I grew up on a diversified dairy goat farm where work with my mom – making hay, pruning fruit trees, butchering chickens, and assisting in midnight goat births – tangibly fostered an appreciation for farmers that drives my work today. During and after college I leased five acres and ran a 60 family vegetable CSA and sold pastured meat to restaurants. As a farmer myself I began organizing other beginning farmers in the Young Farmer Network (YFN) to share resources, knowledge, and a collective policy voice. My advocacy work led me to a job at New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, a non-profit organization where I worked with primarily peri-urban immigrant farmers who faced an even longer list of challenges than the mostly college-educated farmers who made up YFN. I began to really appreciate that as difficult as farming is, for so many I worked with it was an expression of human dignity and belonging.
In the late summer of 2016 I put down my harvest knife, sold my walking tractor, and left the farmland I love.
At ESPM my research examines how rural agricultural communities in the US respond and adapt to the impacts of climate change - from water scarcity and unpredictable weather to changing demographics, policies, markets, and migrations.