NCAT is excited to welcome Asha Tillman to the Gulf States Regional team!
Asha has been working with Rock, Liz, and Felicia in our Jackson, Mississippi, office since February 2019 as an intern, and we are so pleased that she will be able to continue as a sustainable agriculture specialist.
Asha grew up in Jackson, but her love of agriculture has its roots in the Mississippi Delta on her grandparents’ farm. Asha spent time on the small family farm and loved seeing how they could support and sustain themselves off their own land. It showed her early on the beauty of small-scale agriculture.
Asha earned a B.S. in Biology from Mississippi Valley State University. After that, she intended to become a veterinarian, but at Tuskegee University found herself drawn toward agriculture instead. There she completed her M.S. in Animal Science. For her M.S. research project, Asha studied the behavioral patterns of Kiko goats on the Tuskegee research farm. She spent two years observing the herd’s browse preferences and their diurnal behavior. This research culminated in her thesis, called “The Preference of Kiko Goats on Selected Browse Species.” Through this research, she learned about goats’ behavior patterns, the cultivation of browse species, silvopasture practices, agroforestry research, and the importance of good soil management. Asha dove into the world of sustainable agriculture for this project, and hasn’t looked back.
Since she started an internship with NCAT a year ago, Asha has been involved in a wide variety of work. She has worked with Liz doing food systems work, including NCAT’s new Food System Fellowship project, and she helped with different events the Mississippi Food Justice Collaborative has conducted around the state. Asha has also enjoyed working with The Piney Woods School outside of Jackson on a number of educational events.
Asha also got to meet more members of the NCAT team when she spent two weeks at the NCAT Southeast office in Fayetteville, Arkansas, last summer. She had the chance to work with the specialists there on different ATTRA projects as well as visit Linda’s and Margo’s farms.
Now that Asha is on board as a full-time specialist, she will continue the awesome work she has started, building ties with local farmers and organizations to move the region toward a just, sustainable food system.