Learn more about our organization

Community Food Collaborative is a nonprofit dedicated to reimagining food access and urban farming in Central Virginia. We believe farms for sustainable futures will be founded on environmental stewardship, sustainable small-scale production, and community inclusion.

Our organization formed in 2014 as a response to growing city-wide demand for greater food security and access to hands-on literacy training around food and nutrition in the greater Richmond area. Since that time, our work has grown in size and scope to include multiple farm sites, affordable fresh-food access points, educational programs, and urban agriculture capacity building opportunities.

Meet our staff:

Toby Vernon is the founder and Executive Director of Community Food Collaborative. Toby has more than 10 years as an urban farmer, program developer, and leader in local and community food systems development. Toby holds a Master in Urban and Regional Planning and a Master in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. He has designed and helped lead many of CFC’s most impactful projects and programs. Toby contributes regularly to committees, work groups, and as a technical advisor to many local food policy and planning, and community development initiatives.

Meet our board:

Sarah Carpenter is an attorney at Hunton & Williams LLP, specializing in commercial contracts and IT transactions. She has a son who will be entering 1st grade in September 2017 and a four-year-old daughter who is a rising Pre-Kindergartener. Sarah is passionate about equality of opportunity in the East End, and has been an active member of the Chimborazo Elementary School PTA for two years, where she currently serves as the Secretary and will serve as the Vice President for the 2017/2018 school year.  Sarah has taken a leadership role with respect to managing the school garden, and has organized work days and park clean-ups in both the school garden and in Chimborazo Park.  She has a B.A. in literature from Vanderbilt University and her J.D. from American University Washington College of Law.  Sarah enjoys outdoor adventures with her family, reading, Crossfit, gardening and wine.

Jeffery J Finnigin is the financial reporting manager for Blood Systems, Inc., one of the nation’s oldest and largest comprehensive transfusion medicine organizations. He has worked in corporate finance for most of his career and has extensive experience in financial planning and analysis. He has a BA in Economics from the University of Iowa and an MBA with emphasis in finance from Arizona State University. Mr. Finnigin will lead financial organization and development for CFC. Mr. Finnigan receives no compensation for his services to the organization. He is expected to donate 0-5 hours per week as needed.

Christopher Rashad Green is a community activist dedicated to the alleviation of poverty, increased healthcare access, living wage, voting rights restoration for returning citizens, and racial reconciliation in the Richmond region. He serves as a member of the Family Representative Council for the East Marshall Street Well project, as a volunteer for Fight for Fifteen, and as a volunteer for Virginia Consumer Voices, a healthcare advocacy group dedicated to addressing medicaid expansion and the coverage gap. He is a long-term resident of Richmond who is currently employed with New Virginia Majority and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society and Health’s Engaging Richmond project.

Dennis Williams II is currently a resident in the Richmond Teacher Residency Program. His past positions include Mobile Market Manager at Shalom Farms and Project Manager at Tricycle Gardens. As Mobile Market Manager, he oversaw the establishment of one of Central Virginia’s most successful mobile markets for its low-income community members. As a Project Manager at Tricycle, Dennis designed the first USDA-recognized, church-owned urban farm in the nation. He also managed vermicompost production, gave tours, and lectured on topics including environmental sustainability and social equity. Receiving his Masters in Art History in 2014 from Virginia Commonwealth University, he is interested in the intersections of African American history, visual culture, social justice, and community building. In 2015, he began a Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College to gain in-depth knowledge of organic horticulture techniques. Dennis served as Lead Builder for Performing Statistics, a city-wide collaborative project connecting incarcerated teens, artists, and Virginia’s top legal experts to transform the juvenile justice system. One of Dennis’ current projects is his collaboration with VCU professor Dr. Melanie Buffington where they co-teach a course titled “Visual Culture and Social Justice at the Richmond City Justice Center.”

Lorraine Wright is a native New Yorker and the CEO / Executive Director of I Vote For Me, a Richmond-based Non Profit Organization. IVFM focuses on Self-Advocacy in the spaces of Social Justice and the protection of Human Rights and is an organizational member of the national Dignity in Schools Campaign. Lorraine received her Masters in Project Management from The George Washington University, School of Business in 2005. As a Certified Facilitator with the Virginia Center for Restorative Justice, Lorraine always seeks to figure out how to repair the harm that was done. Lorraine is a proud parent of 2 AMAZINGLY AWESOME children, who are conscientious Freedom Fighters just like their mom!