Keynote Speakers

BLAIR-3-popup-150x150 Nat Turner was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota and graduated from Carleton College. After working on his PhD in the Politics of Representation for seven years at Emory University he relocated to New York City and taught at the Beacon School for seven years. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the school organized countless reconstruction brigades to New Orleans. In 2008, Turner left New York City to found Our School at Blair Grocery in the Lower Ninth Ward with the mission of creating a resource rich safe space for youth empowerment and sustainable community development. This entails teaching young people how to grow enough food to create food security for the Lower Ninth Ward, sell food to the restaurants in the French Quarter to help finance the project and its expansion and engage youth and our adult neighbors in conversations about why this work is important to the future development of the neighborhood.

Miles_and_Brent2Chef Miles McMath has been the owner of three successful restaurants, and has recorded over 100 cooking segments for local television show Mid South Living, where he appeared weekly for four years. He also appeared on the Food Network’s Simon Super Chefs Live and is a five-time Gold Medal winner in National American Culinary Federation (ACF) competitions.

Today, Miles maintains the garden at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he is Director of Culinary Operations. “St. Jude has given me the opportunity to incorporate all of my experiences into one for the benefit of the patients, families and employees at St. Jude,” he says. “We have a garden that produces everything from mushrooms, lettuce and asparagus, as well as compost from our kitchen and worm beds.”

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