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Malik Yakini

In 2006, Malik Yakini organized a meeting of about 40 people to discuss food security issues; at that meeting, the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network was born. Yakini recently won a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award for his work to ensure social justice, food equity, and food security for the people of Detroit.

Minsu Longariu

Minsu Longariu, executive director of the Restaurant Opportunity Center of Michigan, believes in the power of people coming together to create change. Whether that happens around a restaurant table or in a community meeting, Longariu says that working together is the best way to overcome big challenges.

Alison Heeres

A former volunteer for Cooking Matters courses, Alison Heeres is now in charge of educational programming for The Next Urban Chef, a program that educates Detroit youth on local food systems and sustainability while teaching valuable culinary skills. 

Amy Berkhoudt

Amy Berkhoudt brings a relative newcomer’s fresh perspective to Detroit’s issues, along with an unwavering belief in the potential of the city’s youth. She also brings energy and passion to bear in her work as co-director of the Detroit Youth Food Brigade.

Oran Hesterman

Fair Foods Network’s president and CEO Oran Hesterman, Ph.D., is a passionate leader, author, and promoter of good nutrition for vulnerable children and families. Using strong public-private partnerships and carefully measuring program impact, Fair Food Network is a leader in improving access to healthy, fresh food for Michigan residents.

Brother Jerry Smith

As executive director of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen on Detroit’s near-eastside, Brother Jerry Smith sees his role as helping people grow and develop. That belief extends from the youngest children in after-school programs to agency staff, some of whom first came to the soup kitchen for services.

Mike Garfield

There’s more than one way to help save a planet, and Mike Garfield, director of the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, has had a hand in most of them. In his 20-year career, he has seen once-radical ideas such as recycling become commonplace and has persuaded communities to consider land use in new ways. Today, Garfield and his Ecology Center team continue their work to preserve our ecosystem for future generations.

Gilda Z. Jacobs

Gilda Jacobs once worked as a Michigan state legislator. In her current position as president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, she believes she’ll make more of an impact on the lives of vulnerable children and families. 

W. DeWayne Wells

DeWayne Wells, president of Gleaners Community Food Bank, not only measures progress by number of meals distributed to hungry people, but also by how much the community is engaged and working from a common front. Under his leadership, Gleaners projects to distribute 45 million pounds of food in 2012.  

Lisa Oliver-King

Lisa Oliver-King came to Grand Rapid’s Our Kitchen Table (OKT) with no gardening background, yet she was leading an agency that taught people to grow their own food. Today, she’s an avid gardener who dreams of expanding OKT’s gardening, farm market and outreach projects so that no one is turned away.
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