Faith Rivers James
Faith grew up in the Four Mile community East of the Cooper River and is a graduate of the Porter-Gaud School. She graduated from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, then launched a legal career in Washington, D.C. She later served as Executive Director of the South Carolina Bar Foundation, where she was fortunate to be able to work in partnership with the Coastal Community Foundation and the Conservation League to launch the Heirs’ Property Preservation Project, an issue that remains near and dear to her heart. Later, her law teaching career led her to focus on property and environmental issues at Vermont Law School and Elon University School of Law. She returned home to the Lowcountry five years ago to serve as the Assistant Provost for Leadership and Chair of the Department of Leadership Studies at The Citadel, where she taught the next generation of our state’s leaders.
Nancy Appel joined the Coastal Conservation League in July 2014. A Minnesota native with more than 20 years of fundraising experience, Nancy previously worked as the director of philanthropy at The Trust for Public Land and director of development at the Hazelden Foundation and at several nonprofit organizations in Baltimore, Maryland.
GrowFood Carolina Driver/Warehouse Associate
Bobby was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. He came to Charleston in 2016 to attend the College of Charleston and never left. He applied to GrowFood after learning about the positive impact of small-scale agriculture and the extraordinary effects fresh produce has on the mind, body, and overall attitude. In his free time, he enjoys surfing at Folly Beach, gardening, and taking care of his dog, Lady, and his two cats, Mia and Teddy!
Director of Conservation Programs & Policy
Emily joined the Coastal Conservation League in 2016. She's a North Carolina native with a Master of Environmental Management and certificate in Community-Based Environmental Management from Duke University's Nicholas School. Emily often works on policy related to climate impacts, water quality and withdrawal, plastics, and natural resource protection.
Land, Water & Wildlife Project Manager
A native Texan, Riley came to the Conservation League in 2020. She previously worked at the Southern Environmental Law Center where she focused on regional clean water campaigns for two years. Before relocating to the Lowcountry, she earned a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Animal Behavior at the University of Texas at Austin. Outside of work you can find her falling down on rollerblades, brewing kombucha, or at the beach.
North Coast Project Manager
Trapper is a Horry County native. He holds a B.S. in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University as well as an M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Clemson University. Working as a field biologist instilled a great appreciation for the less charismatic species such as reptiles, amphibians, and carnivorous plants, as well as the management tools used to maintain their habitat like prescribed fire. Trapper hopes to use his field-based knowledge to make positive change in the North Coast. He loves spending time with his family including his dogs, collecting vinyl records, grilling out, paddling, and camping.
Public Utility Analyst
Ben joined the Conservation League with a background in utility regulation, climate policy, and environmental justice, including professional experience working with cases before the South Carolina Public Service Commission. He is passionate about ensuring a just transition to a safe, reliable, and clean energy future for all South Carolinians. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina Honors College with a B.S. in Geography and a B.A in Environmental Studies. At home, Ben has two cats, Bartholomew and Rosalind, and enjoys writing and acting.
Human Resources Director
Elizabeth comes to the league with a tenured career in human resources in the restaurant and healthcare fields. She has lived in many places (including other countries) but has always loved the beach and is excited to call Charleston her home. She holds 2 bachelor’s degrees from Duquesne University in International Business and Spanish and earned her Master’s in Business Administration from Kansas State University. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family doing any outdoor activity from camping, mountain biking, and hiking to just hanging out at the beach.
GrowFood Carolina Warehouse Ops & Distribution Manager
Kevin grew up on the Jersey Shore in the Manasquan area. He came to Charleston in 1995 to attend the College of Charleston, fell in love with the Lowcountry and never left. After graduating with a degree in art history, Kevin moved into product distribution for local food and beverage purveyors.
GrowFood Carolina Inventory Control/Quality Assurance
Paul is originally from upstate South Carolina but has called Charleston home since 2001. His deep passion for connecting people and food led him to work in the food and beverage industry and grocery retail for over 20 years before joining the team at GrowFood Carolina. In his spare time, Paul enjoys listening to and playing music, exploring new recipes and restaurants, and spending time with his family.
Land, Water & Wildlife Project Manager
Rachel is a Charleston native with her B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from the University of Georgia and her M.S. in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston. After spending some time overseas, Rachel came home and put to work her passion for conserving South Carolina’s marine resources. Prior to joining the Conservation League, Rachel worked for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources as well as for The Nature Conservancy in South Carolina. When away from work, Rachel enjoys traveling, surfing, fishing, camping, and hiking.
Marketing & Events Coordinator
A recent Charleston area transplant, Darienne has lived in a variety of places, including the West and in the United Kingdom. She received her BFA in Media Production from the University of Cincinnati, her M. Ed in Curriculum & Instruction from University of Nevada - Las Vegas, and her M.A. in Film & Television from Falmouth University. She has been a marketing professional for 7 years and enjoys bringing multimedia into brand awareness and social media. In her free time, Darienne enjoys writing poetry, painting, hiking, photography, crafting original and creative cocktails, and cuddling with her brother’s cat.
Betsy La Force
Communities & Transportation Senior Project Manager
Raised in South Carolina and a graduate of the College of Charleston, Betsy joined the League in 2017. She previously worked in the composting industry educating local businesses & institutions on the importance of waste reduction, diversion & nutrient recycling. Before finding her passion in the environmental field, Betsy worked in France teaching English & broadening her perspectives on environmental & social policies. A Permaculture Design Certification in 2015 inspired Betsy to get involved with local politics, and earning a Master Naturalist certification in 2021 solidified her commitment to conservation. In her spare time, Betsy enjoys riding her bike, spending time in nature, supporting local farmers, & working in the "yarden" at her home in North Charleston.
Kim has been with the Conservation League since 2020. She grew up in Virginia and moved to South Carolina to attend the College of Charleston, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Education. In Charleston she became involved in a number of community projects including co-founding the Carolina Youth Action Project. She worked in education for several years, then went back to school at Trident Technical College, where she earned an associate degree in accounting. She also worked at Spade and Clover Gardens, where she both harvested vegetables and kept the books. On the weekends, Kim can be found exploring the beauty of the Lowcountry with her family.
GrowFood Carolina Sales & Marketing Associate
Austin is originally from Hagerstown, Maryland. He attended Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts in Charlotte, North Carolina. After a decade in the Outer Banks and working with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms in Hawaii, he moved to Charleston to further his culinary aspirations.
Berkeley County Project Manager
Robby joined the Coastal Conservation League in 2020. He grew up in Berkeley County, on the edge of the Wassamassaw Swamp, where he developed a love for rural living and a deep kinship with the natural environment. After graduating from Lander University with a B.A. in English, Robby obtained an M.A. in English from the joint program at the College of Charleston and The Citadel. An avid reader and a fiction writer, Robby is dedicated to utilizing his affinity for stories by listening to the individual histories of residents and working alongside them to shape the future of Berkeley County.
Sales & Marketing Assistant
Dave moved to Charleston from West Virginia to attend the College of Charleston where he obtained a degree in History. He worked as a tour guide in the city for over 20 years (and still do on occasion). During this time, he had become interested in local produce and cuisine, both for their impact on local history, as well as their contemporary relevance. He was drawn to GrowFood Carolina as an opportunity to be more directly involved with this aspect of the community. Away from work, he enjoys cooking & trying new things in the kitchen, playing with his dogs & cat, hiking, and spending time with his wife, Charley and their son, Miles.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Kati attended Michigan State University to earn a BA in Professional Writing and a BS in Environmental Studies & Agriscience. She worked at the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, then bookended an MS in Natural Resources from NC State University with the National Park Service, working as a park ranger at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site and Yosemite National Park. Kati loves the Carolinas—from the mountains to the sea and everything in between, including the local food, parks and music.
South Coast Project Manager
Grant McClure is from Charleston, South Carolina. He holds an undergraduate degree from Wofford College in English & Environmental Studies. He received his Master's Degree in Wildlife & Fisheries Resources from Clemson in May 2022. Grant currently resides in Beaufort, SC where he enjoys fly fishing and spending time outside with his family.
Director of Government Relations
Merrill joined the League in 2009 after working in fields of International Healthcare Policy Investment and Executive Recruiting. She is a graduate of the College of Charleston, where she focused her studies on International Business, Spanish and Portuguese.
Amy is a Jersey Shore native with a B.A. in Print and Video Communications and minor in Art from Arcadia University. After gaining experience in journalism and social media/website management, she relocated to Charleston to join AmeriCorps and fell in love with the Lowcountry. She came to the Conservation League in 2021 and enjoys traveling, eating local food, and spending time in nature with her soon-to-be husband and her dog, Poppy.
GrowFood Carolina General Manager
Originally from Pittsburgh, Anthony’s agricultural curiosity led him to work with farmers from coast to coast. Anthony brings with him years of experience in the agriculture world, and his track record of success indicates his commitment to furthering local food systems and the communities he's lived and worked in.
Mike has worked with Carolina Youth Development Center and the South Carolina Aquarium where he held senior financial positions. Mike has an MBA from the UNC Charlotte, an MA from the University of North Carolina, and a BS from University of Missouri.
GrowFood Carolina Director of Operations
Hailing from Newberry, SC, Benton is a proud USC graduate, veteran of the music industry, WWOOFer in Costa Rica, and the hardest working man in local produce. Benton is committed to supporting local growers and providing high quality products to our customers.
Energy Senior Program Director
Eddy joined the Conservation League from the Arkansas Public Service Commission, where he served as an Administrative Law Judge and helped implement an expansion of public utility-funded energy efficiency programs. He holds a B.A. from Yale, an M.A. in U.S. History from American University, and a J.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In his free time, he likes to cook, bike, brew beer, play Frisbee and collect fossils.
Payroll and Accounting Administrator
DeAnna Ridley assumed the role of Bookkeeper in November 2018. She worked in the accounting field and customer service for more than 15 years. In her free time, she enjoys baking, biking, kayaking, planting flowers, and spending time with her family.
Jamie lived many different places growing up in a military family but has spent the majority of her life in the Lowcountry. She held various administrative and logistical management roles before joining the Conservation League team in 2018. Outside work, Jamie loves spending time with her 3-year-old daughter. She also enjoys painting, attending local festivals, and spontaneous adventures.
North Coast Office Director
Becky grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida and was fortunate to be surrounded by natural beauty. Unfortunately, like South Carolina, the diverse wildlife and habitats were constantly threatened by unrestrained development. Her childhood in Florida, young adulthood in North Carolina, and previous environmental advocacy work in Richmond with the Virginia League of Conservation Voters have instilled a limitless appreciation for the wild wonders of the Southeast and a desire to preserve them for future generations. Becky is working to build a more resilient South Carolina and to protect our natural resources.
GrowFood Carolina Supply Chain Manager
Deirdre is originally from Lexington, South Carolina and has lived in the Charleston area since the mid-1990s. She grew up working with local farmers through her family’s grocery business in Pelion and is happy to be able to continue to support local farmers and businesses through GrowFood Carolina.
GrowFood Carolina Farm Coordinator
Becca holds a B.A. in Political Science from Clemson University. After graduation, she returned to her family's farm, Watsonia Farms, to manage its food safety program before accepting a position at GrowFood Carolina. Outside of work, she likes to try new restaurants in town, play tennis and go to the beach.
Brita Van Fossen
Growfood Carolina Sales & Marketing Director
Originally from a small town in Vermont, Brita moved to Charleston in 2014 after earning a B.A. in Communications and Business from Northeastern University, in Boston, MA. Prior to joining GrowFood Carolina, she helped build and lead a support team at a local tech company, but wanted to get back to her roots by pivoting to conservation, with a particular passion for supporting and encouraging sustainability in our food systems. She loves to travel, enjoy all the amazing restaurants in town, and try new recipes and newfound produce with her soon-to-be husband and hound dog!
South Coast Office Director
Jessie joined us in March 2020 after seven years with the South Carolina Environmental Law Project. She grew up in Charlottesville, VA and attended the University of Virginia, where she obtained bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Thought and Practice and Psychology before pursuing her J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She enjoys cooking, traveling, kayaking, spending time with her dog, and enjoying the great outdoors.
GrowFood Carolina Sales Manager
Anna is a Charleston native who joined GrowFood in 2021. After moving to California and travling abroad, she found her way back to Charleston to be near her friends and family. Prior to working at GrowFood, she worked in restaurant operations and beverage sales in Los Angeles, CA. When not at work, you can find Anna at the beach, reading, or attempting a new DIY project.