Forward Fellows

Class: October 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014

Jack Beuttell
Co-Founder | Venture Farming
“We’re trying to change the economics for beginning farmers and, in turn, change the way people think about the value of farming and the food we eat.”

Jack Beuttell is the co-founder of VentureFarming, a for-profit incubator for beginning organic farmers that seeks to reinvent the food system through distributed and diversified production. VentureFarming addresses the four key limitations of farmer entrepreneurs (land, equipment, mentorship, distribution) by co-locating farmers in a resource-rich environment and realizing economies of scale through collaboration, not consolidation.  Jack is in the process of designing a pilot project in the Raleigh-Durham area for his first class of VentureFarmers.

Tatiana Birgisson
Founder & CEO | Mati
“I am working to make the world healthier and more energized one cup at a time.”

Tatiana Birgisson is the founder of Mati, Inc. – a for profit beverage company that quenches consumer thirst, compromise-free. Mati’s mission is to provide a refreshing and energizing energy drink alternative for active and health-conscious consumers looking to enhance their everyday performance. Consumers value Mati for its functionality, flavor, and healthful ingredients. Tatiana sees Mati as the active and health-conscious consumer’s preferred energy drink.

Rachel Lichte
Co-founder & Director of Mines | Clarity Project
“I can’t imagine a product with a greater disconnect between the circumstance of its giving and the circumstance of its source.”

Rachel Lichte is co-founder of Clarity Project – a for profit social enterprise using the diamond industry to support community development in mining communities. Rachel wants to use the power of business and consumer demand to create change and social benefit for people and the environment. Clarity Project seeks to create a responsible extractive industry that supports the long-term prosperity and resiliency of mining regions, communities, and families. Clarity Project is bringing diamond mining, custom fine jewelry, and an unparalleled tourism experience all under one roof to help diamonds work for community development.

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Keval Mehta
Founder & CEO | INRFOOD
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food, at the end of the day you are what you eat.”

Keval Mehta is the founder of INRFOOD – a personalized nutrition platform that alerts, assesses, and advises individuals about the nutrients in their food to determine an optimal diet.  INRFOOD is driven by the idea that diet and exercise are the two most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle.  Since food has become more chemistry than biology, INRFOOD empowers individuals to know what foods are best for them in real time. The current goal is to expand the content and features of INRFOOD and create an educational plan for schools to help shape the next generation of nutrition.

Class: April 1, 2014 – September 30, 2014


Forward Fellow - Eric Bowen.50percet
Eric Bowen
Founder | goMarketNC

“Solidarity not Charity.”

Eric Bowen is founder of goMarketNC, an innovative farmers’ market network that uses the web to connect busy customers with a wide range of vendors. Many of goMarket’s vendors are turned away year after year at well-established farmers’ markets because of limited space. Using pop-up locations to distribute food sold online, goMarket hubs can grow organically, eliminating barriers between farmers and eaters. goMarket’s mission is to empower disadvantaged producers, promote food access, and help small, beginning producers scale up their businesses. As a Forward Fellow, Eric plans to roll out a new open source ecommerce platform and launch new markets around the state.

Forward Fellow - Keith Daniel
Rev. M. Keith Daniel
Officer of Church Mobilization | DurhamCares

“May the God of peace sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Rev. Daniel collaborates with the larger Christian community in Durham and directly engages the local Church to care for the larger community through healthy Christian community development. Keith is ordained in the American Baptist Church tradition and has over 24 years of experience in higher education. Prior to joining DurhamCares, Keith served as the Director of Community and Campus Engagement for Duke University Chapel. As a minister and educational consultant to individuals and institutions, Keith compassionately serves throughout Durham and the Mid-Atlantic region as a mentor, pastor, facilitator, and community change agent. In his role as a Forward Fellow, Keith will listen to Durham congregations for opportunities to develop innovative approaches to health challenges in the pulpit and the pews.

Forward Fellow - Jackie Kaufman
Jackie Kaufman
Co-founder & Executive Director | Vaccine Ambassadors

What if every time a child in the United States received health care, another child in the world would benefit as well?”

As a healthcare provider for over 25 years with a background in HIV and infectious disease, Jackie Kaufman was appalled by the fact that each year over 1.5 million children do not live to see their 5th birthday due to diseases that have been preventable for decades. Vaccine Ambassadors is a pediatric clinic-based program that allows parents and children to play an active role in a children’s global health initiative right in their doctor’s office. Parents and children receiving care become Vaccine Ambassadors during their doctor visits in an effort to increase access to vaccines for children residing in low and middle income countries. In partnership with the community, local clinics, and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization regional office for the Americas, Vaccine Ambassadors will provide routine vaccines for children residing in Haiti. As a Forward Fellow, Jackie aims to begin scaling Vaccine Ambassadors in pursuit of her goal to have a positive impact on children’s health through vaccines.

Forward Fellow - Nate O'Keefe
Nate O’Keefe
Founder & CEO | roobrik

“Everybody we talk to says ‘If I only knew then what I know now.’ Well, what if that were possible?

Nate O’Keefe, is co-founder of roobrik, a for-profit technology company that helps care partners make informed decisions about critical health and wellness concerns. Why, when facing a major health or care decision, do we have to become expert researchers sifting through vast libraries of information to find what applies to us? The roobrik platform combines curated expert information, peer stories, and interactive tools to help users understand which options align with personal circumstances and values. Nate and team’s first product line is designed for geriatric care, where 90 million care partners influence 66% of national health care costs. As a Forward Fellow, Nate aims to launch roobrik in a limited beta.

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