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OUR TEAM

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

JoVonna Johnson

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JoVonna Johnson Cooke is a vegan chef and food justice activist working in Atlanta. She is the co-founder of MaituFoods, which is a vegan food delivery service and vegan lunch program developer. She is working to develop culturally appropriate and accessible educational materials that highlight the benefits of healthy nutrition through a vegan diet. She is credited with establishing MaituFoods' Plant Based Pregnancy Meal service - the first of its kind owned and operated by a BIPOC woman in Metro Atlanta.

 

JoVonna co-founded Grow Where You Are, a grower-led collective committed to increasing local food sover-eignty by assisting individuals and communities in creating sustainable, plant-based local food systems.

 

In 2015, she was awarded most innovative business by The Center for Civic Innovation, Atlanta. In 2016, Slow Food Atlanta selected JoVonna as a US delegate to Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, in Turin, Italy, the biggest international event dedicated to food, the environment, agriculture, and food politics. In 2020, Community Farmer’s Market awarded her with the Lady Locavore Award as an outstanding local chef and woman business owner. The Lady Locavore Award celebrates women in the Atlanta local food movement. 

 

Recently she received certificates of completion from the Herbal Immersion Program from Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine and Rouxbe Culinary for completion of their Professional Plant Based Certification Course.

President

Eugene Cooke

Eugene Cooke is an American-born father of four descended from Indigenous farmers and African refugees. His unique perspective is based on 20 years of growing food in urban areas, as well as work-study abroad in Africa, Jamaica, and Haiti.

 

Eugene is a founding member of Grow Where You Are (GWYA), a dynamic full-service social enterprise developing local food systems in urban areas. GWYA partners with organizations and individuals to bring food abundance to communities that value real food. They design, install, and maintain multiple public and private spaces where food is produced using natural principles. As a consultant, Eugene works with institutions and individuals to plant fruit orchards, develop farms and assist in ecological restoration.

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OPERATIONS MANAGER 

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Akilah Duniani

Akilah Duniani has been the operations manager at Awali for over a year. Akilah works first hand with Awali administrators to build lasting systems that support program development and structural expansion. Akilah has utilized her 5 years of experience in project management, system integration, and business development to alleviate critical obstacles that evolving organizations confront. Akilah’s favorite part of the job is helping good people make impactful change for good.  

 

SECRETARY

Renay Nailon

With a BA in Mass Media arts, and a concentration in film, Renay Nailion is a professional freelance graphic artist in Atlanta, Ga. She has a focus on refurbishment and original design. Renay Nailon also specializes in advertising through webpage design and development, product development, and enterprise branding. She has also worked in film production as a location scout, manager, coordinator, and director for over 10 years.

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