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Jeanette Abi-Nader & Kim Niewolny – February 22nd, 2017

Community Voices welcomed Jeanette Abi-Nader (Founding Member, Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative; Executive Director, City Schoolyard Garden) and Kim Niewolny (Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Leadership and Community Education, Virginia Tech).

Event Details

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Roundtable Luncheon
GLC, Room B 

Evening Event – “Exploring Whole Measures in Community Food Systems
GLC, Room F

Both events aimed to inspire a rich dialogue on community viability and resilience, food systems sovereignty, participatory governance, and organizing skills for positive social change. 

Speaker Bios 


Jeanette Abi-Nader (Executive Director, City Schoolyard Garden)

Jeanette Abi-Nader worked for a dozen years with the national food justice non-profit, the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC). CFSC co-founded the National Farm to School Network and was instrumental in the passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. As CFSC’s Evaluation and Training and Capacity Building Director, Jeanette utilized multiple learning strategies to support the work of hundreds of organizations and funders. She authored publications on strategic evaluation design including Whole Measures for Community Food Systems, Community Food Project Indicators of Success, and Growing Communities Curriculum.  Jeanette is the former Board Treasurer for the American Community Gardening Association, Vice President of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Board of Directors, and a founding member of the Growing Food and Justice for All initiative (GFJI). GFJI is a national network focused on dismantling racism in the food system. Jeanette is an experienced farmer, having launched the first community supported agriculture project in the state of Louisiana and as Director of Farms for Frontier Natural Products Co-op. She has a Masters of Science in Sustainable Systems/Agroecology and is a certified permaculture designer and instructor.


Kim Niewolny (Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural, Leadership and Community Education, Virginia Tech)

Kim Niewolny is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership and Community Education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech. Her scholarship centers on the role of power and equity in community education and development praxis with a specific focus on social justice and food systems. Her work is grounded in asset-based community development, critical pedagogy, action research, and narrative inquiry. Current funded initiatives emphasize the political praxis of community food work, Appalachian community food security, new farmer sustainability, and farmworker care/dignity. Most recently, Kim launched the “Stories of Community Food Work in Appalachia” project to create and share stories that illustrate the lived experiences of activists, educators, farmers, and practitioners who are connected to the broader issues of food system change in the Appalachian region. Kim teaches several graduate courses, including Community-based Participatory Research, Community Education and Development, and Food Security and Resilient Communities. With a focus on service-learning, she also provides teaching leadership in Virginia Tech’s undergraduate minor in Civic Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS).