Alumna working to fight poverty, hunger in her community
Nancy Williams is using her background in horticulture to fight poverty. Williams, a 1990 graduate of the LSU College of Agriculture, is the CEO of No More Empty Pots, a grassroots non-profit organization in Omaha, Nebraska.
Williams grew up in Coushatta, Louisiana, where her family grew a lot of their own food. She participated in 4-H and FFA and those connections and several scholarships led her to the College of Agriculture.
“I felt competent in my horticulture class,” she said. “I like winning and was getting better grades in those classes.”
Williams was one of the pioneering students starting the college’s ambassador group, Les Voyageurs. She was also a member of the Horticulture Club, The Black Culture Club, the agriculture sorority, Sigma Alpha, and several other student organizations. As a representative of Sigma Alpha, she helped to integrate LSU’s Panhellenic Council.
After graduation, Williams went to Cornell University for her master’s degree. She spent summers working for DuPont and was eventually hired on full-time.
Her path took a turn when she began working for City Sprouts, a non-profit in Omaha focused on community gardens. She then started doing information technology for the Boys and Girls Club in Omaha. This eventually led her to the word she is doing now with No More Empty Pots.
Williams told her story to College of Agriculture students as part of the college’s Alumni Speaker Series.
“If you are not here in service of humanity, what are you here for?” She said.
Nancy Williams, top far right, with Sigma Alpha
Williams and her organization are helping to build a coalition in Omaha to help alleviate hunger, but more importantly she said, fight poverty.
“I believe in the power of good food and good nutrition,” she said. “Good nutrition gives you options.”
She credits LSU with teaching her how to learn in diverse ways – from research, hands-on experiential learning and in the classroom. She said her education prepared her for various roles in life.
Williams encouraged the students to be authentic, and gave them advice on leadership and finding a moral compass.
“Know what are non-negotiables for you, so you won’t waiver,” she said.
She also said with everything LSU has given her, she is giving back and told the students to do the same.
“Even if you are not striving to change the world, at least try to make it better.”