SEEDS is led by a dynamic board of community volunteers who guide our mission, support our programs, and help us grow.

Sandi Kronick (she/her/hers) – Co-Chair

CEO – Happy Dirt

Sandi founded Happy Dirt to provide the infrastructure needed to build a more local and organic food system. In addition to her work at SEEDS, Sandi is involed with the USDA-SARE Council, funding organic research in the Southeast and working to bring more Black and Brown farmers into the USDA funding stream. Sandi also sits on the Board at the Black Farmers Market.

Jamel Lynch (he/him/his) – Co-Chair & Treasurer

Harlem Beer Distributing NC, Founder

Julia Fiore (she/her/hers)

Summer and Extended Programs Manager, North Carolina School of Science and Math

Gini Knight (she/her/hers)

Program Manager, Center for Environmental Farming Systems

Gini is an advocate for community wealth and community leadership through food. She has used her creativity and skills in strategic partnership, coalition development, facilitation, project management, and food production to work with numerous NGOs, private businesses, and government agencies to heal our people, communities, and the land. She currently works on a multi-organizational team, Community Food Strategies, at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems to support a network of community-based local food councils.

Debbie Vu (she/her/hers)

Debbie Vu is an award-winning filmmaker who runs a production company called IronWorx Media in Durham, NC. She is a 2012 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. The following summer, she traveled to Malawi, Africa to produce documentary content for P&G’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water. She started IronWorx to produce consistent content and provide paid filmmaking opportunities to local creative storytellers who range widely in skill level and expertise. Her ultimate goal is to be able to step on a film set every day for the rest of her life.

Meredith Horton (she/her/hers)

Founder and Principal, MPH Concepts

Meredith Horton is a leader in the social justice field with over 15 years of organizing, legal advocacy, program development, and grantmaking experience on a range of social justice issues. She has held leadership roles at several southern civil rights and political groups, where her work focused on organizational strategy and structure, program design, and management of large-scale projects and diverse teams of advocates. Meredith founded MPH Concepts in 2021 to provide consulting services to social justice organizations and leaders looking to strengthen internal teams and design programs with big impact. She is particularly dedicated to supporting emerging Black and brown leaders.

Aaron Kienow (he/him/his)

C.O.O. Napoli

Aaron Kienow is an equitable and sustainable future visionary, commited in building a resilient world. Deeply embedded in food systems with his past as a chef, produce broker, and farm educator at SEEDS. With an education in Green Building and Sustainable Technologies he strives to blend these disciplines together with a circular economic model to ensure that all peoples have access to a consistant supply of healthy food, stable healthy homes, and a healthy planet to put it on all.

Tavia Benjamin (he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs)

BlackNHerby, LLC

Tavia Benjamin is a vibrational healer, energy worker, and intuitive spiritual facilitator. Their guiding mission is to reconnect people to themselves and their sovereignty, to one another, and to earth through ritual, creative space-making, and removing obstacles to connection. They are guided by their values of love, adaptability, healing, and service to themself and all living beings on the Earth. Tavia have worked in the issue areas of food sovereignty, land liberation, environmental justice, and transcending trauma, especially in Afro-Diasporic communities. Tavia stays focused on embodying liberation and creating liberated spaces for people, especially BIPOC communities, to reconnect to their divinity and sovereignty to create sustainable, holistic systems change. Figuring out how communities can heal and be their whole selves is what motivates and excites Tavia about working towards a more beautiful and loving world.

Catalina Patel (she/her/hers)

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC Sales Consultant


Catalina Patel is a passionate do-gooder . She has a bachelor’s degree in industrial design and has extensive experience in different areas of the healthcare industry. She is Bilingual, fluent in both English and Spanish. She is also a self-made real estate entrepreneur.


Erick Mcdonald – Parent Member

Brenda Brodie – Member Emerita