We are pleased to welcome our Director of Finance and Administration, Tamra Perkins! She is responsible for all our Financial Management which encompasses budgeting, accounting, contracts and audits. She will also assist with logistical things like equipment purchases & establishing policies, procedures, and compliance.
-At 8:00AM on a Saturday morning, you can find her watching a Beyblades cartoon with her five year old son.
-Her favorite garden vegetable is the string bean. She spent many hours as a young girl sitting at her grandmother’s feet snapping beans on a Saturday in preparation for Sunday’s after church meal.
-A unique fact about her is that she has 17 tattoos.
FROM TAMRA: I’m looking forward to helping make a difference through educating and spreading the BCFSN movement. Having grown up eating farm fresh vegetables and knowing the benefits of that way of living, it’s important to me for future generations to also know that experience. My husband has health challenges sourced from his unhealthy eating and lifestyle and our oldest son started down that same path. My five-year-old is determined to break the cycle. He’s a vegetarian that loves fruits and vegetables and refuses to eat meat. He wants to stay healthy and live long like his MeMe (my grandmother – she’s 91 and thriving). I want to be like him when I grow up!
We are also excited to welcome our A.R.C Program Manager, Kalvin Jackson. He is responsible for all A.R.C operations including receiving, loading, inventory, delivery, and packaging. He will coordinate the logistics of farmer’s produce delivery to churches and delivery of produce between churches. The A.R.C program is a food-value chain that creates a direct partnership between Black farmers and churches and opens a niche market for Black farmers that wish to sell produce to churches for institutional purchasing.
His favorite garden tool is the water hose. It’s often overlooked but maybe the most important tool in the garden!
With 1 million dollars, he would buy a house and season tickets to the Ravens and Orioles.
He loves to play the bass guitar, play softball, learn about wine, and spend time with his wife Ashley and dog Jaxon.
This role inspires me because I’m able to create a system that serves my people. Getting nutritional food in communities designed not to have them is a huge task, and having that as my primary role is a huge undertaking. I’m ready to be able to say that Black Church Food Security Network, with the help of Kalvin Jackson, is feeding Black America.
We are pleased to welcome our new Executive Assistant to the Executive Director, Albert Hardy! He will be providing crucial administrative support for our Executive Director, Dr Brown as well as serving as a liaison between the Staff and Dr. Brown. He will be overseeing projects, softwares and processes that make our organization run smooth and with efficiency.
-His favorite food is Chicken & French Fries.
-On a Friday night, you can find him watching movies & heading to bed early!
-His favorite garden vegetable is Kale and if he had 1 Million Dollars he would be traveling.
FROM ALBERT: In joining the Black Church Food Security Network, I am looking forward to being a connector! I am excited to get to know each and every staff member as we work together because I believe relationships are what drives success. Through this work, I am empowered by the fact that I will be helping to write Black History through our transformational efforts. I am driven also by my family – my wife of 6 years and our 3 year old son, Ace, our 1 year old daughter, Rhyan and our son on the way! I can’t forget my miniature schnauzer Jax also!
We are pleased to continue to work with our Events Intern, Brahein Richardson! He is a rising senior at Johns Hopkins University. This summer, he had the opportunity to be a part of the Community Impact Internships Program, where he was paired with the Black Church Food Security Network. He will continue his role through the Fall & Spring semesters and we are so fortunate for this work with our Events team and our Director of Events, Linneal Smith.
-His favorite line from a film is from Jurassic Park where the game warden yells “Shoot her, shoot her!” as one of the workers is being attacked by a dinosaur.
-I’m studying Chemistry & Spanish at John Hopkins University.
-I’m currently recapping my experiences at the Soil to Sanctuary Markets on the BCFSN Blog!
FROM BRAHEIN: Working with the Black Church Food Security Network this summer has been a life-changing experience. I think what inspires me most to be a part of this work is knowing that we are a part of a large, but sometimes not always visible community. Many other organizations, nonprofits, people, etc. work in Black food justice and sovereignty for the future. We work together, inspire one another, and support one another. One of my personal goals for my role as a staff member is to continue to flush out the creativity in me for branding, marketing, and brainstorming for social media and events.
As we grow our network and expand, we rely on our Coordinating Committees in different regions. Please welcome our Jacksonville Metro Local Coordinator, Stephen Husband! He will be organizing and facilitating meetings and discussions with member churches and community stakeholders in Jacksonville. He will aim to develop goals, strategies and standard operating procedures for the network as well as provide garden and farm support, facilitating material needs, labor needs and any agriculture related problems for his local Churches. He is our “boots on the ground” contact in Florida!
-His life goal is to own over 1000 acres of land! If he won a million dollars it would go far towards that goal but he accepts Venmo and CashApp too 🙂
-He loves to surf, play guitar, and play with his kids most of all.
-His favorite book is the Book of Eli : In all these years he’s been carrying it and reading it every day that he got so caught up in keeping it safe that he forgot to live by what he learned from it.
FROM STEPHEN: Agriculture saved me, as a kid I always planted gardens each fall and spring with my mother. As I grew and became a teenager I drifted away from the gardens with mom and fell into many of the dark paths there are for a young black man trying to find himself. In 2011 in an attempt to get me out of the streets my mother told me about a man teaching a gardening and fitness course for kids from the local boys and girls club, he needed an assistant and said if I helped him for 6 Saturdays in a row from 10-11 he would pay me 1400$. Initially only in it for the money I accepted, then over the next 6 weeks something happened within me. See deep down I was tired, tired of all the paranoia, fear and worry that came with my lifestyle and this man named Dan Bradford helped show me a way out. It wasn’t instant but within a years time I had started my business installing raised bed gardens in the way Mr. Bradford showed me too, that was almost 10 years ago. Through my business I have been able to do what Dan did for me for some of my young employees, and through the network that will only be amplified. In summary what inspires me is the opportunity to find troubled souls and bring them to the light in the way agriculture has for me. My goals as a staff member are to expand the network not only within Jacksonville but all throughout Northeast Florida and Southern Georgia. To help build operating procedures and processes for those to follow in my footsteps and most importantly to help facilitate self-sufficiency and pride for my community.
Please also welcome our DC Metro Local Coordinator, Ashley Drakeford! She will be recruiting churches in the DC area to join BCFSN and then assisting them with helping to build and maintain their gardens. She will help organize local black churches, black farmers, and key stake holders in efforts to strengthen the hyper-local food system in the area.
-Hori Hori is her favorite garden tool. It can be used in so many different ways, its great! Sometimes it’s all you need. You want to cut something? Hori hori. You need to dig? Hori Hori. You need to measure something really quick, Hori Hori!
-Her entrance song as she walked on a stage would be: Keep On by D-Train, the Extended Version
-Her favorite garden vegetable is Zucchini. She loves to make zucchini bread, or use it to make zoodles, put it in a stir-fry, the list goes on and on.
FROM ASHLEY: I am a 6th generation Prince George’s County resident, and can trace my ancestry in Prince George’s County back before the end of enslavement. My ancestors were agrarians with strong roots in County and historic church Ridgely United Methodist Church in the community where I currently do Food Justice work. Understanding the story and rich history of my ancestors, Great Grandparents, Grand parents and so on helps me to honor their sacrifices, bring light to their stories, and broaden their legacy. My goal is to help the black farmers, churches, and organizers that are already doing great work find each other so we can fit together to create our own hyper-local food system that best supports our community.
Please meet our Baltimore Metro Local Coordinator, Jonathan Brown! He will be recruiting churches to become members of the BCFSN while assisting them in establishing, maintaining, and expanding their garden ministries. He is the main point of contact for all Baltimore members including hosting monthly meetings, and he will be gathering data from local church gardens to help measure impact at the local level.
-Since he is from Maryland, his favorite food is definitely crabs!
-If he had a million dollars, he would buy his dream house and travel the world to watch the Ravens, Orioles, and Wizards play…”and I guess buy my wife some slippers, or something nice. “
-On a Friday night, you can find him playing video games until 3:00AM!
FROM JONATHAN: As a pastor’s kid raised in the church, I have a passion for working and caring for Black churches and communities. One of my main goals is to develop authentic relationships with local churches and help them grow in a productive and sustainable way. I look forward to getting up to speed and becoming a contributing member of the team and increasing my knowledge of gardening and farming.
Please meet our new Development Manager, Erika Jackson-Stokes! With a focus on increase our donations and fundraising dollars from grants and other avenues, she will be developing fundraising operation practices, managing data tracking and reporting systems, and writing compelling stories that boosts BCFSN’s philanthropic support!
-Since considers herself to be good at listening!
-Her favorite garden vegetables are spinach, broccoli, & onions.
-She loves hiking, dancing, making music playlists and hearing new music.
FROM ERIKA: Access to quality food is essential and vital. It is a right and basic need. Knowing the history of systemic racism and still seeing the intentional methods to limit Black people’s access to quality food, amongst many other things, is infuriating. Knowing too much is a lot to carry by myself. I am glad to co-work and commune with others who are also just as aware, passionate, creative, and action oriented to co-create sustainable solutions. Some personal goals as a staff member with BCFSN are to retain and grow our base of donors and to encourage all staff to recognize how their work impacts funding.