Lorinda Crane is a UGA graduate with a BBA in Accounting. She has worked in the accounting field for 25 years, holding positions that range from staff auditor in a public accounting firm to CFO for a local, privately held company. She has called Athens her home for over 20 years and became ALT’s Director of Operations in 2015. She is excited to put her years of accounting and finance experience to further the financial health and stewardship of ALT in our local community and across Georgia.
Briane Davis first joined ALT in 2010 as an Affordable Housing intern before graduating from UGA with her B.S in Financial Planning. She recently completed her Masters in Public Administration from UGA and has returned to ALT now serving as a Neighborhood Revitalization Specialist, supporting the operations of West Broad neighborhood revitalization initiatives, the Affordable Housing program, in addition to special projects as needed. Her passion for public service started with the Georgia College Advising Corps, an AmeriCorps-funded outreach program within UGA Institute of Higher Education. A native of Athens, she is proud to be a part of building community and economic development opportunities for the Athens community.
DeJoiré Hall joined Athens Land Trust in 2017 as the Project Coordinator for the West Broad Community Cookbook. DeJoiré has a BS in Biology of Global Health from Georgetown University. She has worked as a writer and sustainable farmer, advocating for food and health security in vulnerable communities around the world. DeJoiré is excited to help preserve the history of a notable Athens community, to showcase ALT’s urban agriculture and food security project, and to highlight the significant contributions of the West Broad community to the food traditions of Athens, Georgia.
As ALT’s Farmer Outreach Specialist, Christina Hylton assists underserved and beginner farmers access NRCS and USDA resources and expand their farm businesses. She is committed to principles of sustainable development, education and community development. Christina also runs her own family farm.
Marissa Joyner first joined Athens Land Trust in 2016 as a Market Ambassador, conducting community outreach and education for the West Broad Farmers Market. She is a strong advocate for healthy eating and has provided numerous cooking demonstrations at the Market and in the wider community. She is now bringing her passion and experience in community outreach to her role as an AmeriCorps VISTA Outreach Assistant. She has over 10 years of experience working with underserved communities in Athens and other non-profit organizations. She is looking forward to establishing more partnerships and building the capacity of Athens Land Trust so that we may be able to reach every person within the community.
Ashley Na joined Athens Land Trust in 2017 as a FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Member. Ashley came to Athens to earn her BS in Ecology, and she has been here ever since. With a background in student organizing, field organizing, community organizing, leadership development, and food systems education, she is excited to see how her experience will help inform her work with Cedar Shoals High School and the Young Urban Farmers program.
Erin O’Brien moved from Colorado to Georgia in 2000, and is proud to now call Athens home. Beginning in 2014, she served at ALT as an Americorps VISTA for a year and a half before leaving to start a family. Erin returned in July 2016 as the Outreach and Development Coordinator, and is eager to find new ways to share ALT’s mission with the community and to grow the organization and its impact.
Kelsey Thompson joined ALT in January 2014 as an intern in the Affordable Housing Program. Previously serving as the Housing Coordinator, Kelsey is now serving as Education Coordinator. Kelsey oversees ALT’s youth and education programs, and manages the Housing Counseling Program. Kelsey holds a B.A in Urban Policy and Planning from Virginia Tech and her MSW from the University of Georgia, concentrating on Community Empowerment and Program Development. She has a certification in housing counseling from Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and has been very active in the Athens nonprofit sector for several years.
Kai Wilmsen joined Athens Land Trust in 2017 as a the VISTA Volunteer Coordinator. Kai is excited to be using his past experience coordinating volunteers to help build a strong and lasting volunteer base for all of ALT’s programs.
George Wright has lived in Athens and operated his own residential construction and remodeling business since 1975. He was a member of ALT’s board from 1999 through 2005, and has continued to be involved in our affordable housing program ever since, In August of 2014, he was hired as Project Oversight to supervise construction for us and is pleased to be able to put more effort into permanently affordable housing in our community.
John Anderson is a graduate of the Young Urban Farmers program, where he fostered a passion for sustainable agriculture and food justice. He now uses that passion as the Assistant Farm Manager at Williams Farm and the West Broad Garden, where he assists the farm managers in farm maintenance and works on special projects to promote the growth of both locations. John is a senior at Clarke Central High School and is also dual enrolled, studying business management at Athens Technical College. He hopes to use his experience with Athens Land Trust to impact change in the food industry in the future.
Ethel Collins, known as “Ms. Ethel,” is a community mentor and entrepreneur. She has worked with ALT as a farm contractor at the West Broad Garden since 2012, where she helps plan which crops are grown. She also lends her experience to garden volunteers and Young Urban Farmers working there. Ms. Ethel has been growing and cooking food for most of her life; she was born and raised on a farm outside of Athens where she began cooking family meals at the age of 12. A retiree from UGA Food Services, she cooks large meals weekly for her church’s soup kitchen, the Athens Homeless Shelter, and other community groups. She is also an anchor vendor at the West Broad Farmers Market, where she is widely known for her unique soul food recipes and traditional southern dishes.
Julia Connell joined Athens Land Trust as an AmeriCorps VISTA Development Assistant in May 2017 shortly after earning her Bachelors in Geography from University of Georgia. As an undergraduate, Julia worked as a research assistant with two community-oriented research collectives housed in UGA’s Geography Department. Julia also has a certificate in Geographic Information Science (GIS) and comes to ALT with three years of experience as a GIS Technician. She is excited to use her background in qualitative research and geographic data analysis to help ALT build capacity through grant-writing and fundraising.
Yarrow Koning joined Athens Land Trust in 2017 as the Farmer Outreach Coordinator. Yarrow assists new, beginning, and underserved farmers in accessing federal, state, and local resources to grow their farm businesses. Originally from Michigan, Yarrow relocated to Georgia in 2012 and is committed to the growth of flourishing and equitable communities here in the South.
Yyokkia Lawson has more than 10 years of experience in the financial industry and is passionate about fostering housing and economic development opportunities throughout the Southeast. As Housing Counselor, Yyokkia provides guidance in financial literacy, budgeting, credit repair, delinquency, and fair housing issues. Additionally, she coordinates Home-buyer Education courses, Post Purchase & Credit Workshops, and helps connect home-buyers with various purchasing programs. Yyokkia holds a B.S. in Management from Georgia Tech and an A.S. in Architectural Technology. She also holds a housing counseling certification from the GA Dept. of Community Affairs.
Kamilah Roberts first joined the Athens Land Trust in 2016 as an AmeriCorps VISTA Housing Assistant. After a year of National Service, She re-enrolled as an AmeriCorps VISTA PR Coordinator. Kamilah graduated from the University of Georgia where she majored in advertising and received her Bachelors in journalism. She is excited to apply her skills in mass communications towards building capacity for ALT through marketing and outreach efforts.
Deborah Sheppard joined ALT as Farmland Protection Specialist in November 2015. She holds a BS in Horticulture from UGA and a MS in Public and Urban Affairs from Georgia State University. As a Georgia native whose career includes founding and directing non-profit organizations dedicated to water quality protection, clean energy policy and implementation, and environmental education, she brings over 30 years of statewide conservation advocacy experience and contacts to ALT’s land conservation program. She also creates and maintains coastal gardens featuring native plants and organic vegetables grown from seed in her home-based nursery. Residing on the Georgia coast, she will focus on expanding ALT’s farmland protection program in South Georgia.Linda Stephens joined ALT in 2016 as a Market Ambassador, working with staff to promote the West Broad Garden and Farmers Market. Linda brings 29 years of experience as a professional in the nursing and healthcare fields to her outreach work, providing nutrition education, conducting cooking demonstrations, and promoting community wellness.
Krisztian Varsa joined Athens Land Trust in 2016 as the Conservation Director. Krisztian has an MRP in urban planning from Cornell University and a BA in Geography from the University of Delaware. His background is in outreach, education, program development, and implementing conservation practices at the local level. Krisztian’s passions for conservation and outreach led him to Athens Land Trust where he will develop partnerships and increase conservation opportunities to protect and improve lands for agricultural production, wildlife habitat, and natural resource management.
Previously serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member for ALT, Adam Wilson is now serving as Salesforce Specialist. He will assist with expanding ALT’s Salesforce platform to track program data and performance. In the past, Adam has worked as a freelance graphic designer, copywriter, and web developer for community non-profits. He is excited to use his previous experience in web/software programming and project management to support ALT’s plans for visionary land use. He holds a B.A. from Georgetown University.
As an Athens native, Deijhon Yearby’s growing experience began in high school, with landscaping as well as gardening at Clark Central High School. He participated in the Young Urban Farmers program during his senior year and is now the Assistant Farm Manager for Athens Land Trust. Deijhon is studying Horticulture at Athens Technical College and hopes to apply what he learns there to our farms.