F2Ti Speaker Spotlight: Cassandra Gaines & Jay Hakes

F2Ti Speaker Spotlight: Cassandra Gaines & Jay HakesCassandra Gaines
National Soul Food Cook-Off
Panel: “Keeping the Tradition Alive: Soul Food”

This panel aims to inform the younger generation on how important it is to cook from the garden. The presentation will also share the history of the preparation of Soul Food, and the history passed down from ancestors.

Cassandra Gaines is a recognized and celebrated tourism executive in the state of Oklahoma. Presently, she holds the positions of Muskogee Civic Center Director; Muskogee Multi-Cultural Tourism Coordinator; and Manager of The Roxy Theater, a historic and beloved Muskogee landmark. In 2008, Cassandra founded the National Soul Food-Cook Off, a local, regional and national competition to showcase the best soul food chefs in communities nationwide and provide a unique family, cultural and entertainment venue. The Cook-Off features good food, fun and an educational component regarding the history of soul food cooking and cooking tips from top chefs.

Cassandra has been actively involved in tourism in the Northeastern Oklahoma region since 1982. She is a pioneer in the tourism industry’s rapidly growing niche market of Heritage Tourism. While working for the Muscogee Department of Convention and Tourism in 1996, Cassandra wrote a proposal to the Oklahoma Historical Society for funding to help promote African American Heritage Tourism in Northeastern Oklahoma. After presenting and defending her proposal before Governor Frank Keating, Cassandra was awarded a grant of $50,000 for ten years and used these funds to establish the Muskogee Multi-Cultural Tourism Department, which she coordinates.

Through this department, Cassandra has coordinated the visits to Oklahoma of numerous cultural luminaries including former Essence Editorial Director, Susan L. Taylor; revered actor Danny Glover; athlete and businessman Magic Johnson; world renowned saxophonist Najee; The Trumpet Awards’ Xernona Clayton; and noted historian Dr. John Hope Franklin. Some of the Top Chefs that has worked with Cassandra Gaines is David Burke with Iron Chef and Brandon Boudet Champion of Chopped.

Cassandra has been featured in media including The Wall Street Journal; The New York Times; The Food Channel, She was featured in the April/May2014 issue of Oklahoma Today Magazine.. Cassandra is also a breast cancer survivor, started her own organization with three other ladies called Women Who Care, this was established in 2000 they have provided mammogram service for over 1,025 women. Cassandra has one daughter Aanje Wilkerson and a granddaughter Dominique Embry.

F2Ti Speaker Spotlight: Cassandra Gaines & Jay HakesJay Hakes
Director (Retired)
Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
Presentation: “Connecting Food and Energy: Viable Paths Toward a Sustainable Future”

The presentation will address some of the historic issues in the relationship between food and energy. An analysis of current issues will focus on how the food industry is currently contributing, and can contribute even more on the creation of a sustainable future that allows for the enjoyment of life’s great pleasures, along with leaving a sustainable energy and environmental future for our children. The presentation will provide information on how to adopt practices that are compatible with energy and environmental values and then on to how to gain recognition for steps already being taken.

Jay Hakes is the author of A Declaration of Energy Independence – a look at the past and future of U.S. energy policy. He was appointed by President Clinton to head the highly respected Energy Information Administration for seven year and later returned to Washington to serve as Director for Research and Policy on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Commission. He has traveled around the world speaking on a wide variety of energy topics and is currently completing a book on the energy crises of the 1970s. Hakes led the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library from 2000 to 2013 and is also called upon to comment on various aspects of presidential history. He began his career teaching at the University of New Orleans.

About F2Ti
The Farm To Table International Symposium (F2Ti) offers practical knowledge for all those interested in the topics of sourcing, producing, and consuming foods locally. Join in lively discussions on the topic which will feature the brightest thought leaders and leading practitioners in the burgeoning farm-to-table movement. This year’s theme, “The Process,” examines the agricultural-culinary cycle at all levels and will feature its own organic urban farm research project.

The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s partnerships with the SoFAB Institute and the LSU AgCenter reflect an abundance of knowledge and expertise that will be showcased at F2Ti.

SoFAB documents and celebrates the food and drink of all cultures through exhibits, programming, and a range of media. SoFAB is home to several entities, among them the SoFAB Center for Food Law, Policy & Culture, SoFAB Culinary Library & Archive, the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, Museum of the American Cocktail, and SoFAB Media.

The LSU AgCenter is a part of a nationwide network of research-based extension offices within the land-grant system of universities and provides innovative research, information and education to improve people’s lives in Louisiana and the world. For more information, please visit f2t-int.com.