Rural Food Access Summit Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Mark Winne

Mark WinneMark Winne, author of Closing the Food Gap and Stand Together or Starve Alone, has worked for over 40 years to improve our food system. Mark had contributed significantly to food system topics, including hunger and food insecurity, local and regional agriculture, community food assessment, and food policy. Co-founder of several food and agriculture policy groups, Mark currently serves as a Senior Advisor at John Hopkins Center for a livable future, where he works on local and state food policy.

His new book Stand Together or Starve Alone, explores how the problems of hunger and obesity threaten the health of Americans, and shows how communities can working together can resolve these long standing issues.

Interprofessional Policy Panel

Our Interprofessional Policy Panel brings together voices of representatives from different arenas within the food system, all working to improve access to healthy foods for rural communities in North Carolina. The panel will explore how we can realistically support local food systems in order to strengthen communities from both a food security and an economic health perspective.

Jamilla Hawkins

Senior Program Manager for Food & Community Development, NC Rural Center

In her role with the North Carolina Rural Center, Ms. Hawkins works with regional and organizational networks to provide resources to food business entrepreneurs and local farmers that will strengthen local food systems across the state. Prior to joining the NC Rural Center, she served as a community and rural development agent with the NC A&T State University Cooperative Extension Program in Edgecombe County, where she focused on cultural tourism, community development, leadership development, and entrepreneurship programs within the county.

Kittrane Sanders

Community & Rural Development Agent, Harnett County Cooperative Extension

Taking a holistic approach to community development, Ms. Sanders works through Cooperative Extension not only to strengthen Harnett County’s economic base, but also to develop physical infrastructure, human and social capital, and leadership infrastructure. Ms. Sanders collaborates with government agencies, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and businesses to help the growing population of Harnett County thrive—from youth programs to promote the importance of STEM to connecting residents with food pantries, community gardens, and nutrition education.

Patricia Parker

Farm Manager and Farmer, In Good Heart Farm, Pittsboro, NC

Ms. Parker is Farm Manager at In Good Heart Farm, a small family farm located in Pittsboro, NC. Established in 2010, In Good Heart Farm’s mission is to strive for healthier people, community, agriculture, and planet by growing and sharing the best tasting food they can. Growing over 100 varieties of produce year-round on five acres, Ms. Parker and In Good Heart Farm work with the Fresh Farm Foods for Healthy Kids program to provide Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares to low-income families with young children.

Jared McGuirt

Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition, UNC-Greensboro

Born and raised in rural eastern NC, Dr. McGuirt has extensive experience developing, implementing, and evaluation community food access programs and policies throughout North Carolina, particularly around local food systems and the retail food environment. Dr. McGuirt’s primary research interest focuses on evaluating the use of practical and sustainable policies and interventions to increase access to healthy foods and improve dietary behaviors and diet-related health outcomes for low-income families.