Speakers

Speakers of The New Economy Summit Workshops

The Summit Team would like to thank the following speakers for their time, support, and dedication to development of the New Economy in the High Country and Beyond.

Matt Ameika completed studies in history and postmodern literature at Duke University, mattthen worked at a law firm which successfully sued the cigarette companies. He moved to Germany and passed the Zentraleoberstufenpruefung, certifying his German language knowledge at a level competent to attend programs in the German University System as a degree candidate. Returning to the United States, he concentrated on Spanish while finishing the University of South Carolina’s International MBA program. Two years later, he began law school in Florida. He finished and then passed the New York Bar exam. As he never found a suitable job after his MBA or after law school, he created his own employment. Currently, Matt designs, manufactures, buys, and sells jewelry. Most of his work is in Mexico, where he has traveled 11 times in the past 4 years. More than anything else, Matt loves to enhance awareness of the American system and its realities to others. He promotes social justice in every conversation, and hopes everyone will come to understand the benefits of living in a society which embraces social justice.

Courtney Baines is an Adjunct Instructor for Appalachian State’s Sustainable Development Program. She is a graduate of Appalachian State and Western Kentucky courtneyUniversity (M.A. Sustainable Development, Appalachian Studies; B.S. Geography, Environmental Planning). Her research interests include Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education and K-12 systems, Farm-to-college programs, strengthening local food economies, and various pedagogical techniques to improve Sustainability Education. She begins a Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership in May 2013 at Appalachian State where she will research best practices for Sustainability Education. She is currently serving as the Director of Programs for Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and previously served as their High Country Farm Tour Coordinator. Her current position is through AmeriCorps Project Conserve. Courtney also teaches yoga at Neighborhood Yoga and enjoys investigating the interconnections between spirituality and sustainability using yoga as the vehicle for exploration. She enjoys navigating the woods with her dog Maple and traveling the globe to experience various cultures and expand her world-view.

Thomas Beckett, a founding member of Ownership Appalachia, has for most of his career tbworked as an attorney serving the needs of small and start-up businesses. His clients range from software and technology ventures to agricultural enterprises. He views small business as a fundamentally creative activity by people seeking to control their own economic circumstances. He has significant experience working with agriculture enterprises in the region, including cooperatives, quasi-cooperatives and nonprofits as well as working farmers. He served five years on the board of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. He also serves on the coordinating committee of the Southern Grassroots Economies Project, a nascent organization aimed at economic recovery in the South through development of cooperatives, community-based enterprises and other mutual sharing economies. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University and earned his law degree and later an MBA at the University of North Carolina. (http://ownershipappalachia.coop/)

Richard Boylan is the Area Agent for Alternative and Organic Agriculture for Watauga and Ashe Counties. Richard received his bachelors degree from Antioch College and a Masters
richard1degree from Syracuse.  In 2009 Richard received the Sustainable Ag Extension Agent of the Year award from the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. A strong and passionate proponent of sustainable agriculture, he helped jumpstart the area’s organic farm marketing cooperative, New River Organic Growers. He has helped local farmers adapt organic farming practices to the climate and soil conditions of the region and sell their products to consumers across the state. He also works closely with the farmers’ markets in both counties…and grows some mean garlic! (http://wataugaces.blogspot.com/)

jared2-272x300Jared Cates is a recent graduate of the School of Social Work at UNC-Chapel Hill and also attended Appalachian State University where he earned bachelors degrees in both Political Science and Spanish. While he did not grow up on a farm, Jared’s family kept a large active garden. His father was a long-time chef and natural, organic foods was always a top priority in the Cates household. These days he enjoys spending time in his large urban organic garden in Durham, NC and is excited to soon be caring for his own small flock of layer chickens. (http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/)

Eustace Conway is a unique naturalist. He celebrates the freedom of individuality in all aspects of life. He is a spokesperson for the Earth, giving voice to the natural environment he loves. The renowned wildlife artist, Sallie Middleton, told him on his thirtieth birthday, “You are the most interesting man I have ever met.” Perhaps this is because Eustace has lived the life he has imagined…followed his dreams. Like thoreau, Eustace has gone to the woods to live deliberately, fronting only the essential facts of life, to see if he could not learn what it had to teach, and not when he came to die discover that he had not lived. He has lived in the woods for over 20 years. He learns by visiting extremes; once when Eustace severely cut his thumb, he sewed it back together with twelve stitches, and used plant medicine. Dr. Harvard Ayers, Appalachian State University Anthropology Professor, summed up Eustace’s many endeavors by saying, “Eustace is an articulate student of life.” Eustace is an A. S. U. graduate honored as “Most Outstanding Anthropology Senior.” He holds a degree in English as well as anthropology. But Eustace’s favorite classroom is nature; he loves the rain; he loves the cold. He is quick to smile when quoting Steve McQueen: “I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than any city in the world.” (www.turtleislandpreserve.com)

Kristen Cox works in Development and Communications for Self-Help, one of the country’s leading community development financial institutions (CDFIs) with 13 offices andself help full-service branches across North Carolina. Self-Help leverages the money individuals, institutions, and organizations deposit to responsibly lend to women, rural residents, small businesses, and low wealth families and communities who have less access to traditional capital. Since finding the Solidarity Economy movement at a summit held at UMass Amherst in 2009, Kristen has been an advocate for the larger CDFI movement, talking about class, race and economic justice, and aligning her career within community development credit unions.  She is a socially responsible and community investor herself and an alumni organizer with Resource Generation.  Formerly a resident of Chicago, Kristen worked in cultural development, community outreach and non-profit program development for 13 years. There, she founded and led the Fire This Time Fund (FTTF), a giving circle that supported creative social change projects from 2008-2012.   She graduated from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in community development.  She is part owner of her family’s former tobacco-turned cattle farm in Central Kentucky and can be reached at kristengcox@gmail.com.

Molly Hemstreet is from Morganton, North Carolina where she still lives and works.  She was a B.N. Duke Scholar at Duke University.  After graduation, with a degree in Education mollyand Spanish and Latin American Studies,  she returned to her hometown to work in the public schools.  She then moved on to work with the Center for Participatory Change organizing economic development projects across rural Western North Carolina.  She is the founder and member of Opportunity Threads a worker-owned cut and sew plant in Morganton.  Opportunity Threads focuses on custom, sustainable production for 20-30 small to mid-sized companies every year.  She has two lovely, little boys.

Dr. Kathryn Kirkpatrick  is a core faculty member of the Appalachian State University Sustainable Development Department. She earned her doctorate at the Institute of the kirkpatrickEmory’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts, her Master of Arts in English at UNC at Chapel Hill and her Bachelor of Arts in English at Winthrop University. Dr. Kirkpatrick’s research and teaching interests include eco-feminist theory, cultural studies, environmental literature and humanities, critical animal studies, and eco-poetry. She states; “We live in such a beautiful place, I find plenty to do at home. As a breast cancer survivor, I’m a big advocate of local, organic food –if I’m not planning, planting, weeding, or harvesting our garden, I’m learning new ways to prepare slow food. I enjoy hiking with our two Shetland sheepdogs, and I practice yoga as often as I can. I’m convinced that in this historical era one of the greatest powers we have as individuals is the power to consume sustainably by boycotting polluting, unethical companies and spending on organic, Fair Trade products. Like everyone else, I grieve the changing of our climate, and i try to live and teach values that might help prepare myself and others for the challenging times ahead.”  (http://sd.appstate.edu/faculty/kathryn-kirkpatrick-0)

Margaret (Maggie) McFadden came to Appalachian State University in 1975 as an assistant professor in Interdisciplinary Studies. McFadden earned a B.A. in Humanities/English from the University of Denver in 1963, an A.M. in English Language & Literature from Boston University in 1964, and a Ph.D. in Humanities from Emory University in 1973. She was the Founding Director of the Women’s Studies program and served as director for more than 12 years, at different times during her tenure at Appalachian. McFadden also served as editor of the National Women’s Studies Association Journal for six years, from 1997-2003. McFadden received a Fulbright Scholarship in 1991-92 at the Institute of Women’s Studies, Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland, where she taught and researched in Women’s Studies and in the Department of History. She was made a Docent (Guest Professor) at Åbo Akademi University in 2001 and continued to teach occasional courses there. In 2004 she received a Fulbright Grant to serve as distinguished chair of gender studies at the Institute of Gender Studies at the University of Klagenfurt in Austria, where she taught women’s history and feminist theory courses and conducted research on international women activists between 1918-40. McFadden retired from teaching at Appalachian in June 2009.

Who am I? I was born Tommy Lee McGee 3rd. Sir Tom Foolery is the character I play in this paradox we call “reality”. I am an ecstatic, when it comes to interpreting the worldtommylee through art and spoken word. Sir Tom Foolery is my voice, reporting on whatever is relevant at the moment. As an artist, the works and concepts I create, I share with you. Hopefully they will challenge, inspire and encourage perspective about whats going on around us. These works are the bi-product of conversation with my cronies about our world and how we contribute, influence, and recycle back into the Cypher (360o of life) What will happen to us, if those who have the talent and ability to speak up, neglect them and remain complacent?  (www.sirtomfoolery.com)

Marnie Thompson is co-founder and co-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities (F4DC). In her work at F4DC, Marnie is focused on developing the next generation of social change activists, spreading the gospel of grassroots fundraising (check fund4 masthead-smallout our matching grants at f4dc.org/grants), participatory budgeting, grassroots foreclosure activism, and building a new kind of economy based in principles of cooperation and sustainability. Marnie is proud to be a member of Cakalak Thunder, the Radical Marching Band, beating out dance-inspiring samba music for vigils, protests, and street festivals. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she has lived in North Carolina for most of her life. She lives in Greensboro with her partner Stephen Johnson, their two dogs Sam and Stella, a bunch of chickens, and a big old vegetable garden. Now that she’s a grandmother to almost three-year-old Eli, she’s on the road to Raleigh a whole lot more!

Marc Williams is an ethnobotanist. He has studied the people plant connection intensively while learning to employ botanicals for food, medicine, and beauty. His training content_Picture_of_me_1includes a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies concentrating in Sustainable Agriculture from Warren Wilson College and a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies concentrating in Sustainable Development with a minor in Geography and Planning from Appalachian State University. He has spent over a decade working at a multitude of restaurants, various farms, and travels throughout 23 countries in North/Central America and Europe. Marc has taught hundreds of people about the marvelous world of plants, people and their interface.  His greatest hope is that this information may help improve our current challenging global ecological situation. (http://www.botanyeveryday.com/)

The Appalachian State University Chapter of Young Americans for Liberty is a member of the national organization of the same name. Born out of the Youth For Ron Paul yalorganization, it has evolved into a non-partisan student organization promoting the ideals of liberty in the economic, social, and political spheres both on campus and in our local communities. We believe that the individual retains exclusive right to own his or her life and therefore is responsible for his or her actions. As such, we hold the that voluntary human interactions are the only ethically valid human interactions and that, ultimately, society is the responsibility of the the People, not the State. We are finally committed to principles, not politics and seek to espouse ideas, not candidate’s agendas.

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