We envision a sustainable regional food system that utilizes locally grown and produced foods to promote healthy individuals, equitable communities and thriving local economies.

Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network Staff

Samantha Goyret
Executive Director, Co-Manager – Martin Farmers Market
nwtnfoodguide at

From a young age, Samantha developed a close connection with the natural world while nibbling from her family’s garden which rooted her passion for locally grown and produced food. She holds a non-profit business administration degree from the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Before moving to Northwest Tennessee she had coordinated various food insecurity projects throughout the area of Upstate New York through her job at United Way of Tompkins County, Second Harvest Food Bank and local Food Pantries. Serving as an Agricultural Extension Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay, South America, she is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Guarani with conversational skills in Portuguese and Swedish.

Currently, she serves on the Tennessee Environmental Council Board of Directors. She serves her community as the co-manager of the Martin Farmers Market through the City of Martin. In her spare time, she manages her urban farm – Barefoot Gardens. She is a TN Master Gardener who enjoys teaching children how to cultivate & eat vegetables, cooking and sharing the additional harvest for her family and friends, and improving her community through her passion of locally grown and produced food.

Caroline Ideus
Outreach Director, Co-Manager – Martin Farmers Market
Caroline.Ideus at
Caroline Ideus grew up in rural central Nebraska. Both sides of her family have been involved in agriculture for over 100 years, it is in her blood.  Growing up she was very active in 4-H showing small animals, exhibiting horticulture goods and participating in poultry, horticulture, meats identification and wildlife habitat evaluation contests. Her 4-H experience motivated her to explore and learn about the world.  She’s taught English as a Second Language and lived abroad for a combined 7 years and 6 years at the University of Tennessee at Martin.  She recently received her second Master’s degree in Strategic Communication at the University of Tennessee at Martin.  She is is currently serving as co-manager of the Martin Farmers Market through the City of Martin.
Caroline‘s experience working and living with people from other cultures has taught her the deep connections people make with their culture and land through their food traditions.  She would like youth and adults in Northwest Tennessee to develop and share similar enthusiasm to the food and land that surrounds them.
Wenwen Xu
Financial Director
Wenwen Xu received her second Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Tennessee at Martin. Before she moved to Martin, TN she worked in Beijing, China for 5 years.  Wenwen Xu received her first Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management in China. 
In her spare time, she likes to travel with her family to explore the United States, try new foods, and experience cultural activities.
Brittney Rose

Marketing and Communications Intern, 2023

Brittney Rose is a Graphic Designer based out of Martin, TN. She has helped build community-based project identities and media within her community and at the University of Tennessee at Martin. While being a very diverse artist, her aesthetic remains playful throughout.


Allison Zelenski
Local Food Procurement Intern
Allison Zelenski is currently attending the University of Tennessee at Martin as an agricultural business major with a minor in sociology. She works with local farmers as a seasonal farm hand, and loves exploring a new farmers market! In her free time she is an avid crocheter and enjoys traveling to adventure out and experience new cultures.

Elysia Duke
Research Assistant Intern
Elysia Duke holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Tennessee at Martin, Master of Public Administration degree from Murray State University, and Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Tennessee in Martin.  In her spare time, she assists her neighbors with needs, writing, researching for others, and photography.  

Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network Board of Directors

Interested in joining our board?  Take our Board Interest Survey.

Jessica Crews Garcia
Chair of the Board
Lecturer, Agricultural Economics
Department of Agriculture, Geosciences, & Natural Resources
The University of Tennessee at Martin
Henry County, TN

Jessica is a Lecturer of Agricultural Economics in the Department of Agriculture, Geosciences, & Natural Resources at UT Martin.  She grew-up on a row-crop and cow-calf operation & was actively involved in 4-H & FFA organizations.  Jessica earned her B.S. & M.S. degrees in Agricultural Business & Agricultural Operations Management, respectively as well as an M.B.A. from UTM.  She has previous experience as an IT Specialist, assisting faculty with online learning technologies and has utilized these experiences to better support students in the undergraduate and graduate online Agriculture programs at UTM.  She & her husband Jerry, reside on her family’s Tennessee Century farm in Paris, TN.

Rachna Tewari, Ph.D.
Vice Chair of the Board
Professor, Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness
Department of Agriculture, Geosciences, and Natural Resources
The University of Tennessee at Martin

Weakley County, TN

Dr. Rachna Tewari is Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics in the Department of Agriculture, Geosciences and Natural Resources at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Her teaching and research interests are in the area of agribusiness management and entrepreneurship, farmers markets, climate impacts on agriculture and groundwater management, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Dr. Tewari has worked with education initiatives such as the UTM Mobile Energy Classroom and currently leads the CLASS (Climate Literacy for Agriculture and Sustainable Societies) program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture & Capacity Building Grants.

Whitney Stover
Treasurer of the Board
Stover -CPA

Whitney is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Tennessee and holds a Master of Business Administration from The University of Tennessee at Martin. She has over 10 years’ experience working in various accounting roles in many different industries, from publicly-held corporations to construction to public accounting. She enjoys working with small businesses to help them bring the impact of accounting expertise and analysis to their unique business climates. She also strives to assure our clients have an easy and worry-free experience with their payroll taxes. Whitney lives in Martin with her husband and three daughters. She is an active member of the Weakley County Young Professionals, the College of Business Advisory Board at UTM, and the founder of a local non-profit, Project 731.

  Brad Buttrey
Owner, BERG Livestock
Weakley County, TN

Brad Buttrey owns and operates BERG Livestock, a pasture-based cattle, sheep, and laying hen operation in Weakley County. He has a passion for using grazing ruminants to build healthy soils and communities. Brad   practices low-stress animal handling and adaptive grazing techniques. Brad has previously worked as an animal science lab instructor, and cattle breeding and embryo transfer technician. He, along with his wife and children, enjoy tending to the land and animals. Brad and his family are also active in their church and homeschool community.

Emalee Buttrey
Owner, BERG Livestock
Director of Education, Programming and Museum Experience, Discovery Park of America
Weakley County
, TN

Emalee Buttrey lives in Martin, TN with her husband, Brad, and their two children. Together, they own and operate BERG Livestock, raising cattle, sheep, and laying hens that thrive on pasture. Emalee also serves as the Director of Education, Programming and Museum Experience at Discovery Park of America, working daily to carry out the park’s mission to inspire children and adults to see beyond. Previously, she worked as an animal science professor at UTM and extension and research assistant in the Texas A&M University system.

Brian Carroll
Dietetic Internship Director
Board of Dietitian and Nutritionist Examiners
WTAND President-Elect/Public Policy Coordinator
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
University of Tennessee at Martin
Martin, TN

Brian Carroll is the Dietetic Internship Director at the University of Tennessee at Martin Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. He received his M.S. and B.S. from Southern Illinois University. He has served as a Dietitian in various roles since 2002. In 2019, he was a Recognized Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2019-2020 TAND President, Advocacy Pillar Chair, and WTAND Public Policy Coordinator. From 2016-2018, he served on the initial Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network Steering Committee before it became an official nonprofit in 2018. In his free time, Brian enjoys spending time with his family, especially his 11-year-old and one-month-old grandsons, working out and reading and studying the Bible.

Justin Foulks
Agriculture & Natural Resources Extension Agent
Lake County, TN

Justin is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business. While in school, he became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated and also MANRRS. He has worked in various capacities within row crop production, including running his family farm in Arkansas throughout and during college. He is currently the Agriculture and Natural Resource Extension Agent for Lake County and a new member of the Lions Club in his area. In his spare time he enjoys grilling, bowling and spending time with friends and family including fiancée Kristian and two dogs, Jaxx and Blitz.

Ranson E. Goodman
Agriculture Extension Agent
Henry County
, TN

Ranson grew up in southern Benton County. He left Camden to further his education at Murray State University where he obtained both his Bachler’s of Science Degree and Master’s of Science Degree in Agriculture. He began his Extension career with the University of Tennessee in the late 1990’s in Dyer County as the 4-H Agriculture Agent. In 2002 he transferred to the Obion County Extension where he served as the Adult & 4-H Youth Agriculture Agent. In the Fall of 2009 he and his family moved to Henry County where he became the Adult Agriculture Agent in Paris.

Through Ranson’s years as an agricultural extension agent, he has learned just how diverse agriculture is in Northwest Tennessee. His experiences have molded and directed his professional intertest to all areas of agriculture. His focus areas are in Production Agriculture (crops, livestock, forage), Natural Resources (conservation, forestry, wildlife, fisheries), Horticulture, Turf, Fruit Production, Master Gardener Education/Management, and Home/Land Owner Education. 

Ranson is married to his high school sweetheart, Karen Goodman, who is an educator with the Paris Special School District. Ranson and Karen have one child, Hunter Goodman, who is a Senior at Murray State University majoring in Agronomy. Ranson and his family enjoy spending time together outdoors, hunting, fishing, volunteering and supporting their community.

Nancy Libby
Owner, Scentinel Soap, NWTN Homesteaders Group
Obion County
, TN

Nancy was born and raised in the inner city of Boston, MA. After marrying and moving to New Mexico, she became interested in growing her own food. She began learning in the desert and moved to Tennessee to continue on this journey. During the last year, she began a FB group connecting others who were interested in learning to do the same and creating a network organizing free classes taught by members of the group who have experience in things like gardening, canning and livestock management and processing. Together we are creating community and teaching and encouraging others along the way. This group is for gardeners only as well as those who garden and own animals. Nancy loves helping to create community, encouraging others to use their strengths to help others, and being a resource for one another.

Melinda Meador
Assistant DA
Obion & Weakley County, TN

Melinda Meador was born and raised on a farm in Weakley County which has been in her family for almost 200 years.  After graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1982, she practiced law in various parts of the country before returning home to the farm in 2016.  She is now an Assistant District Attorney in Obion County and recently completed her master’s degree in history  from Murray State University.  She is married to Milton McNally and has one son, Jake Knanishu, who is also a lawyer and, unlike his mother, an accomplished gardener.

Jessica Quinn
Founder: Mama on the Homestead Blog, Society of St. Andrews Gleaning Coordinator
Obion County, TN

Jessica lives in Union City where she operates a sustainable homestead with her 5 children.  She currently raises rabbits, laying hens, meat chickens, and honeybees as well as growing multiple vegetable and herb gardens each season.  Jessica received her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from The University of Tennessee at Martin.  She runs the website Mama on the Homestead and she also works on staff with the Homesteaders of America organization.

Riley Schoolfield
Owner/Pharmacist, Schoolfield Pharmacy
Henry County, TN

Riley is the owner and pharmacist in charge of Schoolfield Pharmacy in Paris, TN. She and her husband Chris live and work on a row crop farm in Henry County and have a few head of Angus Cattle. Riley grew up on a cattle farm in Erin, Tennessee and has always had a passion for agriculture. It is Riley’s hope that she can help people to truly heal through access to quality healthcare and nutrition.

Lisa Seiber-Garland
School Nutrition and Finance Director,
Trenton Special School District
Trenton, TN

Lisa has been a School Nutrition Director/Federal Finance Director for nineteen years at the Trenton Special School District.  She served as the past President for the Tennessee School Nutrition Association.  In 2020, she operated the statewide emergency feeding program that helped feed students while schools remained shut down due to the COVID-19 health crisis in 2020 serving 3,200 meals in a day to students at the Trenton Special School District. Lisa not only has extensive professional experience, she also has the personal passion for Farm to School programming working with the Local Food Network in 2020-2021 to complete the Gibson County Farm to School Action Plan.

Teresa Smith
M.S., R.D.N., L.D.N.
Milan, Gibson County & Dyer County
, TN

Teresa is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist  and has worked as a Dietitian for over 30 years in both acute care hospitals and long term care facilities.  Teresa received her Bachelor’s Degree in Food and Nutrition from Lipscomb University  in Nashville.  She completed a Dietetic Internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and received a Master’s Degree from University of Tennessee at Martin.  Teresa has served on the Board of Directors of the Madison County Chapter of the American Diabetes Association  and has served as various officers in the West Tennessee Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  As a young dietitian, Teresa was humbled and grateful to be recognized by her peers as  The Tennessee Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year.

Teresa grew up in rural Dyer County, Tennessee from multigeneration farmers on both sides of her family.  As a child,  she was taught by her Mother and Father  a love for agriculture and the land as well as the importance of healthy food and the importance of good nutrition which led Teresa into her chosen career.  

Today, she continues to be co-owner with her sister of the family farm, which is farmed by her brother-in-law and nephew.  She is married to Greg Smith who is her strength and keeps her grounded.

Lacy Yeley
Family & Consumer Sciences, Carroll County Extension
Carroll County, TN

Lacey grew up in Weakley County and was a long-term resident of Gleason until some unforeseen circumstances lead her, her husband and two boys to Carroll County in 2021, where they now reside. After graduating from the University of Tennessee at Martin, she worked serving Carroll and surrounding counties, utilizing her passion for children and their families. Seven years later, she began her Extension career with the University of Tennessee in 2017 as the Family and Consumer Sciences agent in Carroll County. 

Her experiences teaching Nutrition and food safety, wellness, money management, and human relationships have only grown her passion for helping families and communities. She thoroughly focuses on nutrition and foods for families in need by providing resources and cooking demonstrations to better help them live a healthy lifestyle.