Mountain Area Information Network

Patryk Battle - Vice President

Patryk Battle is the Director of The Mills River Educational Farm (M.R. Ed. Farm). M.R. Ed. Farm is the primary production, research and educational center of the Living Web Farms network. Living Web Farms is a non-profit network of farms. Our mission is to teach hands on innovative sustainable food and energy production skills. The produce (this year over 12000 pounds) from M.R. Ed Farm is donated to local food banks and other non-profits working to insure food security.

Patryk is the author of numerous nationally and regionally published articles on sustainable food production and has addressed the subject via local radio WCQS and now MAIN-FM since 1998. He is a frequent and popular presenter/consultant on the subjects of sustainable food and energy production.

Ian Booth

After finishing college in 1968 in Greensboro, NC, I worked as a telecommunications consultant for two years. In 1970, I returned to my first love ... music ... and toured the country as a singer/songwriter for ten years. At the same time, the emphasis on social responsibility that had permeated the air at Guilford College inspired my growing interest in world hunger and its root causes. I began to meet with national and international organizational leaders. In 1976, I chartered the non-profit World Food Foundation to research alternative food and resource models, based on the work of R. Buckminster Fuller. My primary focus was in the fields of self-reliance and appropriate technology.

Three years later, in 1979, my father and several of his friends were sent into early retirement from their highly skilled jobs in the composing room at the Greensboro Daily News. Computer technology had quickly rendered their lifelong trade obsolete. Having learned the printing trade in the orphanage, my dad's job was his link to a life of dignity and financial security. He would often say, "Son, I don't know how to do anything else." On January 6, 1980, despite being a bright, healthy and talented man, my dad committed suicide. His death, driven by the impact of "overspecialization", as Bucky Fuller called it, made my life's work very clear. Soon after, I established The Alpha Project ... a new beginning. My work since that time, with all of its twists and turns, has been out of a commitment to help bring about that new beginning.

Karen Cragnolin

Mrs. Cragnolin is currently serving as the Executive Director of RiverLink, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation spearheading the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River as a place where people can work, live and play.

She is currently serving on numerous boards and commissions including: Ex Officio member Greenway Commission, City of Asheville Flood Reduction Task Force, Clean Water Management Trust Fund’s Board of Trustees (since 1996) , Buncombe County Conservation Board, Buncombe County Greenway Commission, City of Asheville Watershed Advisory Board, Flood Fine Arts Center Board, Self-Help Credit Union Board of Advisors, the MAIN Board of Directors and the Nolichucky Watershed Partnership Board of Directors .

She has previously served on a number of boards including the Buncombe County Environmental Advisory Board, the Leadership Asheville Board, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Board, the Small Business Health Alliance and the Warren Wilson College Board of Visitors. Prior to living and working in Asheville, she was Co-founder and Director of the American Business Council in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Her previous work also included serving as Director of Public Affairs for the American-Arab Affairs Council in Washington, D.C. Prior to the above work, she was Tax Editor at Prentice-Hall Publishing Co., in New York City.

Mrs. Cragnolin is an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of New York and the District of Columbia.

She has been recognized and honored with numerous awards including: Friend of the River in 1992, Downtown Hero in 1991, Circle of Excellence Award-Leadership Asheville in 1995, Athena Award in 1999, Garden Club of America 2007 Club Civic Improvement Award, and the 2008 Rock the Earth Planet Defender Award.

Patricia Furnish - President

Patricia Furnish is a Charlotte native and received a Bachelor’s degree in international studies from Meredith College. She received a Master’s degree in U.S. history from West Texas A&M University before moving to Oklahoma, where she earned a Ph.D. in Native American history for her dissertation on Native American political movements in the early 20th century. She taught history, sociology and Spanish at the community-college level for 12 years. Furnish has been studying Spanish language, culture and literature at UNC Charlotte at the graduate level. She is currently studying documentary film, as well.

Donna Khan

Donna Khan has a Master’s degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina, and is the Vice President of Nasrum Integrated Systems, a boutique consultancy firm specializing in media and development with clients worldwide. She is also editor-in-chief for the North American edition of the Singapore-based World Business Journal, and writes for international titles including Cigar Aficionado, Bon Appétit, Town & Country, Robb Report, Outside Magazine, Veranda, and Polo Player. Before that, she was a reporter for the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain, and was a contributing editor for Log Home Living Magazine.

Mark West -- Interim Executive Director

Mark West is a professor at the University of North Carolina in its mass communication department, which he has chaired twice. He took his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina under Jane D. Brown and Donald Shaw, and his dissertation, on the effect of media coverage of the Tet 1968 offensive in the Vietnam conflict, won two international awards.

He has written five books, numerous book chapters, articles and presentations, and is presently completing a book on the linkages between Kantian perspectives on communication and modern empirical research. He was a participant in the research projects which led to much of the modern legislation concerning television violence as profiled in the Presidential Commission on Television Violence, devised the statistical analytic methods used by television networks for real-time analysis of presidential debates, and has published extensively on the relationship between television violence and the levels of fear in communities. West is a member of numerous scholarly organizations, including the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the American and World Association for Public Opinion Research, and the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.

West has served extensively as a consultant for governmental agencies on the analysis of large-scale bodies of textual materials, such as the real-time evaluation of extremely large databases of emails or related materials. West is a Perl programmer, user of Linux, and has experience in Forth, SNOBOL 4 / Icon, and other string-oriented languages. Prior to pursuing an academic career, West was a print journalist.

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