A Fair Food System: Summit 5 Recap

 Summit Five
January 26, 2023 9:00AM–1:00PM EST


We are proud to welcome a litany of talented food systems experts from across Appalachia. Below, you can read about each speaker slated to present at the second session of A Fair Food System: A Summit on Scalable Solutions to Creating Community Food Systems. 

Adam Kody, Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet)

Adam Kody joined the ACEnet staff in December 2016, serving as the Food Enterprise Coordinator. Adam manages ACEnet’s shared-use kitchen incubator and provides training and technical assistance to food and farm microenterprises. He is the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Coordinator for the ACEnet Food Ventures Center in Athens where small businesses produce artisanal, value-added specialty foods. Adam works directly with entrepreneurs throughout the intake and assessment process, start-up and expansion stages and has a wide-ranging series of certifications in food safety. Additionally, Adam is a certified ServSafe instructor and proctor, having assisted many foodservice entrepreneurs and employees through successful completion of the State-required Food Protection Manager certification course. He uses this knowledge base to implement a multi-tiered approach in assisting up-and-coming entrepreneurs through the regulatory hurdles they encounter early and often throughout their growth. Adam currently serves as the President on the Community Food Initiatives (CFI) Board of Directors.


Brent Lackey, Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD)

Brent Lackey has over 16 years of experiences as a Business Development Specialist for KCARD and brings over 3 years of cooperative management experience to the KCARD team. He has extensive experience in developing new cooperatives, assisting cooperatives and producer-owned businesses, conducting feasibility studies, and analyzing business management and operations. In Brent’s free time, you can find him hanging out with his two kids, John and Hannah.




Brittany Woodby, Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD)

Since starting with Appalachian Harvest, Regional Sales and Account Manager Brittany Woodby has focused on developing an extension of their Farm to School initiatives with cafeterias in the region to help support local, regional produce purchases for school meals. With her 14+ years of sales and operational business experience, Brittany was able to help Appalachian Harvest continue into its 2nd year in 2022 for the school purchasing program. In addition to the farm to school focus, she has helped develop and execute a regional sales plan and team to develop networks of buyers/suppliers within Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia. Brittany has lived and worked the majority of her life in Washington County, Virginia where she and her husband currently raise three school-aged children on their family homestead. They are passionate about their heritage breed chickens, heirloom tomatoes, and their family dog, Dandy (short for Dandelion).


Danny Swan, Grow Ohio Valley

Danny Swan is from Wheeling, WV and is the Co-Founder and transitioning Executive Director at Grow Ohio Valley. Danny’s passion for local food and community development prompted him to co-found the urban farming non-profit in 2014. A graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University, Danny’s professional accomplishments have included starting five urban farming sites, opening the Public Market grocery store, and procuring nearly $7M in fundraising, including two ARC POWER awards (2018 & 2022), and one Congressional Directed Funding award, aka “earmark.”




Jason Koegler, Grow Ohio Valley

Jason Koegler is a native of Wheeling, WV and the new Executive Director of Grow Ohio Valley. Before coming to Grow Ohio Valley Jason served as the Vice President for External Affairs and Presidential Cabinet member at West Liberty University. His passion for advancing positive impact in the Ohio Valley led Jason to co-found Weelunk.com and drives his vision for Grow Ohio Valley. He lives in Wheeling with his wife Sarah and children Campbell (16) Will (15) and Cora (6).




Jennifer Weeber, Community Farm Alliance

Northfork Local Food Coordinator, Jennifer Weeber, grew up on a small farm where her family raised hogs and corn. In college, Jennifer was drawn to social work where she has spent much of her career working on food security and housing issues. She has been involved with the Perry County Farmers Market for several years in various capacities including as a volunteer, vendor, and board member. With CFA, Jennifer is putting her experience with program development and operations and her passion for food and equitable access to resources to use in growing the local food system. She has a particular interest in ensuring all community members have access to fresh, local food and all farmers can make a living growing our food. Jennifer lives near Hazard where she enjoys baking, sharing food with others, watching the seasons change on her mountain, and hiking.


Kathlyn Terry, Appalachian Sustainable Development

Kathlyn Terry is the Executive Director for Appalachian Sustainable Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that has a mission to transition Appalachia to a more resilient economy and a healthier population by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people to healthy food. Ms. Terry joined ASD as its first Business Operations Manager in 2006 and became Executive Director in 2011. She uses her 20+ years in business along with her experience with food systems development to identify and implement collaborative, cross-sector opportunities that increase the health physical and economic wellbeing of individuals and communities. Ms. Terry was appointed to the VA Governor’s Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide and serves on and leads numerous steering committees and advisory groups that focus on the intersections between agriculture, nutrition, health, and economic development. She holds a B.A. in business from Texas A&M University.


Katie Commender, ASD Appalachian Harvest Herb Hub™

In 2016, ASD Agroforestry Program Director Katie received her Master’s in Forestry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where she served as the graduate teaching assistant for the agroforestry class and researched preferences and intentions for riparian buffer adoption and retention. Today, Katie continues to teach the next generation of forest farmers as a founding member of the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition. In 2017, she founded the Appalachian Harvest Herb Hub to help medicinal herb farmers sustainably produce, process, and market herbs grown in agroforestry systems to premium markets. With Katie’s support, ASD’s Agroforestry program continues to expand, with an agroforestry train the trainer model for natural resource professionals and farmer technical and financial assistance for forest farming, alley cropping and silvopasture.


Leslie Schaller, Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet)

Leslie Schaller joined the ACEnet staff in 2002. Originally the Food Ventures Business and Marketing Director, Leslie is now the Director of Programs & Business Development. She directs multiple training and technical assistance programs which assist micro-entrepreneurs through small business curriculum development, contract services and the formation of support networks of resource providers. Leslie secures public and private funding through grants and fees for services to support regional brand initiatives, targeted sector training, financial management support and capital access. She is responsible for working directly with entrepreneurs throughout the intake and assessment process, start-up and expansion stages. Leslie is currently a partner of the Aspen Institute’s Scale Academy, the Central Appalachian Network, the Ohio Food Policy Network, the Ohio Food Hub Network and UpGrade Athens County.


Lexy Close, Appalachian Resource Conservation & Development Council (ARCD)

ARCD Program Director, Lexy Close, is a native of Northeast Tennessee with a Masters of International Development and Social Change from Clark University. After 7 months WWOOFing in Europe, Lexy returned home to apply her passion for sustainability by improving rural economies through sustainable agriculture. In 2012, she co-founded the community organization “Build It Up East Tennessee” which was integrated into ARCD in 2015. Since inception, Build It Up has established three vibrant community gardens in low-income neighborhoods, and backyard gardening participants have harvested a grand total of 117,931 pounds of food. Lexy came onto the ARCD team as the Local Food Promotion Coordinator and grew to be a regional expert on local food markets and products. Nowadays, she focuses on grant writing and is the Program Director for ARCD’s work with the Appalachian Producers Cooperative. So far, Lexy has written successful grants totaling $2.5 million to support local agriculture programs.


Liberty Newberry, Value Chain Cluster Initiative (VC2)

Liberty Newberry has been working with Partner Community Capital’s Value Chain Cluster Initiative (VC2) since 2014 – first as a Business Coach working one-to-one with individual food and farm businesses, then as a Regional Coordinator working with local food intermediaries or “PAD” businesses, and most recently as Program Manager, providing strategy, operations, and TA project oversight. Liberty is interested in supporting the success and viability of small food and farm businesses in WV and beyond through coaching, knowledge and resource sharing, and community building. She believes that the right mix of technical assistance, business development, and capital resources at the right time can make all the difference. And for Liberty, supporting WV’s food and farm sector is personal. In addition to her VC2 role, Liberty has worked for Roane Grown Nursery, a small, family-run perennial and herb nursery for more than a decade. Liberty holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Georgia’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences.


Martin Richards, Community Farm Alliance (CFA)

A graduate of UK’s College of Architecture, CFA Executive Director, Martin Richards, has farmed his family’s land in Woodford County, been a partner in Prajna Design/Construction, and most recently was the economic development organizer for Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, working on energy and sustainability issues. Martin has been an active member of CFA since 1995, serving as the CFA President in 1998. He was the first CFA Fellow during the passage of HB 611 that created the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund. Martin became the Executive Director of CFA in November of 2010.

Martin presented the opening testimony before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research at their December 2022 hearing on “Food As Medicine: Current Efforts and Potential Opportunities.” To view this hearing, and read a transcript of Martin’s testimony: https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/hearings/food-as-medicine-current-efforts-and-potential-opportunities



Time   Topic   Presenters
9:00–9:35   Welcome to Summit Five

Updates from 2022

Summit Impacts Summary

Overview of PAD (Processing, Aggregation, Distribution) – infrastructure & resiliency, examples from COVID

Leslie Schaller, Director of Programs, ACEnet

Martin Richards, Executive Director, CFA

9:35–10:45   Keynote Kickoff with Appalachian Harvest Kathlyn Terry, Executive Director, ASD

Brittany Woodby, Regional Sales and Account Manager, ASD

Katie Commender, ASD Appalachian Harvest Herb Hub™

10:45–11:45   Meat Facilities Panel Adam Kody, Food Enterprise Coordinator, ACEnet

Lexy Close, Program Director, ARCD

Brent Lackey, Executive Director, KCARD

Annie Stroud, Project Manager, Buzz Foods

11:45–11:55   Active Break Jennifer Weeber, Northfork Local Food Coordinator, CFA
12:00–12:55   Investments in Infrastructure Danny Swan, Co-Founder & transitioning Executive Director, GrowOV

Jason Koegler, Executive Director, GrowOV

Liberty Newberry, Program Manager, VC2

12:55–1:00   Wrap-up & Highlights for Next Session Leslie Schaller, ACEnet

Times subject to change & more speakers to be announced