My name is Ben Floyd and I and my family arrived at Blackburn's Chapel in July 2017 after spending the last three years studying for my M.Div at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA. While answering God's call is never an easy proposition, we have felt nothing but warmth and love since arriving here in Todd! I have served as a pastor in Asheville and north Georgia during my time in seminary. My first year of service was helping to begin a recovery ministry at Central UMC in Asheville. We then moved to Atlanta for the last two years of school, serving as a pastor at a small church as well as a pastoral intern at a newer, vibrant church plant. I find myself drawn to ministry that reflects the context and needs of particular communities while at the same time learning from the early Church about the traditions and doctrines that form the eternal basis for our faith in Christ as Savior.
I have been married for 13 wonderful years to Amy, who has followed along this unknown path in ministry with a grace and understanding that knows no bounds. We have two children, Grace and Sam, who constantly teach us about what it means to be faithful parents and models of the Gospel at home and in the world around us. We are looking forward to continued service to the people in and around Todd!
Community Organizing & Program Coordinator
Originally from a small town in California, Jaime Plude moved to the Appalachian region and made it her home in 1998 after travelling extensively throughout the United States. During her travels, Jaime became passionate about serving vulnerable populations while developing and operating a grassroots mobile food kitchen project. Jaime earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work in 2017 and has been serving the community through working as a Shelter Associate and Service Coordinator at the Hospitality House of Boone. She has currently accepted the position as Program Coordinator of Blackburn Community Outreach and looks forward to continuing to serve the local community in Todd, NC. Jaime enjoys spending time with her three children, attending local events and is a certified Feng Shui Practitioner.
I moved to western North Carolina in 2004 from south Texas. After overcoming the initial culture shock, I fell in love with these mountains that I now proudly call home. I have lived in Avery, Caldwell, Watauga and Ashe County! In the summer of my 16th year around the sun I was introduced to the wonder of growing food by my foster grandmother. It didn't take long for me to realize I loved it!
I was working as a certified nurse aide and pursuing a degree in nursing when I was inspired by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture's Female Farmer Profile Project to switch gears and study agroecology and sustainable agriculture. Being in the Sustainable Development department at ASU was a wonderful experience and opened my eyes to the truths behind our consumer culture and unsustainable agricultural practices. I so very much look forward to doing my part in nurturing a sustainable and equitable local food system here in the High Country.
Randy DeSear is the new coordinator for Todd's Table. He moved here from Seattle, WA nearly 7 years ago and, along with his family, has made Todd his home. Originally from Sarasota, Florida, he brings years of experience in general management and sales management.
In his free time Randy enjoys family life, American football, and gardening. He is available for any concerns or questions you may have.