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  • 2019 Speakers

    Join us at NCYGS 2019 where our speakers will address sustainability from many different angles.

    2019 Speakers

    Meet our 2019 NCYGS speakers

    Amani Olugbala

    Pre-symposium workshop, Wednesday, July 10

    Amani Olugbala, Community Educator at Soul Fire Farm, is a storyteller and food justice advocate with over 15 years of experience in youth education and community outreach. Amani combines artistic expression, project-based learning and outdoor education tools to facilitate social justice based workshops and discussions with individuals, groups and organizations. Amani seeks to push communities to challenge presumed differences and work together in uncovering interlocked paths towards self determination and community liberation. Amani’s early work with the Natural Leaders, Brother Yusuf and the Youth Ed Venture Network, underscored the necessity of reintroduction to land as a source of healing and power for those of us who have been historically and systematically disconnected. Amani awoke a personal connection to seed while directing YO!, a youth-centered urban garden program in Albany, NY. At Soul Fire Farm’s Black and Latinx Farmer Immersion, Amani further cultivated the tools to sustain this connection and share it with others. Soul Fire Farm raises life-giving food to folks surviving food apartheid, trains farmer activists, advocates for systemic change and offers models for revolutionary thrival through love, ancestral wisdom and Earth reverence. Raptivist, spoken word artist, and abolitionist, Amani O+ is driven to uplift love, art & service as necessary expressions of rebellion against a sense of disconnection and hopelessness that threatens our collective peace and wellness.


    Pashon Murray

    Keynote Presentation, Thursday, July 11

    Pashon Murray is an environmentalist and entrepreneur, known for her work in waste reduction, recycling, and reuse of materials, especially food waste for compost. In 2010 she established Detroit Dirt, a composting company that specializes in providing compost and food waste solutions for the metro Detroit business community. Detroit Dirt's closed-loop model: taking food waste, repurposing it and putting it back into the community, was designed by Murray to help revitalize Detroit and became a part of an urban farming movement and aligned with the automotive industry to help push landfill free, zero waste.

    Newsweek Magazine named Murray one of its "13 Women in Business to Bet On." Murray became a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab Fellow, she received recognition for her environmental work from Modern Farmer Magazine, was recognized by Martha Stewart American Made, and named one of ten women in the world to watch by the United Nations Foundation Global Accelerator's Inaugural Women's Entrepreneurship Day. She was also named Most Innovative Women in Food & Wine, and Forbes magazines.

    In 2016 she established the Detroit Dirt Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that works on environmental projects through education, research and serving the public with programs, services on sustainable practices and improved waste to resources management practices related to food and corporate responsibility. Murray has received various awards and recognition and continues to dedicate her life to the environment, the low carbon economy and climate resiliency.