When did you know that you wanted to work in food?
I came to farming through art making, after I realized I could communicate the same themes to (mostly) the same audiences and through food, a medium that was crucial.
How did you get your current good food job?
I had collaborated with Greenhorns founder Severine von Tscharner Fleming on a few different projects, so I was familiar with VT Sail Freight and knew the plan to launch a similar project in Maine. I sent my resume to Severine on a whim, we both got excited and then after about 10 days of deliberation I accepted the role of project coordinator of MAINE Sail Freight.
How did your previous work or life experience prepare you for a good food job?
Art school develops your observation, problem-solving and project management skills and my education at Moore College of Art made me ready for pretty much anything. I took my skills to a farm apprenticeship in New York that literally changed my life. I arrived at the farm, a vegetarian and learned to love the complex relationship between good animal husbandry and high-quality meat. I didn't just start eating meat again, but resolved to growing the most ethical meat I could while educating eaters about how animals can shape the health of the land on which they are raised.
What was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome in pursuing your Good Food Job dream?
Bureaucracy is still the biggest barrier to radically change our food system and return us to a more companionable relationship with what we eat. I've worked as both an agricultural service provider and farmer and find that in both situations finding individuals and crafting relationships with them is the best way to move the dial.
Name one positive thing that a former employer taught you that you continue to appreciate?
Always say thank you. No matter how big or small the job might be, several wonderful mentors along the way have reinforced the lesson that all work should be acknowledged.
What can you identify as the greatest opportunities in food right now?
Now is a great time to be a food producer. But, I think the greatest opportunities lie in recruiting new eaters. As a farmer and an activist I would love to see new people at farmers markets and shopping local natural food stores each week. There is a big opportunity for those outlets to lure shoppers away from big box supermarkets with real, inspiring fresh foods. Some of this shift will only happen if there are people out there teaching Americans to cook again and supporting them with delicious, gratifying and easy recipes.
If you could be compensated for your work with something other than money, what would it be?
Farm tours! I love seeing how other farms operate and always learn something new.