Ruth Hambleton, Treasurer
Ruth Hambleton is a long-time resident of Southern Illinois residing on a small farm near Mt. Vernon, IL. In her past, she and her husband Kenneth have operated a hog and beef cow/calf business along with hay and grain enterprises. She retired from University of Illinois Extension in 2009 after serving 31 years in farm business management and economics. Hambleton served another 12 years as the farm management instructor for her alma mater Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Hambleton is the founder of Annie’s Project (AP), an educational program for farm women. She currently serves as the Treasurer for the AP Board of Directors. In addition to her AP board duties, she also manages the family trust and serves as agent for a Limited Partnership started by her parents, Frank and Annette Fleck.
Ellen Esling is a geographer and media artist exploring place, identity and ecology. She is also an aspiring young farmer beginning to grow on family land as the fifth generation of her family’s historic orchard business. She received her MFA in Media Arts in 2018 from Southern Illinois University where she also recently completed her Master of Science degree earlier in 2022 in Geography with a thesis exploring local food in Southern Illinois.
Jebaraj Asirvatham, Ph.D. (JEB)
Jeb Asirvatham is an associate professor of agribusiness economics at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. His work focuses on agricultural marketing, agricultural finance, economic development, and nutrition and health economics. Jeb’s research work uses science-based evidence to model economic relationships, and includes estimating regional premiums of specialty crops, exchange rate and agricultural trade, microfinance and business income, sustainable attitudes and behaviors among college students, women empowerment in developing nations, food environment in schools, peer-effects in health among school children, and the impacts of campaign and education policies.