ASAP Connections

Local Food. Strong Farms. Healthy Communities

Board of Directors

 

Photo of Ellen Gaddy

Ellen Gaddy — President

Q: What are you up to when you’re not at our board meetings?
A: I am a PhD student studying psychology and transformative social change at Saybrook University. My passion as a psychologist is fostering a change in beliefs, values, and behavior sufficient to address the complex social, economic, and ecological challenges of our time. I also co-direct NewDay Africa, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of AIDS orphans in East Africa. I am an avid gardener and love spending as much time as possible playing outside with my husband and daughter.

Q: Why is ASAP important to you?
A: ASAP is a model for creating strong, accessible, and sustainable local food systems. As a psychologist, I love how ASAP helps our community transform its relationship to food and place. Participants in our local food economy feel connected to their food and want to support the farms and farmers, as well as the farmer’s markets and local restaurants, that nourish them. As a researcher, I am passionate about ASAP’s Local Food Research Center and its theory of food system change, namely that local food systems strengthen local economies, increase farm profitability and sustainable production practices, and improve individual and community health. ASAP’s Local Food Research Center generates valuable knowledge about the inner workings of our local food system. With this knowledge, ASAP is better able to serve our community and also help like-minded communities in the U.S. and abroad grow their own local food economies.

Q: What’s your favorite local food dish?
A: I have a newfound love for Sunburst Trout Farm’s Jennings Jerky. For a woman who has never cared much for jerky, this is quite a compliment!

Photo of Carrie Keller

Carrie Keller — Vice President

Q: What are you up to when you’re not at our board meetings?

 

A: Depending on the season, working in the garden and/or apiary with my honeybees, walking the trails with my husband and dogs, volunteering with organizations to better our communities (women’s issues, clean water, and, of course, gardening and bees). I love to curl up with a good book and travel to visit family in New York City and Virginia. I work out, do yoga, and occasionally paddle a river or two with friends. I work hard to maintain my certification as a Speech Language Pathologist, and am insatiably curious about far too many things.

Q: Why is ASAP important to you?

A: ASAP represents the ideal for individuals, families and communities. By educating ourselves and others about local food sources (even growing some of our own) we are standing up for values that run deep in our human existence. Local food provides the best quality option with nutritional value that is hard to get from distantly grown and transported produce. It helps us to stay in touch with the natural world around us and value the things we DO receive from distance locations (don’t know how many folks would do well without their coffee beans!). Teaching school kids to appreciate gardens and foods grown before their eyes is invaluable, helping them see grocery store produce sections with a new perspective. Farm to Table (and restaurant) contributes to the awareness of the community and appreciation of the collaboration of the “foodie” community here in WNC! Last to comment on (but far from the least) I value the work being done with the farming community to support their lifestyle and help them move in sustainable directions. ASAP is my hero, and I am proud to serve on the Board.

Q: What’s your favorite local food dish?

A: This is a tough one for me, because I love local foods! If I am cooking, it would be a meal with trout from Sunburst Trout Farms and a stir fry of homegrown kale and zucchini. If it is from a restaurant, it would be the honey drizzled fried eggplant from Curate (or wait… maybe the Tupelo Honey sandwich Misse’s Asheville Veggie Melt). My favorites change on a regular basis! We are so fortunate to have so many options.

Photo of J. Hardy LeGwin

J. Hardy LeGwin — Secretary

Building biologist, retired businessman, helicopter pilot & grass farmer

Q: What are you up to when you’re not at our board meetings?  

A:  Hanging out with my wife Susan. We like to camp near the beach, have adventures in our camper van and enjoy coastal nature. I’m also likely to be found in my woodworking shop, especially during the winter, or pursuing my creative outlet of nature, landscape and sports photography.

Q: Why is ASAP important to you?

A: One of the most important functions of ASAP is how it connects people with food. It emphasizes the important role our food system has in our local economy and in our lives. ASAP continues to develop new ways to connect farmers with consumers, and by developing these direct relationships, ASAP is helping to insure the security of our local food system. By providing a model that other communities can implement, ASAP is leading the way toward a sustainable, secure food system.

Q: What’s your favorite local food dish? 

A:  This is s tough question. Asheville is blessed with many great food establishments, and to choose just one item is nearly impossible for me. My all-time favorite dishes are prepared right in our own kitchen. One big favorite is a frittata we make using sweet potatoes and a variety of other local vegetables, eggs and goat cheese. YUM!!

Photo of Terri Orange

Terri Orange — Treasurer

Q: What are you up to when you’re not at our board meetings?
A: 
I am Accounting Supervisor at the City of Asheville and enjoy working with great people in a beautiful downtown location with access to lots of wonderful local food! When I’m not working, I enjoy baking, hiking with my husband, Craig, long, lazy road trips, and spending time with our young adult offspring. We make our home in Black Mountain.

Q: Why is ASAP important to you?
A: 
In a life where few movements seem universally beneficial, ASAP’s work stands out. ASAP supports a food chain that is environmentally responsible, nutritious, and economically beneficial to our community. I especially applaud and appreciate ASAP’s education of our children regarding nutrition and local food. Children are amazingly receptive and the simplicity of ASAP’s message lends itself well to being instilled in children of all ages.

Q: What’s your favorite local food dish?
A: 
I am a diehard meat eater and am pleased to have access to locally raised meat of all kinds. I like supporting local producers and with many I can also observe firsthand how the animals are cared for.

Photo of Desiree Adaway

Desiree Adaway

The Adaway Group

Q: What are you up to when you’re not at our board meetings?

A: I am busy helping to create organizations and leaders that are resilient, nimble, and fiercely courageous. I own a consulting/coaching practice, and while based here in Asheville, I work with clients all over the world. I believe that to create work of depth and meaning, leaders need to fully engage both their creativity and their intellect. I help organizations make full use of both abilities to create strong narratives that showcase not just the data, but the story behind the data. If I am not working I am blogging, dancing, traveling, eating, reading and mothering  two amazing young women in their early 20’s!

Q: Why is ASAP important to you?

A: I can never think about sustainability without looking through the social justice lens. Almost everyone agrees; our food and farming systems must be ecologically sound and economically viable if they are to be sustainable over time. Any system of food and farming that fails to meet the needs of a society, will not be sustained by that society, no matter how ecologically benign or profitable it may appear to be. A society has physical and material needs, however, one of the most basic needs of any society is a sense of social equity or justice. Any food and farming system that is not socially just does not meet this basic need, and thus, is not sustainable. We need to bring community-based activists, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and scholars together in order to realize a more just food system for all. I want the people that grow and pick our food to be able to afford it as well.

Q: What’s your favorite local food dish?

A: This is a trick question! How can I be expected to choose one favorite? I love Curate, Limones and anything from Avenue M, Early Girl Eatery, and Sunny Point Cafe. But I can’t mention those great locations without mentioning all the other amazing food options in this town. I am also really enjoying the food trucks and the amazing food they are putting out. Let’s just be honest, I have not had a bad meal in the three years I have lived in town. I am ALWAYS talking about how great the food is, my friends think I work for the Chamber.

 

Photo of Amy Ager

Amy Ager

Hickory Nut Gap Farm

Q: What are you up to when you are not at our board meetings?

A: I co-own and operate Hickory Nut Gap Farm and Hickory Nut Gap Meats. We raise grassfed beef and pasture raised pork and chicken, host guests at our farm store and for agritourism activities as well as operate an on-farm event and catering business. HNGM purchases meat from other local farmers who grow to our protocol and distributes it regionally to both restaurants and health food stores. My husband Jamie and I also have three wonderful children who enrich our lives every day. We enjoy taking our kids to practices and games and hiking and traveling when we aren’t at the farm.

Q: Why is ASAP important to you?

A: ASAP brings all of us farmers together with buyers both on the individual and wholesale level by putting the meaning behind the term local food. They do a great job in strengthening the connections of all aspects of the food chain and promoting farming. As a farmer, I have been a part of ASAP’s initiatives since the very beginning of their efforts and have seen the inner workings and creation of Asheville City Market, been a part of the first Local Food Guide as well a host farm for the Farm Tour for many years. This organization is a staple to our food community and their staff a bright shining light behind the mission.

Q: Whats your favorite local food dish?

Today for lunch I am having Asheville Pretzel Company siracha spice pretzel rods with Three Graces Dairy cranberry and orange farmstead cheese and its really good!

Photo of Dr. Brian Asbill

Dr. Brian Asbill

Asheville Cardiology Associates

Q: What are you up to when you’re not at our board meetings?

A: I have been practicing cardiology in Asheville since 2001 with an interest in lipidology (cholesterol management) and a growing and even greater interest in lifestyle medicine. I began facilitating a lifetstyle medicine program called CHIP-the Complete Health Improvement Program-in Asheville in October 2014 and have been astounded by the difference that it makes in people’s lives! I spend most of my free time these days chasing my two boys around to various sporting events and enjoy exercising, hiking, cooking, and playing with our new dog, Watson. I love to travel and especially enjoy active adventure vacations. Trying to stay young enough to check some of the epic hikes of the world off of my bucket list before it’s too late.

Q: Why is ASAP important to you?

A: Through my involvement in the growing field of lifestyle medicine, I have witnessed the important role that good nutrition plays in managing disease risk and illness burden. Many if not most of our chronic diseases (diabetes, high cholesterol, blood pressure, cardiovascular disease) are rooted in poor lifestyle choices and what we eat makes such a huge difference to our health. People who eat whole food that is locally grown will live healthier, longer lives than those who do not. ASAP is helping build a healthy local food system that ultimately means a healthier community–and fewer patients! I am particularly interested in the Growing Minds Farm to School Program as our children need to be taught the importance of good nutrition at an early age. I look forward to exploring other ways in which ASAP can become involved with our local healthcare providers to improve the health of the citizens of Western North Carolina.

Q: What’s your favorite local food dish?

A: Honestly, we don’t eat out often as we are just too busy in the evenings with various activities these days. Since we eat a primarily plant-based diet, we enjoy cooking locally grown produce at home. Getting that weekly CSA box is like opening a Christmas present for me! I enjoy trying various ways of getting all of those great looking fruits and veggies on the dinner table each week and am constantly working to find that perfect veggie chili and veggie burger recipe. Please let me know if you have a favorite!

Photo of William Dissen

William Dissen

The Market Place

Q: What are you up to when you’re not at our board meetings?  

A:  Typically I am manning the wood fire in the kitchen at The Market Place and focusing on our next seasonal menu while chasing the best ingredients from in and around Asheville. I spend a lot of time traveling to promote sustainable food, and have found myself frequenting Capitol Hill to lobby for better food systems through food policy. When I’m home from work I’m spending time with my wife, and chasing after our two young children. We like to get out and explore the outdoors as much as possible, especially off of the Blue Ridge Parkway to hike, fly fish, and forage. And when we can we get out to travel and see the world.

Q: Why is ASAP important to you?

A: ASAP was an important reason for me to move to Asheville. Coming from West Virginia, I grew up around an Appalachian table where we ate what we grew and preserved the season’s harvest to eat throughout the year. Coming to Asheville, I knew this would be an important part of how I operated my business – Appalachian values of community, preservation, and local food. ASAP has been instrumental in helping me to forge strong relationships with local farms and artisan producers to get the best possible ingredients at The Market Place.  And along the way, I’ve met some amazing people and producers who’ve help to educate me as a chef and lover of great food.

Q: What’s your favorite local food dish?

A: My favorite local dish is what’s in season. We like to cook in the moment with ingredients that are fresh from our tailgate markets and local farms. When ingredients are super fresh, you can taste the difference. Right now local asparagus is coming in, and we are cooking a roasted asparagus with green goddess dressing, soft poached farm egg, herb croutons, pickled rhubarb, and shaved country ham. It’s bright, fresh, and let’s me know that Spring is here!

Photo of Julie Jensen

Julie Jensen

Echoview Farm & Echoview Fiber Mill

Q: What are you up to when you’re not at our board meetings?

A: I co-own and operate Echoview Farm and Echoview Fiber Mill where we make yarn. I love waking up at the farm and going to visit my animals. We have chickens, two cows, and mules as well as a variety of fiber animals. I just love being outdoors here in our mountains, so I am outside often walking around the farm with one of my dogs.

Q: Why is ASAP important to you?

A: I was attracted to WNC because of its long association of farming, craft, and innovation. I bought a farm and learned of ASAP’s Farm Tour and went on it. ASAP and that Farm Tour jump-started my journey through the local food world. ASAP embodies so many of the things that are important to me such preserving our rural past and innovating along the way to ensure that our past is relevant. It brings together very diverse groups to create a cohesive community supporting economic development through farming, health, and education. And, last but not least, it is fun to participate in ASAP’s activities.

Q: What’s your favorite local food dish?

A: My favorite dish is greasy beans fixed any and all ways, We raise them on the farm, eat as many fresh as we possibly can, and then dry them just like in the olds as leather britches. We eat them all winter long.

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Visit growing-minds.org to learn about ASAP's Farm to School program!