You can’t beat spring for starting off in a new direction. Possibilities and ideas start popping up like new shoots. You can feel the opportunities for change starting to emerge like hypocotyl arches pushing their way out of the soil. Seems like an auspicious time to make a change, and that’s just what I‘ve done. This is my first week as Outreach Coordinator for the Land Connection, and I feel like I’m headed into a really productive growing season.
In some ways this is a continuation of the kind of work I’ve done for a while. Previous to TLC, I did communications and technology work for another local nonprofit, working on health care education and policy. Through that job, I came to understand a lot about how small nonprofits work. It was an inspiring and intense place to work and I learned lessons about how change happens that I will take with me the rest of my life. Eventually, though, I began to look for other ways to contribute. Part of that process involved thinking about things that have been important to me throughout my life.
I was born in Bloomington, Illinois. Growing up, I had access to locally-produced dairy products, apples and the harvest from our neighbors’ yearly vegetable gardens. As I got older, I saw some of those great food sources starting to disappear as producers retired without a younger generation to take over their operations. These losses highlighted the value and also the fragility of local food systems. That’s why learning about The Land Connection’s work to encourage new farmers struck such a chord with me.
Small farming has traditionally been a skill passed down from one generation to the next. As industrialization has taken over as a dominant force in our economy, that chain of parents teaching children has been disrupted. The Land Connection is helping to build new resources for those who want to learn susrtainable ways to farm. That word “sustainable” really is the key to all this for me. It’s always been part of my temperment to want to prepare for mishaps. My favorite fictional characters are the ones who always have that obscure tool or bit of knowledge that prevents disaster. I love the idea of helping to build a local food system that can carry our communities forward and withstand whatever adverse situations may come our way. It’s like building our own local survival kit.
It’s exciting to be getting started here at the Land Connection. I’m thrilled to be part of this organization, and I hope I’m prepared for what comes next!