Board + Advisors

Board – Magic Squad of Vision and Power

Tara-webTara Allden, Board Member

Tara and her family (husband, Andrew, daughter, Kathleen, and a variety of cats and dogs) found home in Pittsboro more than 10 years ago, moving northward from South Carolina. While at home in Pittsboro, Tara built upon her legal and scientific backgrounds, establishing a career in ecosystem restoration via the business of wetland and stream mitigation banking. Picturing herself as a tenacious kudzu vine* with a root crown firmly established in Pittsboro, Tara et al have returned to Columbia, South Carolina, where Tara is working as a natural resources specialist within a national consulting engineering firm, Kimley-Horn & Associates. It is a vision of a world where natural systems are integrated into our built environment that inspires Tara’s daily work.
Because you truly will get everything you wanted or something better, Tara is excited to be a part of Abundance and spreading the word of community, fun and local goodness!
*Note about kudzu:  Though it is invasive and perhaps noxious, it is green, beautiful and edible. And its growth pattern and tenacity are remarkable.


Mary DeMare, President

Mary came to Pittsboro 7 years ago with her little dog and a twinkle in her eye. Tami had lured her here to run the new co-op grocery store, Chatham Marketplace, by promising community, challenging work, fun and glitter. All of those promises came true and Mary had an amazing experience as General Manager of the Marketplace for 6 1/2 years.

Lured by challenging work, yet again, Mary went to Ohio to help her brother run in the Green Party Primary for US Senate in Ohio. This job involved considerably less glitter (and no money), but was also a great experience.

When Mary found out that Camille was going off on a new adventure, she jumped at the chance to work with the Women of Wonder at The Abundance Foundation. The world of DIY and sustainability has always been an important part of her life…as the youngest of 7 from a small town in Western NY, she and her family did alot of conserving of resources and
doing-it-themselves (with help from others, of course!). The Mission of the Abundance Foundation – educating and empowering the community about sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and local economy – fits Mary’s world vision like a glove!

OWENFITZGERALD_SwebOwen Fitzgerald,  Board Member

Owen is currently a senior at Cary Academy.  He has a passion for marine biology, especially sharks, and environmental sciences. This is most likely what he will major in at college. Owen cares deeply about protecting our oceans and environment as a whole. Owen believes that at Abundance NC, our mission to support local and sustainable agriculture is a very important step to helping reduce pollution and conserve our environment.


Shelley Buisson, Board Member

Shelley lives on 9 acres outside of Pittsboro. Originally from Ontario, she also lived in Quebec and France before coming to Raleigh ten years ago. A private music instructor with a passion for knitting and other crafty things, Shelley also enjoys permaculture and intentional living. She’s volunteered with many organizations and served as secretary and president of an elementary school PTA when her three girls were students. She quickly began volunteering with Abundance upon moving to Pittsboro. Growing up in a  small, tight-knit community, she’s watched twenty-first century life slowly unravel those strong community bonds. She believes Abundance NC’s work is vital to community survival, through building self-reliance and resiliency, while creating a lot of joy and fun in the process.

laurel-webLaurel Shulman, Board Member

Laurel is a cheese maker, writer, dancer, permaculturist, lover of lists and would make everything with her hands if she had the time. Abundance NC appeals to her wild sense of gratitude for the North Carolina community and all of the experiences in it. Originally from Florida, she has lived in North Carolina for almost 6 years and spends most of her time in Durham with her man and dog, who has recently learned how to “pound it.”

Want to join the Abundance NC “Magic Squad of Vision and Power?”

We’d love to have you!
There’s so much to do in this electric field of creativity and community resilience. We need your passion and ideas. First step, fill out an application and hit “send!” We can’t wait to read about you and your vision.


McCayne, Maria and Alicia supporting Abundance efforts.

Advisory Board

Judge Allen Baddour really getting the good shot of the parade.

Judge Allen Baddour really getting the good shot of the parade.

Allen Baddour, Advisory

Allen is a  Superior Court Judge for the Chatham Orange District.   Allen has shown a dedication to both service and justice throughout his career. He is a past President of the District 15B Bar Association, and serves as a liaison for the Superior Court Judges to committees with the N.C. Administrative Office of the Court and the N.C. Bar Association. He serves on Boards with the Chatham YMCA and the Elliott Road branch of the State Employees Credit Union, and coaches basketball. He and his wife Holly are often seen chasing their two sons, Henry and Jack, all over.

Emily Boynton, Advisory

Emily is the former Associate Director of SEEDS, a non-profit community garden in Durham, NC. While working with the youth participating in the DIG and SEEDlings programs Emily developed a passion for educating kids (and anyone who will listen) about healthy eating, where our food comes from and the importance of sustainable food production.  Now she spends her days trying to get her two boys to eat anything, all while taking care of 4 donkeys, 7 chickens, 2 dogs, and Fiddlehead Farm.  Emily and her husband David are big proponents of renewable energy, supporting it both at home (in many ways including solar hot water and PV) and through David’s work with Southern Energy Management.

Emily and David with Fiddlehead Farm @ Chatham Mills Farmers Market

Emily and David with Fiddlehead Farm @ Chatham Mills Farmers Market


kristy-web2Kristy Yule, Advisory

Former Board President, Kristy has an extensive and diverse background in utilizing consumer insights to improve business performance and help brands better connect with customers. Kristy recently founded 10K Marketing, a marketing consulting company established to provide strategic advisory services to small and mid-size businesses that strive to increase awareness, sales and solve product issues. Prior to founding 10K Marketing, Kristy was the Regional VP of Marketing for Newland Communities where she worked for over 10 years leading divisional marketing teams in creating incredible places for people to live. In addition to the Abundance Foundation, Kristy also serves on the Board of the Transforming Hope Ministries. Kristy has a BA in International Business from the University of Georgia. She and Sean are the parents of Hannah and Olivia and reside in Briar Chapel.

Rachel Burton, Advisory

Rachel is a founding board member and has a long term commitment and passion for sustainable agriculture and renewable energy.  Her activism is powered by solar power and biodiesel.  Rachel is a Real Hot 100 Woman of 2006. As a founder of Piedmont Biofuels, Rachel has experience with many different facets of education, community and local food and renewable energy.

Founding Board of Directors and First Board meeting:  2007

Founding Board of Directors and First Board meeting: 2007

Lyle Estill, Advisory

Lyle is the author of Small is Possible,  Biodiesel Power, Industrial Evolution and the publisher of Energy Blog. Small Stories, Big Changes is his latest.  He has been with us from the beginning, and is well known for his fanatical interest in renewable energy, conservation and our local foodshed.  Lyle is loved for his new ideas, his vision and for getting things done.  He helps run Piedmont Biofuels and has a passion for incubating new farms.  He also just harvested his first 10 lbs. of local bananas.

Lyle Estill and Shannon McSwiney, Pepper King & Queen 2011.

Lyle Estill and Shannon McSwiney, Pepper King & Queen 2011.

Sami Grover, Advisory

Sami is Co-Creative Director of The Change, a worker owned agency offering brand strategy and design for good-for-the-world businesses and non-profits. He is also a daily contributor to Originally from the UK, he once vowed never to fly again.  Then he fell in love with someone on the other side of the Atlantic.  He believes flexibility is a central tennet of sustainability.

Sami Grover with Bob Armantrout leading a mushroom innoculation workshop.

Sami Grover with Bob Armantrout leading a mushroom innoculation workshop.

Rebekah Hren, Advisory

Rebekah is a licensed electrician, designing and installing solar electric (photovoltaic) and solar hot water systems and is also a North Carolina solar installer.  A talented organic gardener, she specializes in native plants and flowers as well as uncommon fruit trees.  Rebekah has taught solar electric design and installation classes for organizations including Solar Energy International, Appalachian State University, and the NC Solar Center, and has been a speaker on zero energy buildings at the Solar Power  International conference.  She is a coauthor of a book on renewable energy titled “The Carbon-Free Home: 36 Remodeling Projects to Help Kick the Fossil-Fuel Habit.

Tami, Maria, Rebekah; 3 women of sustainability.

Tami, Maria, Rebekah; 3 women of sustainability.

Maria Kingery, Advisory

Maria is founder and owner of Southern Energy Management, North Carolina’s largest sustainable energy services company. She is dedicated to building a top-notch team of sustainable energy professionals who are passionate about creating solutions to meet the global climate change challenge.

Maria’s professional background is in sales and marketing, primarily in the commercial printing industry. Like her husband, Bob Kingery, she worked with Burt’s Bees in 1995 as retail operations manager and opened their first store in Carrboro, NC.
Maria has a BA in English Literature from NC State. She and Bob are the devoted parents of 5-year-old Zachary.  The Abundance Foundation was thrilled to have her join the board with her enthusiasm, great ideas and her boundless energy.

Gary and McCayne @ Board retreat held at Gary's rammed earth home.

Gary and McCayne @ Board retreat held at Gary’s rammed earth home.

McCayne Miller, Advisory

McCayne is the past President of  Abundance and has copious amount of energy and expertise in development, renewable energy and farming.  Her background includes traveling in Central America and across the US learning about organic and biodyamic farming techniques.  She has trained with the USDA on grants for farmers who want to begin making value added products and farmers that want to install renewable energy systems.  She is a policy wonk and spends her time as a volunteer researching permits and tax rebates for renewable energy implementation.  McCayne was the Director of Business and Community Relations for the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and she was the controller of Piedmont Biofuels.  McCayne is living in Asheville and helping sustainable businesses with vision and bookkeeping.

Kristy with the priority dots @ Board Retreat in Durham.

Kristy with the priority dots @ Board Retreat in Durham.

Gary Phillips, Advisory

Gary is a writer, naturalist and entrepreneur in Silk Hope, North Carolina. He has a special interest in conservation easements and other land-protective strategies. Gary co-founded Weaver Street Realty and Auction Company in Carrboro over a quarter of a century ago and still has an office there. He lives in a rammed earth house with his wife Ilana Dubester. Gary avidly reads anthropological science fiction and many other things, studies amphibian activities on full moon nights and was once chair of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners.

Check out a very cool article on Gary’s green, rammed earth home.

Gerardo Serrano, Advisory

Gerardo is the Founder and Director of Sixth Sun, a non-profit who’s mission is to empower communities to secure their own food and energy sources. Gerardo is working towards creating a local food shed that will systemically combat malnutrition and access issues in areas of low socioeconomic status, as well as developing community based renewable energy programs. In addition to his work at Sixth Sun, Gerardo is a partner at Hometown Her0, a locally based apparel design company, where he heads Business Development.

Rebecca and Tami at Bootleggers Banquet, Top of the Hill benefit.

Rebecca and Tami at Bootleggers Banquet, Top of the Hill benefit.

Rebecca Workman, Advisory

Rebecca was born in Nashville, Tennessee and spent the first 18 years of her life sleeping in the same bedroom at the end of the hall.  Her parents still live in that Cold War-era brick house, and she doesn’t know that any building will ever feel more like home.
She spent four years at the University of Colorado in Boulder, graduating in 2003 with degrees in Creative Writing and American History.  After a short stint working at a pub in Edinburgh, Scotland (and taking the train anywhere and everywhere), she returned to Colorado.  Her father became a vegetarian when she was very young, and everyone in the family (save her Wisconsin-born mother) is a restricted or non-meat eater in one form or another.  Her mother insisted on home-grown vegetables and organic living.  There was a special attention paid to that which we consume, and that has been with her ever since.  But Boulder was her first introduction to that elusive and daunting creation–the CO-OP.  Rebecca was fascinated by the idea of a co-op.  Fascinated that there were people who desired to approach living and co-living with such a gentle touch.  She loves the sense of community that is created when people live in an area where they all seem to agree on certain basic values and ideals.

Rebecca is currently manager at Top of the Hill Brewery, Restaurant and Distillery.   She has been working with non-profits in the community like Sacrificial Poets and Abundance who need our support.

End of year letter writing.

End of year letter writing.