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Chanel Nestor, Adjunct Lecturer of Rural Sociology, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

“I really credit Community Food Strategies and NC Growing Together for helping me find my place in agriculture.”

Chanel Nestor’s eyes light up when she recalls attending Community Food Strategies’ 2017 Statewide Food Gathering. Watching conference keynote speaker Savi Horne, Executive Director of Land Loss Prevention Project, and CEFS’ Committee on Racial Equity in the Food System (CORE) Director Shorlette Ammons speak, “I had an epiphany moment. It was one of the first times in my career that I felt I was in my place. I thought, ‘this is what I need to do, community engagement with African Americans around food’.”

Chanel was attending the conference as a volunteer with Community Food Strategies after first coming to CEFS as an NC Growing Together Local Food Supply Chain Apprentice. An N.C. A&T graduate with a B.A. in Sociology and an M.S. in Agricultural Education, Chanel was looking for ways to expand her knowledge of the food system when she applied to the NC Growing Together Apprenticeship. She was placed with Piedmont Triad Regional Council, where she worked on the development of a regional food council. “I never expected my career would take me to local foods and advocacy, but I’m so grateful it has,” she says.

After the Apprenticeship, Chanel deepened her involvement with local foods through the Davidson County Local Food Network and the Cleveland County Food Council. She also founded the Bailey Conference, a strategic meeting of African Americans in the Agricultural and Rural Community Development fields. She is now an adjunct lecturer of Rural Sociology at N.C. A&T, teaching classes she took as an undergraduate in 2013.