Meet Our Team

Chaquenta Neal

Chaquenta Neal

Executive Director

Chaquenta Neal is a native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, relocating to Lexington to pursue a master’s degree in agriculture economics from the University of Kentucky. She worked as a 4-H youth education agent for youth development in the UK Cooperative Extension System for more than 6 years, during which time she partnered with FoodChain as part of our Farm to School efforts. Prior to joining FoodChain, Chaquenta worked as a diversity recruiter in Undergraduate Admissions at UK for more than 2 years.

Contact Chaquenta

Leandra Forman

Leandra Forman

Director of Operations

Leandra Forman has been at FoodChain since May of 2015. For the first two years she worked as the farm manager, however she transitioned to overseeing the Processing Kitchen and Food Sector Job Training Program in 2017. Since the pandemic shut down began in March of 2020, she has coordinated with restaurant partners, farmers, food pantries, and meal recipients.  As the daughter of a chef, she grew up speaking the language of food and is so excited to share that with others! She is a graduate of Berea College and a Kentucky native, who can usually be seen cycling every street of downtown Lexington. 

Contact Leandra

Kristin Hughes

Kristin Hughes

Director of Education and Outreach

Kristin Hughes is a Lexington, Kentucky native who spent 4 years living in Spain before returning to her roots. She graduated from Valparaiso University with a Bachelor’s in Spanish and earned her Master’s of Education from Georgetown College. A product of Maxwell’s Spanish Immersion Program, she worked as a Spanish teacher for 7 years before realizing her passion for teaching food education and joining FoodChain. She enjoys exploring different cultures through their cuisine and can often be found playing volleyball in the Liga Hispana de Volleyball.

Contact Kristin

Amber Lawrence

Amber Lawrence

Kitchen Director

A line cook at heart with a background in photography and writing, working at FoodChain is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done (besides being Kara’s partner and mom-ing our eight kids!) The passion here, for not just feeding people, but nourishing and educating them while advocating for justice in every way possible makes all the hard work more than worth it.

As mentioned above, my wife Kara and I have eight whole entire kids. We spend most of our free time attempting to keep up with them, and traveling to beaches every chance we get.

Jamisha Long

Jamisha Long

Master Processor

I have been working at foodchain for a year and half, and absolutely love it. I enjoy knowing that I am helping people and love learning new healthier ways of cooking. I am a proud mom of 3 beautiful children and also a full time student on the road to becoming an elementary school teacher.

Lowanda Harris

Lowanda Harris

Prep Cook

Ivette Falcon

Ivette Falcon

Administrative Director of Fruit and Veggies

Ivette likes working at FoodChain because it feels good to give back to the community make healthy meals for kids.

In her free time, she likes to spend time with my family and make desserts.

Laz Parker

Laz Parker

Prep Cook

Laz has worked at FoodChain for 6 months in the kitchen. He enjoys coming up with new recipes for dinner and learning from others. His motto is “I will survive”.

Ethan Buland

Ethan Buland

Farm Manager

Becca Taylor

Becca Taylor

Volunteer & Delivery Coordinator

Becca Taylor began working at FoodChain after the creation of FoodChian’s Nourish Meal Delivery program which grew out of the COVID-19 pandemic.  At FoodChain, she loves getting to know the diverse community of which FoodChain is a part and sharing new and creative ways to enjoy food. A graduate of Berea College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish, she loves using her language skills to connect FoodChain with even more of the Lexington community. Her favorite things to cook are curries and bread and she loves experimenting with fermented foods.

Tem Burikhanov

Tem Burikhanov

Prep Cook

Tem is an Uzbek American who was born in Japan but raised in Lexington since the age of one. Tem started his cooking career in high school and has continued learning and growing in the food industry since. Outside of work he enjoys the great outdoors, food, and the arts.

Jane Harrod

Jane Harrod

Farm Manager

Board of Directors

Shawn Burns

Shawn Burns

Board Chair

Shawn believes all people in the Lexington community should have access to nutritious, delicious food, employment opportunities. Most importantly we need to gather as a ‘Community’ over this bounty of wonderful Central KY food. He brings his skills in large volume food purchasing and operations to the FoodChain board. His work on the board includes generating capital on the Fundraising Committee and providing cash flow and profitability insights to the Financial Committee.

Becca Self

Becca Self

Board Member

Becca founded FoodChain in 2011 after a decade working in education, both as a classroom teacher and in the nonprofit sector. She is passionate about food and is committed to ensuring that everyone find access and joy through shared consumption. She served as the Executive Director of FoodChain for 10 years and is excited to work to inspire new ways for sustainable fresh food to be available to everyone in our community. She is a native Lexingtonian, and lives with her husband and two children, who all enjoy cooking and eating together.

Ouita Michel

Ouita Michel

Board Member

Since 2001, when Ouita Michel and her husband, Chris, opened the Holly Hill Inn in Midway, Ky., she has made locally grown ingredients a priority in her world-class cuisine. Her restaurants (Holly Hill Inn, Wallace Station, Windy Corner, Smithtown Seafood, and Midway Bakery) have purchased more than $2 million of Kentucky-grown meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables over the last 16 years. Ouita is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. She is a member of Slow Food USA; Les Dames d’Escoffier; deacon and free community supper programs coordinator for Midway Christian Church. She, Chris and their daughter, Willa, live in Midway. She has been a Board Member since FoodChain was founded in 2011.

 

Lindsey Clem

Lindsey Clem

Vice-Chair

Lindsey Clem currently serves as a Director of Philanthropy on the Grateful Patients and Families team at UK HealthCare.  With over 15 years of fundraising experience, Lindsey enjoys matching resources and passions with big visions, relationship building and storytelling.  She was born and raised in East Tennessee where she graduated from Milligan College.  Lindsey lives in Lexington with her husband, Steven and daughters, Sullivan and Willa.  Her favorite vegetable is a homegrown Mr. Stripey tomato (even though tomatoes are technically fruit!).

Shawn Blades

Shawn Blades

Board Member

Shawn is a Pikeville, KY native that began a banking career in 1996. Shawn has been with BB&T since 2005 and is currently serving as a Market Leader and Small Business Development Officer. Shawn lives in Lexington with her husband – Henry, her son – John, and their four dogs.

Norma Taylor

Board Member

Erinn Conness

Board Member

Agnes Marrero

Board Member

Ryan Foster

Ryan Foster

Treasurer

Ryan D. Foster is a Vice President/Commercial Lending with Traditional Bank, Inc and a local real estate investor. A graduate of Tates Creek High School and The University of Kentucky, Ryan has spent his entire life in Lexington. Ryan’s passions include U.K sports, camping, kayaking, travel and drafting his first book, Always Pick up a Penny. He joined FoodChain’s board in Fall of 2015.

Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone

Board Member

Sharon is a retired FCPS elementary teacher. She was born in Danville but calls Lexington home along with her husband, Terry and two sons, Elijah and Myles.

She serves as the farmer liaison for The Woodhill International Market as well as being one of the many farmers that provide produce to the market.

She acknowledges that food justice work is important and believes that everyone should have the right to access fresh local foods near their homes.

Ka'Sondra L. Brown

Ka'Sondra L. Brown

Board Member

KaSondra L. Brown is a native of Stanford KY. She graduated from Lincoln County High School and attended Kentucky State University where she earned her Bachelor of Art degree in Child Development and Family Relations. KaSondra is very proud of the fact that she is the eighth woman in her family to both attend and graduate from KSU.

KaSondra is a Certified Target Case Manager throughout the state of Kentucky and a Credential Early Childhood Education Tainer. She is currently working for two Therapeutic Practices in Lexington where she is a Target Case Manager. She is the Governor-elected Commissioner for Serve Kentucky. Besides tending to her commissioner duties, KaSondra is a parent representative for the Site-Based Decision-Making Council at Julius Marks Elementary School, as well as an active member of the advisory council at The Lexington Traditional Magnet School.

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