Leslie is a Director of Programs at the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet), where she has worked since 1992, developing infrastructure and public policy that enables farmers and food producers to receive entrepreneurial support, resources and capital they need to access markets and improve sales/equity. ACEnet addresses rural economic development, entrepreneurship, and local food systems as a trainer-practitioner and peer-learner.
In the early 1980s, Leslie operated an organic market garden and raised livestock, selling at the Athens Farmers Market (AFM) and area restaurants. In 1992, she founded a food security organization, Community Food Initiatives, which collects product donations from Athens Farmers Market vendors for area pantries and food banks. In 1995, she also founded a worker-owned restaurant and serves as the business director of the corporation. Her restaurant participates hat has participated as an Athens Farmers Market.
Leslie is a current member and former Board member of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, and a member of the Governor’s Ohio Food Policy Council.
Learn more about the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet) here.