Board of Directors
Judith Phoenix, Chair
As a BRWIA board member, Judith combines her commitment to women's issues, food security and environmental sustainability. She believes that consumers have a responsibility to the growers. They are the ones who keep good food moving from the farm to the table, thus ensuring the survival of the community. She travels in between meetings.
Debbie has been a board member since 2014. She has been gardening most of her adult life and her passion is school gardens that teach young people to garden and know where their food comes from. She is the former garden manager for the ASU Edible Schoolyard and a garden coordinator with the Lettuce Learn Project at Bethel Elementary School.
Susan is an associate professor in Department of Sustainable Technology & the Built Environment at Appalachian State University. She is committed to education and use of sustainable practices to produce agricultural products that enhance the health and well-being of local communities.
Jacqueline currently teaches Principals of Sustainable Development and Land Life and the Global Food Economy within the Sustainable Development Program at Appalachian State University. Her interests include global environmental politics, the politics of food and agriculture, globalization and development, global political economy, technology, politics, and society, social movements, peace and conflict, and Africa and the United States.
Phyllis R. Kloda
Phyllis Kloda currently serves as dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts at Appalachian State University. She served as associate dean in the The School of The Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences from 2012 until 2016 at The College at Brockport and as chair of the Department of Art from 2006 until 2012. Prior to her arrival at Brockport she was a faculty member in the Department of Fine Arts at Ohio Wesleyan University and at the University of Wyoming where she was recognized with an Extraordinary Merit in Research Award for her scholarship along with an Ellbogen Teaching Award. Prior experience includes serving on the Board of Directors for the Visual Studies Workshop, the Flower City Arts Center as well as the National Council of Educators for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Board as Director-at-Large. Kloda exhibits on a national and international level, having work in shows in Germany, South Africa, Canada and New Zealand and her work is included in numerous publications and journals. She earned her B.S. in Studio Art at Nazareth College and after a decade of working in the newspaper industry as a Graphics Editor she returned to earn her M.F.A. in Ceramics from Ohio University.
Margaret is employed at Conservation Trust for North Carolina as a Senior Associate, and has been with the organization since 1997. She is primarily responsible for managing internal operations, land trust relations, land protection activities, and special projects including the diversity program and creative financing initiatives. Margaret worked in the private sector, publishing an international adventure travel magazine and managing and developing multipurpose athletic facilities throughout the state. She feels lucky to have been able to weave her three favorite passions – travel, fitness and nature – into her working world. Margaret spent time in Tibet and Nepal in 2002, trekking to Everest Base Camp and renewing her commitment to help protect North Carolina’s unique natural heritage and special places. She returned to Nepal in October 2009 and hiked the Annapurna circuit.
Elaine Mansure (Secretary)
Elaine Mansure joined the board of Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture in 2015, her sophomore year of high school. From a very young age, Elaine has had an appreciation for the environment and natural resources. As she grew, she became passionate about sustainability and the local food system, and through volunteering at numerous Farm Tours, she became interested in Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture. Involvement in Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture has appeased and expanded these passions. Elaine, aside from being a student at Watauga High School, enjoys playing guitar, doing art, dancing, and currently, interning at Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture. She will graduate from high school in December of 2017 and is planning to volunteer at an organic farm in Costa Rica in the spring of 2018 before heading off to college in the fall.
Jessica is currently a visiting Professor at Appalachian State University focusing on American Literature. Prior to joining the faculty, she was an Assistant Professor of English at Lincoln Memorial University in East Tennessee and a graduate instructor at UNC Chapel Hill, where she earned the Earl Hartsell Award for Outstanding Teaching. Multiple research fellowships in British archives supported her doctoral work on the impact of industrial food chains upon the emergence of literary modernisms in Britain and Ireland, which forms the core of her first book project. She is also co-editing a scholarly volume on transnational modernisms and food studies. Dr. Martell teaches courses on modern British, Irish, American, and World Literatures, Global and Postcolonial Cinemas, Food Studies, and Rhetoric and Composition.
Grace helps develop and manage externally-funded research and outreach projects of the Appalachian Energy Center and the Research Institute for Environment, Energy and Economics (RIEEE) at Appalachian State University. She is interested in various aspects of relocalizing the food economy and how home gardening contributes to sustainable food systems. She is also committed to connecting University expertise and resources with community needs while providing experiential learning opportunities to engaged students.
Julia is a lecturer in the Biology Department at Appalachian State University. She also manages the sustainable gardens on campus including the Appalachian Roots Garden, the Sustainable Development Civic Garden and the Garden at the Child Development Center. She has helped in the development of the Watauga Seed Library and helps to organize the Kid’s Corner at the Boone Farmer’s Market. Her interests are dendrology, agroforestry and permaculture.