Wild Ideas


Share. Inspire. Get Wild.

5 dynamic speakers. 15 powerful slides. 5-minute talks to inspire.
TLC’s Wild Ideas series provides a unique venue for experts and the community to share their innovative ideas to safeguard clean water, protect natural habitats, support local farms and food, and connect people with nature in order to make the Triangle a more vibrant place for all of us to live, work, and play. Each event features 5 fast-paced presentations introduced by an emcee then is followed by an Expo of organizations, groups, and businesses actively working in fields related to the theme. 

Register Now for the next Wild Ideas on October 11th 5:30-8 PM at the Frontier @ RTP


Foodies, farmers, and conservationists connect when it comes to supporting local farms and food. Hear from all of them as we dig into the role of conservation in the food we eat, the land we farm, and our community’s capacity to feed the Triangle from the Triangle. Fast paced-presentations, expo, and free local food and beer. Come and learn how we can improve lives through conservation!


Ryan Butler- CFO, Green Button Farm 

Ryan is the CFO (Chief Farming Officer) of Green Button Farm. He has a seemingly innate ability to care for animals and increase soil fertility. He finds it extremely rewarding to grow food for people he loves. You should see the animals follow Ryan around the farm. Their mutual love and respect for one another is evident.

Ryan attended Davidson College and earned a B.S degree in Agricultural Business Management with a concentration in Agricultural Economics from North Carolina State University. Over his fifteen year working career, Ryan has worked for the USDA, big chemical, an international grocer, and worldwide financial institutions. Those experiences have provided first hand knowledge of how our current agricultural system is broken and where we are as a nation of people starved for local, safe food

Kay Coleman- Farm Manager, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle

kayAs the Manager of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Teaching Farm in Raleigh, Kay not only gets to spend her time growing food, but the food grown on this farm is shared with people in our community in need. A native North Carolinian and NCSU graduate in horticulture and animal science, she started her career in agriculture as an Agricultural Extension Agent on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Other related work experiences include a large agricultural research farm and citrus research in Florida. She has lived in Wad Medani –  Sudan, Athens – Greece and Geneva – Switzerland.

Her job on the Teaching Farm allows her opportunities to speak to the many volunteers about local food systems and environmentally responsible farming methods.  “Do you know where your food comes from?” is the question that starts the conversations about local food systems, what they are and what they mean to our community, and our world.  As an “older farmer”, she has seen the positive changes in agriculture and conservation in recent years.  Watching the slow transition from spraying every spot on our produce to make it perfect ….  to a better understanding of how these practices have affected our world and how we can do it differently in the future. This gives her hope.

mavisMavis Gragg- Gragg Law Firm 





Leigh Ann Hammerbacher- Assoc. Director of Conservation & Stewardship, Triangle Land Conservancy

leigh-ann-tbjLeigh Ann Hammerbacher first began her career at TLC in 2007 as our Conservation Planner and now serves as our Associate Director of Conservation and Stewardship. She has over 10 years of experience in natural resource protection in the Triangle. Originally from Guilford County, she grew up exploring the creeks and woods of the Piedmont which instilled a great passion for resource conservation. Leigh Ann recently returned to TLC after helping lead the Watershed Protection Program for the City of Raleigh. She also has also worked on numerous conservation plans across TLC’s service area as well land projects, conservation partnerships, land management planning, and easement stewardship.

Leigh Ann focuses her efforts on land protection, planning, and stewardship in the eastern Triangle. She primarily works on land projects in Wake and Johnston County but also helps coordinate partnerships and preserve planning efforts. Leigh Ann has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill in City and Regional Planning with a focus on Land Use and Environmental Planning.

Matt Whitley- Co-Founder, Happy + Hale

M.C.- Shorlette Ammons, Community Food Systems Outreach Coordinator, Center for Environmental Farming Systems Small Farm Unit

shorletteShorlette Ammons is an Eastern NC native (Mount Olive, NC) who comes from a long lineage of farmworkers, cooks and storytellers. She joined North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) in April 2010 as Community Food Systems Outreach Coordinator with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ (CEFS) Small Farm Unit located in Goldsboro. She now leads an initiative to address root causes of food insecurity through the lens of structural racism.  Shorlette is a former children’s librarian with a Master’s Degree in Library Science from North Carolina Central University. She has developed her community engagement experience by engaging and working closely with the Goldsboro community over the past 5 years with the Wayne Food Initiative and various community-based food systems projects, including a number of community gardens in the area and a recently established urban farm. She recently co-founded record label with her twin sister, SugarQube Records that seeks to represent artists whose culture and creativity are often invisibilized by mainstream radio and media, which reflects the spirit of why she is deeply involved in social and racial equity work. She continues to work on issues of racial equity as a member or the Open Source Leadership Strategies consulting team. She and her beautiful teenage daughter currently reside in Durham, NC along with their furry, four-legged companion, Lady.

Expo Organizations

Black Family Land Trust

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Compost Now

Conservation Trust of North Carolina

Farmer Food Share

Keep Durham Beautiful

NC Composting Council

NC State Agroecology Education Farm

Piedmont Picnic Project

Tilthy Rich

Toxic Free NC

Triangle Land Conservancy

Well Fed Community Garden

Featuring Plow to Pint beer from:fullsteam-small

Brought to you by:





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Morgan Stanley Foundation

Past Events
Wild Ideas for Birds and Bees, June 22nd, 2016.

Wild Ideas for Getting Outside, March 9th, 2016

Wild Ideas for Clean Water, June 2015

Wild Ideas for Getting Outside, March 3rd, 2015

Wild Ideas for Feeding the Triangle, October 22nd, 2016


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