October 23, 2019

Imagining Freedom – ONLINE!

Featuring World-Renowned Chef and Florida Native Art Smith

Join STAC and Chef Art Smith for Imagining Freedom – Online!, a celebration of area farmers, restaurants, and many others who support fairness and are dedicated to trafficking-free supply chains.


Imagining Freedom: A Culinary Tasting and Marketplace is going online this year! In the past, our in-person dining event celebrated farmers, purveyors, and local restaurants with a cornucopia of dishes, foods, and goods with donated foods. All of their contributions were delicious, fresh, AND trafficking-free – that is, the supply chains and the labor that produced the items were grown, picked, or prepared with trafficking-free labor. Due to the pandemic, we took this celebration online with a very special guest, Chef Art Smith.

Imagining Freedom is STAC’s premier fundraiser. Our sponsorships helped in providing assistance to human trafficking survivors of all ages and support education programs throughout the Big Bend to prevent sex and labor trafficking.

Tune into this fun and informative program that features a cooking demonstration by Chef Art Smith, a Jasper, Florida, native. He is a familiar face on the national food scene with restaurants in several major cities and his Homecomin’ restaurant in Disney Springs in Orlando.

Television viewers know Chef Art from the “Today” show, “BBQ Pitmasters” and “Top Chef Masters.” A sixth-generation Floridian, he was Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef for 10 years and cooked for two Florida governors in Tallahassee.

Since the pandemic, Chef Art has been hosting a series of cooking videos and has lost 70 pounds. He is the author of several books including, “Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort: How America’s Favorite Celebrity Chef Got it Together, Lost Weight, and Reclaimed His Health!” (2013).

In addition to Chef Art, Imagining Freedom – Online! includes a celebration of the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance, which recently adopted a statement against trafficking and is informing all of its farmers and producers about the issue.

The statement reads: “Red Hills Small Farm Alliance is committed to helping to eradicate human trafficking as defined in State of Florida and federal laws. We do not condone human trafficking and will not engage in this practice or knowingly work with suppliers who engage in these practices. Our producers are committed to practices that ensure that no human trafficking exists in their business operations. We will provide our producers and members with information on human trafficking to help carry out the terms of this statement of principles.”

“This is the first time that a farming organization in our region has adopted a statement like this to underscore their collective commitment to preventing trafficking,” said Robin Hassler Thompson, STAC executive director. “Red Hills members will participate in Imagining Freedom to receive our thanks. They serve as a shining example for other businesses and organizations.”

Florida ranks third in the nation for cases of human trafficking, often called modern-day slavery. Since 2018, STAC has assisted over 40 people who were trafficked or at serious risk, along with dozens more who were identified as extremely vulnerable. While sex trafficking is often in the news, labor trafficking can be less visible, although it exists in plain sight in restaurants, on farms and in neighborhood homes.

Proceeds from Imagining Freedom supported STAC services and programs including direct assistance to sex and labor trafficking survivors of all ages and training for professionals and community members. Over the last three years, STAC educated more than 3,000 people, including all Leon County Sheriff’s Office road patrol, investigators and school resource officers, as well as personnel from eight county health departments and Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.

A member of the National Human Trafficking Hotline, STAC maintains a directory of services for survivors on its website and partners with agencies, including the International Rescue Committee and the Big Bend Coalition Against Human Trafficking, and many area agencies to connect survivors to a wide network of resources. These include case management, housing, counseling, health care, and employment, education, and legal assistance.

STAC offers free training from 1 to 3 p.m. on the third Friday of every month for anyone who would like to learn about trafficking and how to help. Sessions include facts and trends, as well as a specialized topic that changes each month. Learn more about our next training here

“None of what STAC does would be possible without community support,” Hassler Thompson said. “We have to keep the momentum going. Human trafficking, and labor trafficking in particular, are vastly underreported. More survivors need us. Watch Imagining Freedom and learn what you can do.”

If you have any questions, please contact Robin Hassler Thompson, STAC executive director, at robin@surviveandthriveadvocacy.org or 850-597-2080. THANK YOU for supporting human trafficking survivors and those who are vulnerable in the Big Bend.

Thank You to our 2020 Sponsors


Liberation Sponsor

Susan Turner and Food Glorious Food

Dignity Sponsor


Solidarity Sponsors

Robin Hassler Thompson & Dan Thompson

Hope Sponsors

BB&T
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
Berger Singerman, LLP
Capital City Bank
Capital Women‘s Investment Club (CWIC)
Clothesline
Howell and Sharon Maxwell Ferguson
Judy A. Gagnon, RMR, FCRR
Novey + Gonzalez Family Law
PACE Center for Girls Leon
Maria I. Pouncey
Mary Anne Price
Radey Law Firm

Red Hills Small Farm Alliance
Ron Silver & Associates, Inc.
Silver Digital Media
Mary Stipanovich
Tallahassee Action Grants
Tallahassee Fellowship
Allison Tant
Unchained International
United Church of Tallahassee
Kathy Villacorta and Tommy Warren


Basket Donors and Food Sponsors

Backwoods Bistro/Backwoods Crossing
Bumpy Road Farm
Glendower Farms
David W. Grimes/McKibben Honey
RedEye Coffee
Red Hills Small Farm Alliance

SoDough
Soul Fabric
Lovett Farms
Renee C. Starrett
Tally Mac Shack
Tony’s Chocolonely
Susan Turner/Food Glorious Food
Uptown Cafe and Catering
North Florida Animal Hospital


Freedom Sponsors

Mary Barley
Nancy Breslin
Sally Butzin
Rhoda Kibler
Kim Koutnik
Virginia Hassler
Rebeccah Lutz
Laura McCormick
Karen Oehme

Kelly Otte
Leslie Powell-Boudreaux
Debbie Robinson
Cari Roth
April Salter
Linda Shelley
Renee C. Starrett
Ryan and Jessica Yeary

The Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center, Inc. (STAC) is a tax-exempt organization as defined within the Internal Revenue Code Section, paragraph and subparagraph 501(c)3. As such, contributions made to the organization are generally considered deductible in full to the extent allowed by tax law. We suggest that you consult your tax advisor if you have questions on the deductibility of this or any contribution.

THE SURVIVE AND THRIVE ADVOCACY CENTER, INC. IS REGISTERED WITH THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES AS A CHARITY TO SOLICIT AND COLLECT CONTRIBUTIONS WITHIN THE STATE. OUR REGISTRATION NUMBER IS CH49747. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE WITHIN THE STATE (800-435-7352). REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Translate »
Skip to content     
Website by Robyn Ellan