Virginia Tech®home

Fellows

People eating at a table spread with beautiful food

Fellow Description

The Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation works at the nexus of food, community, and society to catalyze new food system possibilities that are essential to advancing the human condition in Virginia and beyond. Being a Center fellow helps put you at the heart of this effort to bring change to our communities. 

A fellow is an outstanding individual who is part of a university, organization, or community that follows the aims of the Center and is a leader and resource to community members and stakeholders in their area. These individuals have a passion for exploring critical and often complex issues related to the food system, and are committed to supporting and working towards a more equitable, just, and healthy food system.

Being a fellow is an excellent way to participate in networking, professional development, and skill development related to community change processes as part of a community-university collective. All fellows will be highlighted on the Center’s website as a valuable resource, and you will have many opportunities to share your knowledge and experience with other fellows and community members. Specifically, it provides opportunity to engage with scholarship related to food systems work and learn from the practice-based experiences of peers from the region and beyond.

Fellows of the Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation are expected to be leaders in their communities. As such, we ask that you be involved with hosting a Center event once per year. This may be a speaking event, where you discuss a project or current work being done by your organization. It may also be a training program or podcast you offer for community members and other fellows.

In addition to hosting an annual event, fellows are expected to remain interested and involved with the Center’s work. The Center works to bring multiple speakers to Virginia each year, and also hosts community events, such as learning circles and workshops. While fellows are not expected to attend every event, it is anticipated that Center fellows offer input on event details and support the Center’s work by sharing news about the Center throughout their communities.

How can you become a Center fellow?
Fill out our Center Fellow Participation Form

Current Fellows

In addition to the below list of fellows we have a core team, advisory group, and partners, listed on our People Page

Ozzie Abaye

Ozzie Abaye
Professor of Agronomy
CALS Global Programs
School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Virginia Tech

Thomas Archibald

Thomas Archibald (he/him) Associate Professor and Extension Specialist Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education Virginia Tech
Website

John Bovay

John Bovay
Assistant Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics
Faculty Affiliate, Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture
Virginia Tech
Faculty website
Virginia Sustainable Farms and Agribusiness Education Initiative

Reed Byg

Reed Byg
PhD Student
Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought

Michael Carter Junior

Michael Carter Jr. (Ben Ore)
Coordinator
Small Farm Outreach Program
Virginia State University
Farmer at Carter Farms
thecarterfarms.com
vasmallfarmers.com

Duron Chavis

Duron Chavis
Director/Founder
The Happily Natural Day
Thenaturalfestival.com
Duronchavis.com

Marcus Comer

Marcus Comer
Professor and Extension Specialist
College of Agriculture
Virginia State University

Natalie Cook

Natalie Cook, PhD
Assistant Professor
Public Health
Virginia Tech
Faculty Webpage

Nicolas Copeland

Nicholas Copeland, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of History
Virginia Tech
The Guatemalan Water Network (REDAGUA) 

Danielle Christensen

Danille Elise Christensen
Assistant Professor
Department of Religion and Culture
Virginia Tech
Faculty webpage

Roberto Franco

Roberto A. Franco
Graduate Student
Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education
Virginia Tech

John Galbraith

Dr. John M. Galbraith
Associate Professor of Soil and Wetland Sciences and Extension Soils Specialist
Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension
NRV Glean TeamFaculty webpage  

Maaz Gardezi

Maaz Gardezi
Assistant Professor
Sociology
Virginia Tech 
Lab: TES LAB

Bikrum Singh Gill

Bikrum Singh Gill, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
Virginia Tech
Four Stories about Food Sovereignty
Faculty webpage

Leonard Githinji

Leonard Githinji
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist
Sustainable & Urban Agriculture
Virginia State University

Saul Halfon

Saul Halfon, PhD
Associate Professor and Graduate Director
Department of Science, Technology, & Society
Virginia Tech
Faculty webpage

Conway Haskins

Conaway Haskins
Director of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
Center for Innovative  Technology
PhD Student
Virginia Tech

 

Mae Hey

Mae Hey
Assistant Professor 
Department of History
Virginia Tech

Vivica Crack

Vivica Kraak, PhD, MS, RDN
Assistant Professor
Food and Nutrition Policy, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise
Virginia Tech
Faculty webpage

Steve Kruger

Steve Kruger
Garden Coordinator
Live Work Eat Grow
www.liveworkeatgrow.org

Jacob Lahne

Jacob Lahne, PhD
Assistant Professor of Food Science & Technology
Virginia Tech
Faculty webpage

Joyce Latimer

Joyce Latimer
Professor and Extension Specialist
School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Virginia Tech

Meredith Ledlie Johnson

Meredith Ledlie Johnson
VT Policy, Systems and Environmental Change Programming Coordinator
Facilitator of Virginia Community and School Garden Network
Food Security Sub Committee of the First Lady's Children's Cabinet work group

Bob Leonard

Robert (Bob) Leonard
Professor of Directing and Performance
School of Performing Arts
Virginia Tech
Faculty Webpage

Justice Madden

Justice Madden
Center Graduate Fellow
George Washington Carver Scholar
Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education
Virginia Tech 

 

Chad Martin

Chad Martin (he/him/his)
Environmental Justice Coordinator
The Department of Environmental Quality
Councilman
City of Martinsville
Board of Directors VA Food System Council
Chad Martin | LinkedIn

Sarah Misyak

Sarah Misyak, PhD, MPH
Assistant Director and Program Manager for Research and Evaluation
Family Nutrition Program (EFNEP and SNAP-Ed)
Virginia Cooperative Extension
The Department of Human Nutrition, Foods & Exercise
Virginia Tech

Joshua Mott

Joshua Mott
Reserach Associate
Corn and Small Grains Extension
School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Virginia Tech 

John Munsell

John Munsell
Associate Professor & Forest Management Extension Specialist
Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
Virginia Tech
ABFFC; VT Agroforestry

Erin Nuckols

Sophie Nicholakos
Master's Student
School of Plant and Environmental Science, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences
Virginia Tech

Erin Nuckols

Erin Lorann Nuckols
PhD Student
Environmental Design & Planning Program, Myers Lawson School of Construction
Virginia Tech
www.lunarelm.com

Nicole Nunoo

Nicole I. Nunoo
PhD Student
Agricultural Leadership and Community Education
Virginia Tech
Publications

Kasey Owen Henry

Kasey Owen
MS Student and Graduate Teaching Assistant
Agricultural Leadership and Community Education
Virginia Tech

Brianna Posadas

Brianna B. Posadas
Assistant Professor
School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Virginia Tech 
briannaposadas.com

 

French Price

French Price
Value Chain Coordinator
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Virginia Tech School of Plant and Environmental Sciences

Matthew Reiss

Matthew Reiss
Graduate Student
College of Architecture and Urban Studies
Virginia Tech
Owner and Operator of Gnomestead Hollow Farm and Forage

 

Jayesh Samtani

Jayesh Samtani
Assistant Professor and Small Fruit Extension Specialist; Hampton Roads AREC, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Virginia Tech
Faculty Webpage

Laina Schneider

Laina Schneider
Kitchen Manager
Millstone Kitchen
Live Work Eat Gather Inc.
https://oldschoolpricesfork.org/

Lester Schonberger

H. Lester Schonberger
Research Associate
Food Science and Technology
Virginia Tech

Mary Sketch Bryant

Mary Sketch Bryant
Coordinator, Virginia Soil Health Coalition
School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Virginia Tech
4 the Soil

William Singer

William Singer
Post Doctoral Associate
School of Plant and Environmental Sciences & Translational Plant Sciences
Virginia Tech

David Smilnak

David Smilnak
PhD Student Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education Virginia Tech

Adam Taylor

Adam Taylor
Manager, VT's Catawba Sustainability Center
Owner/Operator, Singing Spring Farm
President, Virginia Association of Biological Farming 

Anna Zeide

Anna Zeide
Associate Professor, History
Director, Food Studies Program
Virginia Tech
annazeide.org

Pete Ziegler

Pete Ziegler
Assistant Professor of Practice
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Director, Civic Agriculture & Food Systems Minor Program Director, USDA-NIFA Food and Agricultural Education Information System

Fellow Alumni

Our fellow alumni members participated in the fellow community during their studies at Virginia Tech and continue to do so as they have moved to new places and into roles. 

Renata Carneiro

Renata Carneiro
Assistant Professor
Chemistry and Fermentation Science
Appalachian State University

Susan Chen

Susan Chen
Assistant Professor
Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging
San José State University

Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown

Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown
Assistant Professor
University of Cincinnati

Joyce Latimer

Joyce Latimer
Retired Professor and Extension Specialist
School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Virginia Tech

Jenny Schwanke

Jenny Schwanke
Former Community Garden Coordinator
Live, Work, Eat, Gather, Inc. 
blacksburgcommunitygardens.com