Cara Stretch, Cara, our new Executive Director, joined Feast Down East in May 2019. Cara obtained a BA in English from West Chester University and spent several years in the lending industry. In 2007 Cara was hired by a non-profit in Baltimore City to help the already vulnerable avoid foreclosure during the financial crisis. The experience of working with clients as a housing counselor motivated Cara to create a holistic housing counseling department with a mission to help stabilize some of Baltimore City’s most vulnerable families in their housing. Health is a major destabilizing factor for clients and Cara was struck by the lack of access to fresh, healthy food. After working with legislatures both in her time at the non-profit and while working for the State of Maryland to create fair and equitable lending laws, Cara fell in love with policy work and wanted to work to ensure fair access to healthy food. She obtained a certificate as a health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and then received a master’s degree in nutrition and integrative health from Maryland University of Integrative Health. For years Cara and her husband wanted to move somewhere warmer and closer to the beach and after researching areas decided to relocate to Wilmington. She is thrilled to join Feast Down East and to work with the staff, board and community to extend accessibility and education about the benefits of fresh and healthy food while helping farmers build strong, stable businesses. You can find Cara and her family at the beach, working out, cooking, exploring farmer’s markets and trying new restaurants in their free time. firstname.lastname@example.org, (910) 524-0128
Zach LaVere, Zach LaVere, Food Hub Manager, grew up in Burgaw spending summers helping his grandparents tend, harvest, and preserve produce out of their large garden. He carries on that tradition today, growing produce and poultry for his family, while sourcing other items from local farmers. Zach graduated from Western Carolina University with a BSBA and a concentration in Entrepreneurship. After completing school, he worked as a banker, financial consultant, and bookkeeper. He joined Feast Down East in 2016. email@example.com, (910) 524-0615
Jordyn Appel, Local Motive Program Director, is Michigan grown and had an early passion for environmental stewardship and action through community-based initiatives. Transplanting in 2015 as a FoodCorps service member with Feast Down East, she spent two years engaging students, school communities and local partners in school garden and nutrition education. In her current role, she is beginning to address the issue of a lack in access to fresh, local and healthy foods through the Local Motive Mobile Farmers Market. She is constantly empowered and humbled while engaging with the community in helping to create collaborative efforts to mobilize and build a local, accessible food system that is equitable, sustainable and healthy. Jordyn is additionally a small-scale farmer and school garden educator with her business, Centripetal Farms, and enjoys to spend her time outside; whether if its working & learning from the land, hiking with her dogs, or making her way to the water. firstname.lastname@example.org, (910) 524-0269
Virginia Cornell, Development Director, grew up in Raleigh and has a BA degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in Communications. Over the last 20 years, she has raised funds for United Way of Greater Greensboro, UNCG’s Bryan School of Business and Spartan Athletics, and most recently Hope Academy of Greensboro. Virginia is passionate about working for racial equity and bringing resources to under-served communities. She joined Feast Down East in January 2018. email@example.com, (336) 707-4378
Keith Sargeant, Delivery Driver, was born in Barbados and studied agriculture and woodworking at St. Augustine’s. His interest in agriculture came at a young age and he started farming when he was 14 years old. He moved to the United States in 1967 and spent most of his career in Wisconsin where he owned a large-scale woodworking business. He retired to Currie, North Carolina in 2005 where he put his carpentry skills to use and built his own greenhouse, which is partially set up for hydroponic growing. He also keeps over 200 chickens from which he sells eggs under the Sarge’s Farm label.
Matt Underwood, Strategic Partnerships Consultant, grew up in Greensboro, NC and has always had a passion for food. After earning his culinary degree, Matt moved to Boston to hone his skills as a chef. While living in New England, he was the chef at New Rivers, a James Beard nominated farm to table restaurant, and sourced his produce and meats almost exclusively from local sources. After leaving the kitchen, Matt worked on an organic farm planting and harvesting organic salad greens and herbs. He later moved on to work with a specialty meat supplier and assisted with setting up programs to help the local farmers grow their business. He firmly believes in improving the connection between local food sources and its consumers. firstname.lastname@example.org, (910) 617-9734
The mission of Feast Down East is to create a healthy, accessible local food system, which supports economic growth in Southeastern North Carolina. The organization originated in 2006 as a UNCW-affiliated economic development project, the Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Program. Feast Down East was then established in 2010 as a nonprofit organization. Our programs help to support farm businesses, distribute local produce and increase access for all consumers. We also educate the public on the importance of buying local foods.
Read more about the history of Feast Down East and our network of partners.
BOARD of DIRECTORS
Dr. Alice Ammerman, Co-chair
Director, UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Randolph Keaton, Co-chair
Executive Director, Men and Women United for Youth and Families, CDC
Matt Rogers, Vice President
Director of Strategic Development, Aramark Food Services/UNCW Campus Dining
Dr. Jill Waity, Treasurer & Secretary
Assistant Professor of Sociology, UNC Wilmington
Farmer/Owner, Dozier Grain & Produce
Dr. Marcie Ferris
Professor of American Studies, UNC Chapel Hill
Wilmington Housing Authority/FDE Community Liaison
Agriculture Management Agent, Virginia State University