Coordinating Team

We are food activists with a passion for the food system and racial justice. We are all currently volunteers to this cause and aim to serve our fellow farmers and friends with new opportunities and seats at old and new tables.


Sammie Ardito Rivera (Leech Lake and White Earth Ojibwe), Midwest Farmers of Color

Sammie Ardito Rivera

Sammie Ardito Rivera (Leech Lake and White Earth Ojibwe) was born and raised in the Twin Cities and spent another ten years learning and working with communities across the United States. She received her Bachelor’s in Applied Indigenous Studies with an emphasis in Traditional Ecological Knowledge at Northern Arizona University and her movement education in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently resides on 17 acres of land with her family in western Wisconsin where they operate Sin Fronteras Farm and Food. As Senior Project Director for Marnita’s Table she ensures the project teams effectively deliver the model of Intentional Social Interaction to the communities that need it most. She is also a full spectrum doula and a novice herbalist. She is passionate about creating resilient, sustainable, healthy, and just communities for her child and for all our future generations.


Sophia Benrud - Midwest Farmers of Color

Sophia Benrud

Sophia Benrud is a Black multiracial queer community organizer, postpartum doula and chef currently residing in Minneapolis, MN. Sophia is the environmental justice organizer and cofounder of  Black Visions a Black led Queer and Trans centering organization committed to strengthening community and community led safely —building connections between BIPOC climate and environmental, food, and healing justice. Sophia is committed to transforming the current movement by centering communities directly impacted by these issues while building stronger movements to break down systemic violence; and a co-founder of Divine Natural Ancestry, a project of 2 seasons that supports community through tools, supplies and knowledge for growing food in BIPOC communities. Sophia is a board member of Spiral Collective an organization supporting people in reproduction, abortion and loss.  During the past two summers Sophia has facilitated youth projects and programs focused on environmental justice through the sierra student coalition.


 Michael Cheney - Midwest Farmers of Color Coalition

Michael Cheney

As an activist, youth advocate, organizer, and cultural artist I have dedicated most of my adult life to implementing transformative initiatives and educational programming that provide real solutions to real problems for real people.  
What started as a catchy jingo grew into a social justice movement, grew into an initiative promoting educational reform, grew into an afterschool community education program, grew into an emerging nonprofit that supports the development of youth and families in educational initiatives centered around horticulture, entrepreneurship, marketing and promotions, "Project Sweetie Pie" continues to plant the “seeds of change’. In 2010 when North High was under siege by the public school administrators that were elected to lead it, Project Sweetie Pie was born. We started as an act of social justice and social protest to save North High from the proposed threat of closure. We have grown into a progressive non-profit that serves as an incubator of sustainable thought and action centered on horticulture, urban farming, and green business creation Contrary to public opinion, we have seen the “green movement” steadily grow and continue to thrive in north Minneapolis. More importantly we have  played a key role in growing and providing the leadership and the vision for the movement.  Our mission is to inform, infuse, inspire, and instruct. "Project Sweetie Pie"- Breaking stereotypes, giving voice to the voiceless, transforming communities historically socially engineered to be consumers we continue to lead the way.  "Project Sweetie Pie" the story of a city that came together-worked together on a common goal, for the common good of the youth and families of it's community. For it takes a village to raise a child.



Zoe Hollomon - Midwest Farmers of Color Coalition

Zoe Hollomon

Zoe Hollomon is a multi-racial black, queer, activist and abolitionist. She is the eldest of 3 siblings and comes from a long line of freedom fighters. Zoe was born in Duluth but grew up mainly in NY (Buffalo and NYC). Zoe has over 20 years experience organizing with grassroots organizations on the east coast and Midwest and building organizations to influence decision-making in food, farming and environmental related policy. Zoe is a founding member of Rootsprings Farm & Retreat Cooperative in MN, which produces fruit and serves as a place for healing and retreat for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ people and organizations.  Zoe is a proud co-founder and Executive Director of the Midwest Farmers of Color Collective and is humbled and amazed by the ingenuity, courage and wisdom of the farmers and cultivators she works with.

Zoe serves on the Union of Concerned Scientists Transformational Farm Bill Advisory Committee, with other partner organizations fighting for a just transition of our food and agricultural systems. Zoe  has served on the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Policy Council and does consulting in Racial Equity in Food Systems. She is a visual artist and proud member of the Subversive Sirens, a MN based Synchronized Swimming team committed to black liberation, equity in aquatics, queer visibility and radical body acceptance. Zoe received her B.S. in Urban & Regional Planning from Cornell University in 2001 and an M.S. from Southern New Hampshire University in Community Economic Development in 2007. 


Kieran Morris

Kieran Morris is a new explorer in the world of food justice and community growing, getting involved with supply distribution and network building as a part of the Seward Free Space. The food insecurity near his childhood home in South Minneapolis that was inflamed after George Floyd’s murder, combined with the supply chain crisis in the opening days of the Pandemic showed him first-hand how critical it is that neglected communities are supporting and fostering sovereignty through their land stewards and growers. A background studying history at the University of MN- Twin Cities gave him a broader perspective on the forces of discrimination and disparity still reverberating into modern food crises.

Following 2020, Kieran became an organizer with Twin Cities Community Land Trust, helping facilitate tours and create connections between urban growers, and found a place with Urban Farm and Garden Alliance as part of their Green Justice Team. After meeting Michael Chaney on one of the TCALT farm walks, he became involved in Project Sweetie Pie as a dedicated grant writing specialist with VISTA and the Northside Promise Zone. Throughout these experiences in urban growing, he also guides canoe trips and does outdoor education through Wilderness Inquiry and continues to support food justice in the Seward Neighborhood.

 As a part of Midwest Farmers of Color’s Coordination Team, Kieran hopes to continue strengthening and deepening links between Twin Cities groups and broadening connections to rural Minnesota and the broader Midwest. As a  believer in the power of diverse opinions and DIY solutions, he is excited to see how the different worlds of culturally-centered growing and cross-cultural connection can heal old wounds and cultivate new possibilities.

Co-Founders (2020)

Vera F. Allen

Hindolo Pokawa