Raised in the suburbs of eastern Pennsylvania, my journey into sustainable agriculture and food-systems work began after I took an environmental science class in high school. The class encompassed issues from algal blooms to climate change, and I was left searching for answers. The summer before college, I pursued an internship at my aunt and uncle’s farm in upstate New York, where it soon became clear that sustainable agriculture was uniquely capable of addressing a whole host of the issues I was concerned about in class. Moreover, it was a profound experience to realize that humans, instead of merely striving to do less harm, could act as a regenerative force on the land. While attending school, I spent another stint farming in upstate New York and worked continuously at the Lafayette College Farm (LaFarm), where we teamed up with Bon Appétit to provide thousands of pounds of produce a year to Lafayette’s dining halls.
Throughout my college career, I never strayed far from LaFarm, but I also began to broaden my interests beyond the practice of sustainable agriculture and into campus sustainability and local food system development. My trajectory fundamentally changed when I began working for the Greater Easton Development Partnership, first as an intern for the Easton Farmers’ Market (EFM), and then as an assistant at the Easton Public Market Farmstand. These two roles introduced me to a tight-knit community that in many ways became my second family. My work with the Farmstand entailed helping to open a values-driven food store with the dual mission of supporting local producers while providing a full array of produce and other pantry items to a city with multiple areas defined by the USDA as “low income and low food access.” While poring over availability lists and thinking about food hubs, my passion for the business behind local food grew, and I realized that the marketplace, which I had long blamed for abetting industrial agriculture’s excesses, could be leveraged for good.
I’m honored to be a Bon Appétit Fellow — a role that allows me to spread the message of a company that so closely shares my values and whose purchasing and sustainability commitments have done much to reform the food service industry and the food system writ large.