Board of Directors

Fertile Ground Food Cooperative

Board of Directors: Emails & Bios


Erin Byrd, President:

Erin Dale Byrd is a mother, community activist, political strategist, and cultural worker in Raleigh NC. She was raised in a military family with roots in Tennessee and Texas. As Executive Director of Blueprint NC, a collaborative of 48 progressive organizations working for a fairer, more just North Carolina, Blueprint NC is part of the State Voices national network.  As director, she is responsible for fundraising, compliance, managing staff and driving the organizations' vision for collective impact. Her expertise is in campaign planning, coalition building, and community organizing.  She has 13 years of experience in successful coalition work on campaigns including increasing the minimum wage, public financing of judicial campaigns and same-day voter registration. Erin's work focuses on organizational capacity building with an emphasis on culture, civic engagement/organizing, planning, communication, and evaluation. She is Board Chair of Southern Partners Fund, a member of Black Workers for Justice and a founding member of the Fertile Ground Food Cooperative in Southeast Raleigh. She has been awarded the Ella Baker Award from the Youth Organizing Institute, Women to Watch from Women AdvaNCe, SiStars Award from the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Annie Mackie Ward from NC Women United, the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations and most recently won Local Hero Citizen of the Year for 2015 from Indy Week magazine. Erin is most proud of her accomplishment as a mother of two Prince Kings. She has a degree in Sociology from the College of William and Mary.

Listen to her interview about Fertile Ground on the State of Things here: Activism Inspired By Life On A Military Base: Meet Erin Byrd


Rukiya Dillahunt, Treasurer:

Rukiya Dillahunt retired from the Wake County Public Schools as an administrator in 2010. Rukiya has devoted her entire professional life as an advocate for parents, school personnel and the educational rights of students. Rukiya is an active member in the North Carolina Association of Educators- Wake County Retired Teachers. She served as President of the Wake -North Carolina Association of Educators local for 3 years. Rukiya is a member of Black Workers for Justice and the Education Justice Alliance. She serves on the Board of the North Carolina Peace Action and the advisory board of the North Carolina State Employees  Credit Union. Since her retirement from Wake County Public Schools, Rukiya has been actively involved in the struggle against the School to Prison Pipeline.


Jim Senter, Secretary: 

Jim Senter, a Fertile Ground board member since 2016, is a native of New Orleans and still has family connections to the Crescent City. He’s been a member of a rural residential co-op for 26 years and a resident there for 12. He has published articles on the history and economic theory of the co-operative movement and has a passion for fruit trees and native plant gardening.


Ajamu Dillahunt:

Ajamu Dillahunt retired from the North Carolina Justice Center in January of 2013 after 8 years as Outreach Coordinator for the Budget and Tax Center (5 yrs) and the Workers' Rights Project (3 yrs).  Prior to the Justice Center, Ajamu worked for the US Postal Service for 24 years and served as president of the American Postal Workers Union local, state Research and Education Director and Arbitration Advocate. He is a Popular Educator and currently serves on the Boards of United for a Fair Economy (UFE), the Institute for Southern Studies (ISS) and Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF). He is a former member of the Policy Committee of Labor Notes Magazine and a founding member of the Black Workers for Justice.


Demetrius Hunter:  

Farmers Mobile Markets,  Chef HUB Association and Project Grocers on Wheels Project Director, Mr. Hunter brings an array of knowledge to alleviate food insecurity and provide resolutions to under-served urban/rural communities through his partnerships with civic, community, business and faith leaders. In 2006, he established SE Raleigh Vicinity Emerging (S.E.R.V.E) Communities, a 501 (c)3 enterprise that currently brings sustainable practices to SE Raleigh by focusing on sustainable education and agricultural projects. Through S.E.R.V.E., he actively promotes food justice in food insecure areas throughout North Carolina. Mr. Hunter has 14 years of experience as a community organizer and worked as an operational manager rebuilding in post-Hurricane Katrina, Gulfport, Mississippi. His expertise in building codes, green building, and weather resistant materials was invaluable during that process. In 2013, he officially started S.E.R.V.E’s second umbrella project, Grocers on Wheels, a mobile fresh produce unit that’s a solution to the prevalent food insecure areas throughout local communities and neighborhoods that lack access to healthy food choices. Mr. Hunter is continuing his 80-year family tradition started by his father Zelb Hunter. He continues his education in industrial labor, green building design and organizational management, and other skills and knowledge that he brings to the Fertile Ground Food Cooperative Board.


Liz Crews: 

Elizabeth Crews joined Fertile Ground in 2014 after being introduced to the Cooperative by another member-owner and has been an active member since that time. Liz worked as the FGFC Community Liaison for six months in 2015. Elected as a board member in 2016, she serves on the Marketing and Outreach workgroup. Liz often says that ‘with public anticipation and support, Fertile Ground Co-op will be a community asset and pillar resource for the area residents, especially people of Southeast Raleigh.’


Hannah Taylor:

Hannah became a member of the board in 2019 after serving as an Americorps VISTA with Wake County for one year, working to organize events and grow membership for Fertile Ground. She has since developed a passion for cooperative economic systems. As a native of the Triangle, Hannah wants to see our community's food system transformed to be more sustainable and liberating for all. Hannah serves on the Marketing and Outreach workgroup. Hannah also volunteers on a local farm as the leader of a 4-H club and works with the Raleigh Democratic Socialists of America.


Calla Wright:

Calla Wright is a longtime community advocate. She is the co-founder of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children, founded in 2004. The community-based organization is dedicated to teaching parents about the policies, procedures, and laws that govern our children who attend the Wake County Public School System. Gerald and Calla Wright saw the need to create an organization that would help parents become effective advocates for their children. Their primary focus to ensure that all students receive equitable educational opportunities while attending public schools. Among her many achievements and roles in the community, Calla has worked on local electoral campaigns and lobbied the NC General Assembly to stop the creation of segregated, high poverty schools that do not yield positive results for African American children. In 2014, she became the lead plaintiff in the election gerrymandering case Calla Wright vs. the Wake County Board of Elections.

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