About us

This course is for farm and food businesses that are either owned, managed, or primarily run by People of the Global Majority, All farm sizes; urban to rural; with various ownership structures – owned, leased, nonprofit, or cooperatively operated are welcome. 

Increase your expertise in keeping farm records, improve your knowledge of past and current inequities and barriers in farming, and increase your skills in decision-making and navigating farm and food systems, so that all farms and farmers can be successful! 

This program, now in its third 3rd year, is funded through a co-operative agreement with the USDA, Risk Management Agency (RMA), under award number RMA23CPT0013618. It is co-developed through a collaboration of the many people below.  We are thankful to the course’s past and present community partners and participants who have been instrumental in creating and sustaining this course.

Meet Our Team

shakara tyler

shakara tyler

Co-Facilitator

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shakara tyler, phd is a returning-generation farmer, educator and organizer who engages in Black agrarianism, agroecology, food sovereignty and environmental justice as commitments of abolition and decolonization. She obtained her PhD at Michigan State University in Community Sustainability (CSUS) and works with Black farming communities in Michigan and the Mid-Atlantic. She is currently a Lecturer at the University of Michigan in School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS). She explores participatory and decolonial research methodologies and community-centered pedagogies in the food justice, food sovereignty and environmental justice movements. She also serves as board president at the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN), board member of the Detroit People’s Food Co-op (DPFC) and co-founder of the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund (DBFLF) and a member of the Black Dirt Farm Collective (BDFC).

Keesa V. Johnson

Keesa V. Johnson

Co-Facilitator

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Keesa is an award-winning human-centered-systems designer who focuses on equity and access issues in Food systems. She is a 2021 graduate of the University of Michigan Penny Stamps School of Art and Design school where she was awarded honors in sustainability and design leadership. Her research paradigm is centered in transformative practices for social impact. She deliberately uses African and Indigenous methodologies and methods to create bridging/healing within community designs across the state of Michigan communities. Prior to coming to CRFS, Keesa worked as the DEI Farm manager for the University of Michigan Campus Farm. She is also the first Racial Equity Chair for the Washtenaw food policy council and runs a social impact design firm called the Equity and Access Group.

Romondo Woods II

Romondo Woods II

Educator

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Romondo Woods II is father, husband, youth educator, urban farmer, resource manager at Keep Growing Detroit (KGD) and the visionary founder of Urban Youth Agriculture. Romondo Woods II, a native of Detroit, graduated from Denby High School in 2009 and holds an Associate of Applied Technology degree in Biomedical Engineering from Schoolcraft College. In response to a higher calling, he transitioned into the world of urban agriculture, becoming a dedicated advocate for youth education and access to fresh, healthy foods.

UYA currently doubles as a functional developing production farm as well as an on-site education and training space for youth and young adults. Romondo brings 8 years of experience in urban farming and community coordination and is committed to improving opportunities and dietary choices for the youth of Metro Detroit. 

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Jamie Rahrig

Jamie Rahrig

Educator

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Jamie Rahrig manages the business assistance for food and farm businesses at Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and is part of the MSU Product Center team. In her role, Jamie provides business coaching to good food businesses from farm to fork with a goal of providing equitable access to healthy and affordable food. She is the author of several publications including Funding Sources for Food Related Businesses and Loan Readiness Toolbox for Food and Farm Businesses. She has a Master of Public Health from University of Michigan Flint and a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Michigan State University. When not working she enjoys biking, reading, and spending time with her family and friends. 

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Gregory McKenzie

Gregory McKenzie

Educator

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Gregory McKenzie, a life-long Detroiter, is a graduate of the Detroit Public School
system. He attained an Associates of Arts Degree from Lewis College of Business in 1999, a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Business Management from Davenport University in 2004 and a Master’s in Business Administration (CPA concentration) from Davenport University in 2013.

He has worked in accounting in various industries over the past 25 years. As a second generation accountant, Gregory provides accounting and business consulting services through the family owned and operated firm Unicorn Unlimited, Inc. Of notable mention are the
experiences gained in the manufacturing and public accounting industries. Through these experiences, Gregory has honed a skill set in material cost accounting, profitability analysis, new accounting system set-up, software training, month and year end closing, and financial
statement compilation.

Remi Harrington

Remi Harrington

Educator

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Remi Harrington is the organizer, administrator and co-founder of the Zoo City Farm and Food Network. Having spent the past seventeen years of her career in advocacy, human services and nonprofit administration, she happened upon urban farming as an act of rebellion. Remi has a spectacular daughter named Tegan, and she is literally everything.

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Chris Bardenhagen

Chris Bardenhagen

Educator

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Chris Bardenhagen is a Farm Business Management Educator with Michigan State University Extension, based in northern Michigan (Leelanau). He works on cost of production assessments, both at the farm practice level and at the industry level. He also provides education on business structures, contracts and leases, and farm succession planning. Chris previously worked with agricultural commodity groups on cost assessment, trade issues and intellectual property development. During his doctorate studies, Chris researched farmers’ adoption of conservation practices, and studied how “quality group” farm value chain associations are organized.

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Alita Kelly

Alita Kelly

Educator

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Alita is a serial entrepreneur with several food related businesses under her belt. She has worked on local and national policy campaigns around sustainable agriculture. Alita has served on several boards, many in leadership positions including Chair for the Grand Rapids Urban Agriculture Committee. She’s currently chair of the West Michigan Chapter of the National Young Farmer Coalition, Lead Alchemist of Jade Rabbit, a strategic planning and urban agriculture development firm, and revitalizing a 10 acre apple orchard in Northern Michigan.

Rosebud Bear Schnider

Rosebud Bear Schnider

Educator

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Rosebud is an enrolled Citizen of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, recognized descendant of the Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewas and Eastern Shawnee Tribe of OK and Purepecha peoples. Currently, she is the co-director of Education and Engagement at Keep Growing Detroit, a non-profit urban farm with the mission to cultivate a food sovereign city where the majority of fruits and vegetables consumed by Detroiters are grown by residents within the city’s limits.

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Jennifer Silveri

Jennifer Silveri

Educator

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Jennifer is the Co-Executive Director of Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS) and holds a BS in Environmental Biology & Zoology from Michigan State University. She is passionate about land and water stewardship in the Great Lakes, ethnobotany, ecology, civil rights, restorative justice, decolonization, and history. She has over 15 years of experience acting as liaison for USDA with a specific focus on assisting historically underserved, limited resource and socially disadvantaged communities in successfully accessing and implementing Farm Bill programs. Her work experience includes Entomology and functional ecology research, water stewardship, environmental and agricultural risk mitigation, regulatory compliance, conservation planning, outreach and education. She has supported co-development of  MIFFS Vets-in-Ag Network, Heroes to Hives,  Agricultures Latinos Unidos, Farmer Veteran Coalition of MI, Heroes to Hives, USDA Navigators, Michigan On-Farm Produce Safety program, Michigan Produce Safety Workgroup, Michigan GroupGAP, and several peer to peer networks. 

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Lakwiita

Lakwiita

Educator

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Lakwiita (she/her) is the first person to farm in her family in two generations. However, all of her great grandparents were farmers from a diverse array of traditional agricultural communities. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Walden University and a Profitable Small Farms Certificate from Linn-Benton Community College. She is also a certified Spanish language interpreter and has served the Spanish speaking farmworker and immigrant community for over 24 years. Farming and gardening traditions and stories were maintained and passed on in her family post-Green Revolution despite massive land loss and displacement. Her great grandfather, a Chickasaw farmer born and raised in Indian Territory, continued to grow crops and tend bees in urban California after his displacement from Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl.

Over the years, Lakwiita has worked in a wide variety of agricultural settings, everywhere from dairy farms to school gardens, and she loves it all. Her passion is empowering and supporting underrepresented and underserved farmers so that they can provide nourishing, culturally appropriate foods in sustainable, healing, and empowering ways, to their communities. 

Patrice Brown

Patrice Brown

Educator

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My goal is to make a direct connection to what I’ve learned at Ross with my passion for politics (especially Detroit politics). Building an inclusive Detroit economically through galvanizing business relationships within our communities. I want to be a part of any initiative that truly benefits Detroit and its economic growth. It is important not only to build community coalitions but all efforts should be focused in the “needed” areas in the city. U of M President Schlissel recently mentioned his efforts to approach diversity on multiple levels. It is my hope that Detroit’s talent will be at the forefront of this approach as we move into a “New Detroit.”

Lolita Nunn

Lolita Nunn

Educator

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Lolita is a champion for positive social, racial, and environmental systems change. She brings over 25 years of progressive experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. She worked in the banking industry for 14 years where she developed expertise in finance, management,
and investment banking. Her passion for philanthropy then led her to the nonprofit sector where she worked in the health and humanitarian sector at the American Red Cross and American Cancer Society. Lolita is committed to using her skills and talents to build strong and resilient communities. Aligning her passion for the food system and the food sovereignty movement, she became one of the founding coalition members of the Washtenaw Black
Farmers Fund.

In Lolita’s current role, as the Director of Investor Relations and Program at Potlikker Capital, she manages the fund development design and modeling, connecting with mission-aligned investors to support the resiliency of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) farming communities nationally. Lolita is passionate about supporting the community. She is the founder of 3LM Services, where she supports people and organizations with business
development, fundraising coaching, and consulting services. Lolita currently serves as a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) Board of Directors, the Advisory Committee for Transformational Investing in Food
Systems (TIFS), and the Advisory Committee for Rende Progress Capital. Her other volunteer efforts have included addressing the needs of at-risk youth, financial literacy, and supporting
women’s empowerment. Lolita received her MBA from Eastern Michigan University

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Elzadia Washington

Elzadia Washington

Educator

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Elzadia Washington is the Project Director of the National Black Growers Association.  She is a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer who served for more than thirty years with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). She has hands-on experience and knowledge of sustainable development in agriculture production. Ms. Washington is currently the owner and operator of the Vera Heritage Farm, LLC producing naturally-grown vegetables in rural Arkansas  

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Tepfirah Rusdan

Tepfirah Rusdan

Educator

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Tepfirah (aka Tee) is a Co-Director at Keep Growing Detroit overseeing education and capacity building. This team produces the education series, manages KGD special projects, supports land and policy work and runs the youth farm education.  In 2020, she co-founded the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund, which provides capital for land purchases and infrastructure. Outside of KGD, Tepfirah also serves as Board Treasurer of the Detroit People’s Food Coop, and co-founder of Black to the Land Coalition, which connects BIPOC people to outdoor recreation. She is also currently a board advisor to several other community projects and has formerly held seats at the Detroit Food Policy Council and the Uprooting Racism Planting Justice initiative.

Maria Graziani

Maria Graziani

Educator

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Working within a local and regional food system paradigm, I develop and lead collaborative research projects that advance a more equitable & inclusive national food and ag system. I have supported farm and food entrepreneurial development through Penn State Extension’s Business Management Unit, and worked across the Center for Regional Food Systems, MSU Product Center, and the Michigan Good Food Fund. Reach out to me to discuss your local and regional planning, market analysis, or food system projects in both technical and financial development, as we work to make food systems more integral to our communities, cities and regions.

Micah Hutchinson

Micah Hutchinson

Educator

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Micah Hutchison is a Produce Safety Technician located at the Genesee Conservation District. She works with fruit and vegetable farmers in Genesee, Shiawassee, Lapeer, Livingston, Oakland, Saginaw, and Tuscola counties. She helps educate growers on the best practices to prevent and reduce microbial contamination on fresh produce. Before joining the District, she worked with Flint area residents to increase the amount of fresh produce available within the community through promoting urban gardening and urban agriculture. Micah is committed to ensuring that safe and high quality food is being provided for the community. She is a firm believer that having access to safe food is an overlooked part when trying to resolve issues with food security. Micah holds a B.A. in Political Science from Wayne State University and has recently started pursuing her B.S. in Horticulture. She currently lives in Flint, MI with her husband, daughter, and their two dogs.

Kelly McClelland

Kelly McClelland

Educator

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Kelly McClelland is a Community Food Systems Educator based in Genesee County. Kelly’s work focuses on strengthening local and regional food systems, including supporting small-scale & urban food production, farm to school projects, and local food policy efforts. Kelly has earned a B.S. in Food Science from Michigan State University, a graduate certificate in Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership from Arizona State University, and an M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems from Arizona State University.

Magnetic Sun

Magnetic Sun

Educator

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Magnetic Sun, the dedicated farm manager of Nurturing Our Seeds, brings a unique blend of passion and expertise to the realm of sustainable agriculture. With a deep-rooted commitment to nurturing the land and fostering environmental harmony, Magnetic Sun has played a pivotal role in steering the farm towards success.

Having a profound understanding of regenerative farming practices, Magnetic Sun implements innovative and eco-friendly techniques to ensure the farm’s productivity while minimizing its ecological footprint. Their leadership is characterized by a focus on permaculture principles, organic farming methods, and a strong dedication to soil health and biodiversity.

Magnetic Sun’s holistic approach extends beyond the fields, as they actively engage with the local community, promoting the farm’s mission of sustainable living. Through educational initiatives, workshops, and community partnerships, they strive to inspire others to embrace environmentally conscious farming and lifestyle choices.

Under Magnetic Sun’s stewardship, Nurturing Our Seeds continues to thrive as a beacon of sustainable agriculture, fostering a vibrant and interconnected community dedicated to cultivating a healthier, more resilient future.

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Dale Grant

Dale Grant

Educator

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Dale Grant is a CPA, QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor and Owner of Ashton B.C., PLLC, is an accounting firm that specializes in accounting, tax and advisory services. Dale’s knowledge and experience with small businesses is varied as it has been developed over the course of two separate career paths. After graduating from Florida A&M University he spent his time as a sales representative servicing small business owners. During that time he gained an appreciation of the hardworking nature of entrepreneurs. As a result of that experience he began to understand that most operators take on all of the company’s responsibilities themselves and in order to grow they must delegate out tasks. In 2010 after graduating from Keller Graduate School of Management with a Master’s Degree in Accounting and Financial Management Dale earned his CPA.  Over the course of the next 7 years he gained experience in financial reporting, tax and audit.  His experience ranges from auditing mid–sized companies throughout the state of Michigan in industries that include financial institutions, insurance companies, non-profits, and manufacturers to preparing tax returns for businesses and individuals as well as preparing financial statements and reports for public traded companies. During his time as a CPA with a large regional firm he recognized that small businesses are an underserved community. From that experience was born Ashton Business Consulting. The company began in 2015 by providing services to family and friends on nights and weekends. Now is the time for the next step by offering small business services full time. Ashton B.C., PLLC is a full service accounting firm designed specifically to meet the needs of small business owners throughout Southeastern Michigan. Proudly serving those hardworking entrepreneurs in this great region and proud to take part in this entrepreneurial renaissance.

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Ajé Dean (formerly Candius Elliot)

Ajé Dean (formerly Candius Elliot)

Educator

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Ajé Dean (formerly known as Candius Elliott) is the Founder & Director of Workin’ Roots, an urban farm focused on fighting against the food apartheid in the Nolan community of Detroit, MI.

Workin’ Roots mission is to revitalize and re-engage the community by reconnecting to the Earth through land stewardship, food sovereignty, sustainability, and herbalism.

Candius was raised in Portland, OR. She’s a beginning farmer, food justice advocate, holistic health practitioner, certified herbalist, priestess, and mother of three.

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Dazmonique Carr

Dazmonique Carr

Educator

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Dazmonique Carr is determined to build a more resilient and sustainable food system in Detroit by making fresh, locally-grown produce readily accessible for residents through her mobile grocery store, Deeply Rooted Produce.  

Founded in 2017, Deeply Rooted Produce sources produce from local BIPOC-owned and operated family farms. In addition, they also grow their own organic, all-natural produce. The produce–whether sourced from other growers or Deeply Rooted Produce’s own farm– gets packaged and delivered to another store or directly to a resident’s doorstep.

Danielle Daguio

Danielle Daguio

Educator

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Danielle Daguio

Engagement Manager, Keep Growing Detroit

As the Development & Engagement Coordinator, you can lean on Danielle to be behind the latest fundraising campaign, sharpening skills in data management, beautifying outreach efforts, helping out on harvest days at KGD Farm. She brings over a decade of experience producing multimedia for nonprofits in Detroit and NYC. She’s also a proud member of the Garden Resource Program, a participant in the Sweet on Detroit Beekeeping Program and Club, and lead co-conspirator of the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund. She maintains a humble garden and beehives on Detroit’s Eastside alongside her husband and adorable pup. You could also find her around town playing in the neighborhood soccer league, or breaking pandesal with the Detroit Filpino Supper Club. Danielle graduated with her BA and MA in Public Communications from Fordham University.

Andy Chae

Andy Chae

Educator

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ANDY CHAE

Fisheye Farms

Andy grew up skateboarding in Detroit and Chicago. He attended DePaul University, graduating in 2013 with a double major in Environmental Studies and Political Science. While in Chicago he became enamored with urban farming and saw it as a way to make a positive impact on the world. Immediately after graduation Andy was hired by the Gary Comer Youth Center as the Assistant Production Manager for their 1.25 acre urban farm. Andy decided to move back to Detroit, his hometown, to start his own farm with the support of his friends and family. Andy does day to day tasks at Fisheye Farms and has final decision-making power of the business. Andy is responsible for vegetable production and marketing.

ege of Business in 1999, a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Business Management from Davenport University in 2004 and a Master’s in Business Administration (CPA concentration) from Davenport University in 2013.

He has worked in accounting in various industries over the past 25 years. As a second generation accountant, Gregory provides accounting and business consulting services through the family owned and operated firm Unicorn Unlimited, Inc. Of notable mention are the
experiences gained in the manufacturing and public accounting industries. Through these experiences, Gregory has honed a skill set in material cost accounting, profitability analysis, new accounting system set-up, software training, month and year end closing, and financial
statement compilation.

Molly Hubbell

Molly Hubbell

Educator

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Molly Hubbell

Market Manager, Keep Growing Detroit

Molly has worked in and around agricultural communities for over 20 years. Before moving to Detroit in 2012, she lived and worked in Vermont where she studied plant & soil science, ultimately receiving a BA from The University of Vermont. She found her passion for land stewardship and cooperative agriculture through her work at The Intervale Center in Burlington, VT, and brings this passion to her current position supporting market gardeners through Grown In Detroit. Molly see’s farmland as an integral part of the Detroit cityscape, and advocates for small-scale growers whenever she can. She received her permaculture certification from The Yestermorrow Design/Build School, and enjoys helping growers design their farms for both profitability and resiliency. In addition to working at KGD, Molly is a proud member farmer of City Commons CSA. She is a potter, tinkerer, and loves playing in the dirt on her own farm in the Northend.

Florencia Colella

Florencia Colella

Educator

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Florencia Colella

Farm Business Management Educator, Michigan State University Extension

Florencia Colella is a Farm Business Management Educator with Michigan State University Extension. Raised in a migrant family of farmers, butchers, accountants, and entrepreneurs, she holds a BS in agronomy and a MS in ag, food and resource economics. She is a project manager, teacher, and facilitator and has served roles from education to government to corporations. Her goal is to help agribusinesses and policy makers make informed decisions through the collection, management and dissemination of trustworthy, localized data and information. Her main areas of focus are recordkeeping, tax planning, business analysis, rural development, food systems, marketing, information technologies applied to management, and creativity and leadership in agri-businesses, including the role of minorities in farm ownership and operation. Her pronouns are she/they and she is multiracial. Schedule a time to meet with her, either in person or via phone or video call, by going to . You may find a guide to her programs by clicking in the “Related Work” link in the menu, and finding the Table of Contents within the “Authored Documents” section.

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