Founding Board Members & friends of the Local Farm Cooperative gather at
the Farm for a blessing of the land, September 2020.
Both co-ops have been a labor of love, raised up by many hands, including initial incubation & support from the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth & Reconciliation; as a part of that incubation, Andre Williams & Brendan O'Connor served as the initial lead facilitators. They worked to bring the co-ops into being legally & to experiment with how to build them into cooperative businesses that were in line with the seven international principles of cooperatives, were both community-driven & owned by workers & community members, & were self-sustaining--we have not entirely met those goals yet, but they are emergent & works in progress.
the Local Restaurant's Board is still being built, and the Local Farm Board of Directors & Advisory Board below may be looking for more members, so drop us a line if interested; you can see our past Board members here. As the co-ops develop and more members join, we intend to have the Board of Directors for both co-ops comprised largely if not entirely of member-owners of the co-ops (see the "track," either Worker-Owner or Community-Owner, that each Board member is on below)--what are member-owners and what exactly are cooperatives? Find out more here...
the Local Farm Board of Directors (by first name):
ALFONZA GREER (Selma, AL)
Worker-Owner, Co-Farm Manager
Alfonza Greer, aka "Greer," is a Country Man. He's true to his ways and his word. He's one of the hardest working men this side of the Mississippi. He loves working the ground and has been awaiting the right opportunity to do this with the community--and grew up with his hands in the dirt in North Alabama. He works as a Part-time Co-Farm Manager at the Local Farm.
BRENDAN O'CONNOR (Selma, AL)
Brendan O'Connor grew up in the blue mountains of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. He has all good memories of fresh green beans his family grew in their modest garden and applesauce they cranked out from Virginia apples. Brendan recently worked for the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth & Reconciliation and was one of two (along with Andre Williams) who helped incubate the co-ops; he continues some of that work and regularly helps work the land.
DREW GLOVER (Selma, AL)
Worker-Owner, Co-Farm Manager
Drew Glover founded and directed the nonprofit Project Pollinate in 2014 in Santa Cruz, CA, overseeing the coordination of organic, native garden installations, bee hive maintenance, beekeeping education, honey extraction, and sustainable food production until 2020 when he moved to Selma. Now, he hopes to share that knowledge and help support the work happening in the Queen City of the Blackbelt. He works as a Part-time Co-Farm Manager at the Local Farm.
JENNIE PEEPLES (Selma, AL)
As a daughter of the Black Belt, Jennie Peeples is more than familiar with the importance of gardening and agriculture. She enjoys getting her hands dirty and centers the community in her work and volunteerism. When she’s not working, Jennie is spending time with family, friends, and her fur baby Rondo.
RAPHAEL CRUM (Selma, AL)
The Grandson of a Cattle farming Grandfather and a vegetable farming Grandmother, Raphael Crum has grown up driving a tractor and working cattle since he was 9. Born in Selma, and with a deep respect for Nature instilled by his elders, he has always dreamed of having his own farm someday. After moving to Atlanta as a young man and working 20 years in the restaurant business he also developed a love for food service. An opportunity to move home came up during the pandemic and he jumped at the chance. Starting a small urban farm at his house called Can't Eat Grass, he seeks to educate the community on the joys and health benefits of growing your own food.
the Local Farm Advisory Board (by first name):
CAROLYN PICKETT (Selma, AL)
Community-Owner, Advisory Board member
Carolyn Vassar Pickett is a Selma native having received her elementary education in the local private and public school systems. Carolyn has always loved the out-of-doors and continues to enjoy gardening, which includes flowers and vegetables. She attributes this to her father's enjoyment of gardening and the amount of time she spent planting seeds with him during her life. She has fond childhood memories of visits with her maternal grandparents at their farm where they raised cows and goats, fished from their private pond, grew and harvested much of the food which they consumed, both meat and plants. She recalls with relish, the Nanny goat that her paternal grandfather raised specifically for the milk that he consumed to help with digestive disorders. Carolyn and her sister Imogene continue to own the inherited maternal farm in Marengo County as well as forested land in Shelby County.
CHIP SPENCER (Marion Junction, AL)
Advisory Board member
Chip Spencer is a 4th generation Blackbelt farmer and owner of Spencer Company L.L.C., a land management and environmental restoration company based in Marion Junction, AL since 1984. Having worked with the unique soil type of the region for decades, and with his knowledge of both the native and non-native plants of the area, Chip brings a lot to the Local Farm Cooperative table.
PINKIE & CECIL HUFF (Selma, AL)
Advisory Board members
Pinkie Huff's (picture coming soon) father was a farmer and she grew up that way in Selma, where she and her brothers helped her father on the farm. Her Christian faith is very important to her, and when she considers doing something she always prays about it. She live in the neighborhood where the Local Farm Co-op is located and her husband Cecil Huff has volunteered for the Local to help with planting and clearing the land, and he has planted some on the land through a partnership with the Local.
Cecil Huff has been farming a lifetime, and grew up in Sprott in Perry County. “There ain’t too many things I don’t know, when it comes to that. We had to farm growing up," he says. He worked for the National Forest Service for around 25 years on and off, and would plant as many as 1,500 new trees a day after lumber companies would clear some of the land.