Mid-South Food LINC
Over the next three years, in accordance with USDA’s objectives for Food LINC, Communities Unlimited is building a healthy foods value chain that links both rural and urban farmers to anchor customers, food deserts and other market opportunities by strengthening and creating the required infrastructure and relationships. Our purpose is to create a healthy foods economy in the Mid-South and Memphis that creates new opportunities for small scale farmers, entrepreneurs and existing small businesses, leading to job creation.
CU as the Food LINC value chain coordinator will:
- Build and enhance local and regional food systems
- Test the effectiveness of value chain coordinator (VCC) to provide coordination services between producers and buyers
- Leverage capacity of VCC to access sources of healthy foods funding at USDA and other agencies to benefit a “food system” instead of individual small scale initiatives
- Create a “learning community” between coordinators in order to accelerate the development and adoption of best practices
Brenda Williams is serving as the Healthy Foods Coordinator. She is responsible for managing the Mid-South Food LINC value chain collaboration. Previously, Brenda was with The University of Memphis Fogelman College of Business of Economics and before that Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center, both in Memphis, TN. Brenda has an extensive professional background with various nonprofits in program management, community development, facilitation of educational and training programs and developing strong collaborative partnerships. Brenda’s credentials include a commitment to the Mid-South, a BS and a MBA, and over 17 years of experience that leverages her community outreach and engagement network with demonstrated leadership of strategic initiatives all bound by a commitment to helping all people live healthy lives.
Edward Wiley is the Food Safety Trainer with Communities Unlimited. He received his B.S. degree from Alcorn State University in General Agriculture. Prior to being employed with Communities Unlimited, he worked for 13 years as the Agricultural & Natural Resources instructor at the Quitman County Career & Technical Center in Marks, Ms. In addition to teaching, Edward has worked as the dairy farm manager at Alcorn State University. He is also a U.S. Army veteran, having served 3 years of active military duty to include a tour in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. Edward has years of service as a technical adviser to produce growers in the Mississippi Delta and is dedicated to bridging the gap between local growers and consumers.