Board of Directors
Julia Showalter, Chair
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.
Debbie Bauer, Treasurer
Debbie was a board member from 2014-2018. 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.
Anne owns and operates Healing Springs Farm and Cabins, and is dedicated to raising Belted Galloway cattle, pastured heritage breed pigs, and pastured chickens. As a beginning farmer, Anne really appreciated the assistance, teachings, and advice that she received from Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture. She strongly believes in helping other farmers and producers to succeed. She is proud to be an advocate for beginning farmers in the High Country.
Ms. V served as an Educational Interpreter for the Deaf for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and Volunteered with Special Olympics of North Carolina for two decades. After moving to West Jefferson in 2012, she served on the Board with the Ashe County Farmers Market and started her own natural soap company with the catchphrase, “Your Skin Will Tell Your Life Story!” Ms. V says, “Many believe the phrase had to do with my soap and skin care. However, being a woman, an African American woman, this phrase has also been my motivational story throughout life. It’s been a phrase that keeps me grounded, humble, aware of my surroundings, my daily survival, courage to take on challenges; and a constant reminder that I too can help others to be great!” In her free time Ms. V likes, horticulture, collecting day lilies, traveling, cooking and a great debate!
Jacqui is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University. She teaches courses on food security and sovereignty, the politics of sustainable development, and global environmental politics. Since joining the BRWIA Board in 2015, Jacqui has co-organized the High Country Food Summit and supported the launch of the Watauga Seed Library. Jacqui is also a member of Appalachian State University's Appalachian Food Research for Equity, Sustainability, and Health (AppalFRESH) Collaborative. She is passionate about supporting local food and seed sovereignty through her work with BRWIA.
Edith joined the board in May 2017. After a fulfilling career in public health nutrition at AppHealthCare, and adjunct teaching at Appalachian State University, she retired in 2015 to pursue projects that focus on sustainable development and help people out of poverty. Edith also is involved in community development work in Uganda, the country that raised her. Her work there aligns with BRWIA's vision of an equitable local food system and healthy ecosystem. Being with BRWIA staff and board members renews her faith in humanity, that there are people out there that want to make a difference in communities. Edith enjoys traveling, photography, the outdoors and facilitating better life experiences for families with small children.
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.
Jessica is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Appalachian State University. Research fellowships in British and Irish archives have supported her work on the impact of industrial food chains upon modern literature and culture. She also researches Irish agricultural cooperatives and alternative food economies. She teaches courses on British, Irish, American, and World Literatures as well as food studies, film, and Literature and the Environment.
Christina moved to Boone in 2005, studied at App State, and graduated with a Bachelor's in Health Promotions and a minor in biology. She then went to massage school and has been practicing as a massage therapist since 2012. In 2015, Christina initiated a project called Village Vision that is a volunteer-organized by the community and nested under the wing of BRWIA. Village Vision organizes events and service projects throughout the year that bring our High Country Community together for wholesome fun while promoting local food and raising funds to be accessible to all. She is passionate about creating a healthy, happy, and thriving High Country Community and feels that having a food system that is kind to the Earth, farmers, bodies while being available to everyone is an imperative root to the healthy community she dreams of.
Laura grew up in a home where all the food was homegrown, canned, preserved as much as possible. After moving to Boone in 1963, she has tried to maintain this way of life with her own children during much more modern times. These ideals lead Laura to found the Preserve Heritage Agriculture & Regional Markets NOW! non-profit and later help create The Kids' Corner at the Watauga Farmer's Market. Laura also coordinates the Tuesday Lunch Program to provide free lunch to college students every Tuesday and assists with the Children's Food Bags program to help feed children with low food security as part of her mission to enhance and sustain local food production and consumption.
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 enjoys playing guitar, doing art, and dancing.