HEAL Food Alliance

2023 School of Political Leadership 

Southern Roots

Wande Okunoren-Meadows


Executive Director,
Hand, Heart and Soul Project

SoPL's strategic aim of building grassroots capacity speaks to what is so often overlooked. That power is already within communities and alliances, and coalitions can be and must be formed - especially during this moment when we see further marginalization of people, land, and financial mobility. It is all by design. I hope my participation allows me to become a better follower so I can lead; a better listener, so I know when to speak, and most importantly, understand that our quest for liberation is intertwined with not only furthering our goals, but that of our fellow BIPOC movement builders.

Meet Wande

Wande Okunoren-Meadows is the Executive Director of the Hand, Heart and Soul Project and the Director of Community, Quality, and Engagement at Little Ones Learning Center in Forest Park, GA, a 3-star quality rated and a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Her success spearheading a community garden at the center prompted a recent visit from Georgia’s First Lady, Sandra Deal, to promote nutrition and wellness among young people as keys to early childhood education.

The center’s distinguished Farm to ECE program has served as a national model and recently the center opened up the Little Lions Farm Stand, which helps address access and equity issues. She and her mother recently co-founded the Hand, Heart, and Soul Project, which nurtures and advances the community's needs by creating equitable access to quality educational, nutritional and collective resources. Wande works with several impact organizations including the National Farm to School Network's Advisory Board, the Union of Concerned Scientists' Good Food For All Executive Steering Committee and was appointed and served on Governor Deal’s and Georgia’s first Early Education Subcommittee.

She is a recipient of numerous awards including the Nikki Randall Servant Leadership Award presented by the Georgia Women’s Legislative Caucus, and a governance committee member of the Big Green DAO which is focused on shifting and decentralizing philanthropy.