Keynote Speakers

Savi Horne

Savi Horne is Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers, Land Loss Prevention Project, which was founded in 1983, as a non-profit, public interest law firm with an overarching mission of providing legal expertise, community education, and advocacy skills to help farmers and rural landowners who face legal, economic, and environmental challenges. As a state, regional and national non-governmental organization leader, she has been instrumental in addressing the needs of small and socially-disadvantage farmers. She graduated from Rutgers University, School of Law-Newark, New Jersey and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1990.

Owusu Bandele

bandele pix.jpgDr. Owusu Bandele is professor emeritus at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Much of his work involved identifying and evaluating alternative crops and cropping systems for limited resource vegetable farmers.  Dr. Bandele has been active in coordinating and participating in numerous workshops in the southeast United States, as well as in Latin America and Africa that highlight organic production practices.  In 1997, he and his wife, Efuru, established the Food for Thought Organic Farm in Baton Rouge with the purpose of encouraging more small-scale African American farmers in the South to grow organically. In 2006 the late Ms. Cynthia Hayes along with Dr. Bandele founded the Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON).  Currently, Bandele serves on SAAFON’s Advisory Board as well as SAAFON’s representative in the National Black Food and Justice Alliance. Since his retirement in 2009, Bandele has continued to assist in the establishment of community gardens in Louisiana and has worked with incarcerated youth by providing horticultural training.

Walter Andrew Hill

Walter Hill, Vice Provost of Land Grant University Affairs, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences at Tuskegee University and the 1890 Research Director of the George Washington Carver Agricultural Experiment Station and 1890 Extension Administrator, is a national champion of student development, diversity and inclusivity.

A respected scientist, educator and administrator, Hill’s collaborative spirit and creativity has stewarded Tuskegee and fellow educational institutions to successful partnerships with government, private industry and philanthropic organizations.  

Most recently, Hill led the development of an agreement between Tuskegee and Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to strengthen collaborations in research, education and extension and outreach. It has resulted in cooperative research, including a study of foods made from purple hull peas, and participation of Tuskegee undergraduates in the college’s George Washington Carver Summer Research Internship Program.  

His dedication to his profession includes service for organizations such as the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, STEMconnector Ag and Food Council, USDA 1890 Task Force Executive Team, Alabama Agricultural Land Grant and the Ag Diversity and Inclusion Round Table. He is founder of the Carver Integrative Sustainability Center and project director of the Sustainable Agriculture Consortium for Historically Disadvantaged Farmers.

Hill has been named Fellow by the American Society of Agronomy, and his contributions have been recognized with membership in the honor societies of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi and Gamma Sigma Delta. His numerous honors include: the USDA Abraham Lincoln Honor Award, USDA Award for Superior Service, University of Illinois Alumni Merit Award, Rural Coalition Lifetime Service Award and Rural Advancement Fund Humanitarian Award.