Jim Embry was the featured speaker at Chef Martha Stamps’ A Place at the Table event in December 2012 and is very excited about returning to Nashville with other family members. In 2012, Jim spoke about his trip to Italy for Slow Food’s Terra Madre. On June 17 Jim will present reflections on his 2014 Terra Madre/Salone de Gusto experience and how it connects to the Nashville local food movement while also sharing his writings, photography and sustainability activism. He is delighted to be part of his former wife (Deborah), sons (Irucka, Obiora), sister-in-law (Ivy) and father–in–law (James Mapp).
In 1971 after being inspired by his friendship with Dick Gregory, Jim became a vegetarian food activist and joined with others to found the Good Foods Co–op in Lexington, KY. His 20 year marriage to Deborah Mapp produced five children that provided additional inspiration for activism and community involvement. Their children [Siku, Ayo, Segun, Irucka, Obiora (who all received college engineering degrees)] and now their grandchildren all continue to be a source of pride, inspiration, mutual support and collective activism. Jim now believes that the sustainability movement with local food as its foundation encompasses all the other movements and will bring about a paradigm shift or The Great Turning which will allow humans to manifest our more divine relationships with each other and the Earth. In 2006, Jim founded Sustainable Communities Network. Since that time Jim has guided the development of 30+ community garden projects at homeless shelters, schools, neighborhood empty lots, city parks, faith institutions, a domestic violence shelter that is now creating a 40 acre farm, Plant to Plate at the Family Care Center, and has organized several local food summits. Often times called an "eco-activist" or "sacred Earth Activist", Jim was named Model of the Year by Ace Weekly in 2007, has received awards from local government, Garden Crusader at Gardener’s Supply, and is known for being "Black and Green" while thinking "out–of–the–barn". He has been video and radio interviewed on kyGREENtv, IATP-Climate and Agriculture, KET Connections with Renee Shaw, Kentucky Forward Urban Farm Online, UK Ag Communications, Key Conversations Radio, blogged about on Goodness of the Garden, and written about on Cities Speak. He has served as a co–writer, contributed articles and provided photographs to a wide range of publications that include: Sustainable World Sourcebook, the Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky, Ace Weekly, Latino Studies Journal, Lexington’s African American Heritage Guide, family reunion histories, conference programs, and many Internet resources. Jim Embry’s photos have been featured in Ace Weekly, local exhibits, and one photo hangs in the lobby of Lexington’s St. Joseph Women’s Hospital. His forth coming books, Through the Lens of a Sacred Earth Activist: Terra Madre and Italy and Lexington’s Art and Community Garden Movement will feature his photos and the inspiration for his work in the local food and sustainability movement.