Food is the backbone of culture and a basic human need, yet many Charlotte residents have no access to fresh, nutritious food, and many more have no idea where or how their food was grown. What would it take for the “food deserts” in Charlotte to disappear? What if neighborhoods with high-risk of food insecurity not only had greater access to fresh food but also became hubs for sustainable, collaborative, joyful food production? How might a transformed food culture impact the thriving of these neighborhoods as a whole? Come interact with an expert panel of master gardeners, community activists, social entrepreneurs, and non-profit leaders as we collaborate together for food justice and thriving neighborhoods.
Bernard Singleton is a Mecklenburg County Master Gardener and Co-Founder/Executive Director of CEJS University of Light, which includes CEJS Organic Farms, Bennu Gardens, and Nebedaye Moringa Farms, which are all located in West Charlotte. Bernard is also the Founding Member and Director of the Westside Greenhouse Initiative.
Nate Ledbetter is Justice Pastor at Warehouse 242, focusing on community development in West Charlotte and globally. Previous to coming to Charlotte, he served as Local and Regional Outreach Pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in West Michigan, Co-executive Director of FCS Urban Ministries in Atlanta, Pastor at Church on the Block on the West Side of Chicago, and served on the board of the Christian Community Development Association.
Lynn Caldwell is the founder of Atherton Market, both a farmers market and incubator for small food and artisan businesses, and the Charlotte Food Innovation District which involves food aggregation and distribution, a culinary kitchen incubator to accelerate food businesses, and education around urban farming. Lynn has most recently partnered with Ben Crosland to form Suede Onion, a catalyst to develop and grow food-related businesses. Lynn also serves on several boards and committees, including Playing for Others, the CharMeck Food Policy Council, and Toxic Free NC.
Reggie Singleton is Executive Director of The Males Place, which guides young men into manhood through mentoring, community agriculture, and social justice, and a Health Educator with the Mecklenburg County Health Department. Reggie is a Farmer and Master Gardener who utilizes agriculture to address food access, employability, and self-sufficiency. Reggie serves on numerous boards, including the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Food Policy Council, and is the recipient of many awards in leadership, community service, mentoring, and education.