Amanda Maria Edmonds has a background in environmental justice, environmental education, and social activism. She wears many hats as as community organizer, educator, mentor, and leader. She is the founder and executive director of Growing Hope. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, she has lived in Michigan since the mid 1990s, and is an active member of the Ypsilanti community. A twice alum of the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment, she brings a grounding in social and environmental issues to her professional world with intersects most commonly with public health, food justice, and community-based social change. She currently serves as Mayor of Ypsilanti, and is an appointee to the Michigan Food Policy Council, where she chairs the Healthy Food Access Task Force, and is a vice-chair of the Washtenaw Food Policy Council. She speaks and trains nationally in the areas of community change through gardens, farmers markets, food access, and many other topics.
Racism and Access to Land and Capital
Shiloh Maples works at American Indian Health & Family Services, a community health center in Detroit that serves urban Native Americans. She believes that her ancestors had a wealth of knowledge around 'food as medicine' and strives to make that knowledge the cornerstone of community wellness again. Her work includes promoting traditional native foods through cooking classes, coordinating a community garden, and engaging community in conversations around food justice and sovereignty. Shiloh is passionate about increasing access to healthy food, preserving traditional foodways, and honoring our relationship to the environment. She is especially interested in creating spaces and opportunities for urban indigenous people to practice traditional foodways
Shakara Tyler is a mother, returning generation farmer, educator, and organizer-scholar. Her personal journey of loving, healing and decolonizing is intimately wedded with working and learning with the land. She is committed to working with communities to explore the pedagogies of reconnecting to land and using land-based activism as a tool in building community self-determination. As part of her academic studies, she explores decolonial pedagogies in the food justice and food sovereignty movements within the communal praxis of black agrarianism. She is a PhD candidate at Michigan State University and works with the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) on underserved farmer development.
Antonio Cosme is a Xicano Afro-Boricua educator, farmer, artist and community organizer/activist from Southwest, Detroit. Antonio founded the Raiz Up art collective in 2012 (a xicano/indigenous hiphop collective using art as way to create awareness) #Raizup. Antonio has organized with the People’s Water Board against the shutoffs, The Detroit’ers Resisting Emergency Management, Committee to Ban Fracking, Alumni against the EAA, and Detroit Eviction Defense. But more than just resisting the abuse of land, water and people, Antonio organizes in his neighborhood to clean blighted property, and create community art. He founded the cooperative #SWGrows Urban Farm and Agroecology Hub in 2014. Southwest Grows is nucleus for agricultural entrepreneurship and ecological design infused with radical arts and culture. Antonio recently graduated from Michigan State University Student Organic Farm Program and will be starting his urban farm this year.
Alex Ball runs Old City Acres, an urban farm based out of Romulus, Michigan. Our main focus and goal is providing the freshest, tastiest, and most nutrient dense food possible to the local Romulus community. Through our fresh veggie CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and weekly markets we distribute high quality and great tasting vegetables that can only be described as the very best in homegrown/locally grown produce.
Shane Bernardo is a long-life resident of Detroit involved in social justice and primarily food justice issues. His current role is outreach coordinator for Earthworks Urban Farm, a program of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. Shane is also a member of Detroit Asian Youth Project, The Detroit Food Justice Task Force, Uprooting Racism: Planting Justice, The People’s Platform Detroit and Equitable Detroit Coalition.
Anita Singh raises chickens with her business Get Down Farm, and is the Youth Programs Coordinator at Keep Growing Detroit. At KGD she teaches and runs a farm education program, supports youth serving gardens across Detroit and and is developing an integrated food justice curriculum for secondary students. She is an educator and farmer with nine years of experience as a high school science teacher and farm educator. She uses farming as a medium to connect food to justice and leadership.
Current Environmental Issues: Water
Monica Day is a Water Resources Education professional who helps residents gain confidence in their efforts to protect and restore the freshwater resources of the Great Lakes region. She joined MSU Extension in March, 2015 after having worked on the MSU campus assisting faculty with grant proposal development at the School of Planning Design and Construction and the Land Policy Institute. She spent two years as a Grant Coordinator at the Michigan DNR’s Natural Resources Trust Fund. Previously she served as the Watershed Coordinator of the Sandusky River Watershed Coalition, based in Fremont, Ohio and as the Stream Quality Monitoring Coordinator on the Maumee and Sandusky Rivers with the Ohio DNR’s Scenic Rivers Program.
Shawn McBrearty, Clean Water Action
Farmworker and Labor Justice
Diana E. Marin is an Attorney (Licensed in New York and New Jersey) who works with Farmworker Legal Services of Michigan
Bill Brinkerhoff, Argus Farm Stop
Kathy Sample, Argus Farm Stop
Amanda Maurmann, Gnome Grown Flower Farm and Cornman Farms
Bill Taylor, Eat Local Eat Natural
Tim Redmond, Eat Local Eat Natural
Christine Quane, Cultivate Michigan
Farm to Institution
Lindsey Scalera is the Farm to Institution Campaign Director for the Ecology Center Sustainable Food Healthy Communities Program. In this role, she serves as a Regional Organizer for Health Care Without Harm's Health Food in Health Care program and as the Co-Lead for the Michigan Farm to Institution Network and our local food procurement campaign, Cultivate Michigan. Collaborating with institutional and supply chain partners throughout Michigan, Lindsey works to bring local and sustainable food to schools, universities, healthcare facilities and communities.
Vicki Zilke, co-owner of Zilke Vegetable Farm in Milan, Michigan.