Board of directors
Nicole Kempton, Vice Chair - Graduate & Professional School Alumni Affairs at Duke University
Madison Hayes, Secretary - The Food Mint and Refugee Community Partnership
Tim Rauwald, Treasurer - UBS Wealth Management Advisors
Tim Schwantes, MPH, MSW - Active Living By Design
Charla Burill - North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition
Ed Recavarren — NetApp
Janett Greenberg — Health Care Consultant
Gini Bell - Executive Director
Gini is a Chapel Hill native with a background in education, local food retail, business management and sustainable farming. While working in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools and experiencing the poor quality of school lunches, she became interested in healthy food systems. She left education to go back to school in sustainable agriculture. This began a journey along the local food supply chain, where she worked on vibrant local farms and at farmers markets, and then in food retail management. Spurred by an interest in food equity and justice, Gini joined Farmer Foodshare in late 2012 to make the bounty of the local food movement available to everyone in the community while supporting the local farm economy.
Kate Rugani - Director of Development and Community Relations
Kate grew up in Georgia, but North Carolina has lured her twice – first as an undergrad at Duke, and again a decade ago when she returned to witness Durham’s resurgence (and partake in its vibrant food scene!) After earning a masters degree in integrated marketing communications and public relations from Northwestern University, Kate worked in employee and investor relations at Grainger, an industrial distributor based in Chicago. Heading back east, she served as communications director for the Clergy Health Initiative, a wellness study based at Duke Divinity School, as well as marketing director for Leadership Education at Duke Divinity. Her longtime interest in volunteerism and a belief that our food system should support everyone led her to join Farmer Foodshare in 2017. Kate, her husband, and their three kids live in Durham.
Katy Phillips - Director of Community Partnerships
Katy is a native of Louisiana, a region known for good food and hospitality. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and studied in Vancouver, BC to earn an MA in Theology. Katy worked as an outdoor educator for several years in Asheville, NC. Alongside her graduate work, she served the urban poor in the downtown eastside of Vancouver, growing food on empty city lots. She also apprenticed with a Master Gardener. The East beckoned her back and she returned for an internship with Anathoth Community Garden in Cedar Grove, NC. Katy currently lives on a family strawberry farm in Durham, NC, is an aspiring flower grower and teaches Pilates.
David Szczepankowski - Wholesale Market Manager
David grew up on a 300-acre potato farm in Long Island. As a teenager he convinced his father to let him grow mixed vegetables on an acre and started a farm stand to sell to tourists coming up from the city. The produce stand was a success, and he eventually took over the farm and grew the vegetable business to a multimillion dollar operation with a farm stand, specialty food and catering shop, wholesale produce business that shipped to the New York, Brooklyn and Boston terminal markets and local wholesale business to area restaurants. David eventually left the farm and produce business, earning and MBA from Columbia University which led to working as a research and investment analyst on Wall Street. He moved to North Carolina with his wife Susan in 2012 where he worked as the Director of Investment Research for International Farming Corporation Investment Management, and later as a Financial Consultant before coming to Farmer Foodshare in the summer of 2016.
Shep Stearns - Wholesale Market Coordinator
Shep's involvement with agriculture extends back to his childhood. From an early age he was responsible for daily chores on his family's dairy farm in Storrs, CT. Shep is deeply passionate about helping to support and grow local agricultural businesses. Throughout his adult life he has worked at a variety of farms and non-profits seeking to strengthen the ties between farms and community members. Shep arrived in Chapel Hill in 2015 when his wife was accepted as a PhD. candidate at UNC. Over the last two years he has been thrilled to immerse himself in the bustling and dynamic local food scene in the Triangle area. In 2017 Shep joined the Farmer Foodshare team as the Wholesale Market Coordinator. He is very enthusiastic about the opportunities this role provides to help small farmers grow and sustain their businesses.
Ryan Cribbins - Distribution Associate
Ryan spent all his "formative" years in North Carolina, a Raleigh native and graduate of UNC-CH. He considers himself semi-retired after a career in the IT field, and after leaving the field has become involved with local food distribution and hunger relief agencies. He has been driving Farmer Foodshare's van since 2015, and enjoys sustaining and enhancing the relationships with our producers and buyers. When not in the van, you can find Ryan in his modest garden or on the streets of New Orleans, his spiritual home.
Sprague Cheshire - Distribution Associate
Sprague was born and bred in Raleigh where he has family roots going back many generations. Nineteen years after completing high school he received an undergraduate degree in Health Science (Physician Assistant Program) at Duke. As a PA he worked for many years in the Hematology-Oncology Department and The Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center. During the time between high school and completing his college degree he spent several years overseas, including living and working in an agricultural/spiritual community in Scotland and living in an agricultural village in India. Now in his spare time he enjoys reading, bodybuilding and walking his two mighty fine hound dogs.
Oscar Menzer - Marketing and Development Intern
Oscar joined Farmer Foodshare in 2013 as in intern through the Bonner Leaders Program at UNC Chapel Hill. After developing an interest in sustainability while attending high school in Greensboro, he chose to pursue a degree in Environmental and Computer Sciences. Oscar loves local food and being outside, which made the Donation Station Program a perfect fit. Oscar also works with UNC student government, and a student-led campus bikeshare. Oscar brought graphic design and web skills to Farmer Foodshare, which are tested just about every day. Neither rain nor snow can keep him from cycling to the Carrboro Farmer's Market every Saturday morning...see you there!
Caroline Owens – Wholesale Market Intern
Caroline comes from a long line of farmers in the eastern part of the state. Currently attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she has a passion for the environment, an interest in physiological research, and perfectly seasoned squash and zucchini on the grill. She is thrilled to be a part of Farmer Foodshare, and ecstatic to have the opportunity to speak with local farmers and members of the community outside of the university. Caroline is typically outside drinking coffee while reading autobiographies and maniacally studying for classes. In moments when she believes no one is around you will often find her loudly singing everything ranging from Motown to music from the nineties.
Travis St. Brice – Community Partnerships Intern
Travis was born in Massachusetts and moved to Hudson, North Carolina nine years ago with his family to find a bigger home. He enjoys camping and hiking in his spare time, and is part of his local Boy Scout Troop. During his senior year of high school, he built an outdoor classroom for the local elementary school to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. He is now continuing his education at UNC-Chapel Hill as a Communications Major. He hopes to work in radio and broadcasting. You can see him most Saturdays at the Chapel Hill Farmers Market!
Alicia Lee - Communications Intern
Alicia is a first generation student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has lived in North Carolina her whole life and has been a proud Tar Heel just as long. She is continuing a passion for community service while following the pre-law track at Carolina. She hopes to work as an attorney for non-profit organizations in the future. In the meantime, Alicia enjoys travelling, relaxing, and spending time with her friends and dog. She would love if you came to visit her at the Carrboro Donation Station most Saturday mornings!