More than a decade ago, Kim helped to found GRuB, a non-profit that works with youth and low-income families to encourage growing good food in Washington State. In addition to helping start thousands of individual and community gardens throughout the state, GRuB also runs its own two-acre urban farm where Kim puts her background to work. While some of us are lucky enough to channel a specific college degree into an already existing dream job, Kim managed to create the perfect career at the convergence of her two primary interests: food and community. And the success of GRuB's efforts is more proof that good food works.
What attracted you to a good food job?
I've always been fascinated by nature, how things grow, how everything is connected. I had the privilege of eating carrots right out of the ground and marionberries from summer vines in my mother's lush garden. As I learned more about the world, I learned that agriculture represented one of human's most intimate (and currenlty destructive) relationships with the natural world. As an environmentalist, I decided to focus my work on this interconnection, knowing that changing our relationships to soil and food would greatly improve our net effect on ecosystems and the planet.
How did you get your current good food job?
I studied Community Development and Urban Ecology during college (at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA). In my last year, we formed groups and sought out projects in the community to study and support. There was a recent graduate named Blue Peetz who was growing food in an elderly woman's backyard to give away to local seniors. Our group of students approached him with our energy, ideas, and over-the-top world change plans. In the summer, my cohorts pursued post-graduation plans and I stuck around and formed a wonderful Co-Directorship with Blue. Over the last 14 years, with the help of legions of folks, we've created a vibrant non-profit organization that employs and educates teens on a two-acre farm, builds free vegetable gardens for low-income families, and supports the emergence of a just and sustainable food system in our area.
How did your previous work or life experience prepare you for a good food job?
I have a background in Environmental Education and Community Development. Good food is right at the nexus of these two worlds.
What advice do you have for others in search of a good food job?
Pursue something that uniquely lights you up, not something that just seems right or timely. We are recreating our local economies and need folks engaged in each piece of that, from growing to cooking to purchasing to eating to distributing to raising consciousness to advocating for systemic change. Not one piece is more important than another. It all needs to be done and it all needs to be done synergistically.
If you could be compensated for your work with something other than money, what would it be?
Meaningful conversation served with stellar mexican food.