize in service of her beliefs, Susie hopes to pursue a career in which she can help shape policy to support the development of local food systems.

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Susie Popedsc_0940

1st Year Service Member

Captain Planet Foundation, Atlanta, GA

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Suzie’s interest in agriculture began at Acorn Community Farm, an intentional community in the hills of VA that grows organic food and earns income by selling seeds. Farm work helped her find a peace and balance that she wanted to share with others. She worked as a farm-aid in Austin, TX as well as in Puerto Rico. She cared for ducks and ducklings, maintained vegetable gardens, and helped with sustainable construction projects. In Atlanta, she helped tend school gardens as an apprentice with Captain Planet Foundation for two summers and interned at the Wylde Center. She has also taught school-age children as a garden educator with Truly Living Well Center for Urban Agriculture. These experiences have taught her to effectively communicate in differing communities, care for the environment in a successful and deliberate way, and share the joy of growing food. She is strongly committed to helping communities grow their own food and to learn the benefits of living more sustainable. She believes confidence, patience, compassion — all of these things are nurtured as we nurture our gardens. She is convinced that growing food and being in nature makes more joyful people.

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Tiffany Jones

1st Year Service Member

HABESHA, INC, Atlanta, GA

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Tiffany has always had a passion for working with kids, cooking, and over the past few years she grew a passion for gardening. What better way to fulfill three passions all at once! She has over 22 years experience working with youth. Throughout her journey she feels like this experience has helped her be more understanding to kids and more patient. She has been in the food industry for 20 years; consumer, working in a restaurant, family owned catering company, meal preparation, and teaching cooking classes with UGA for 4 years. Within the last 4 years, she has gone through several types of Farm and school garden teacher training, she is also a Master Gardener in training. All of these years of experience each play an important role in her day to day interactions with the kids, teachers, and parents.

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