Nothing brings together people and the environment better than food. While growing up in the rolling ridges and valleys of central Pennsylvania’s farm fields, I observed firsthand the roles agriculture and food play in community development and ecological quality. From being an officer in my high school’s FFA chapter to becoming the co-founder of a new student farm at my undergraduate college, my passion has always been to create sustainable change by understanding and influencing how we produce, distribute, and consume our food.
In graduate school, I turned my attention to the social aspects of food and the environment. My dissertation took me to the coalfields of central Appalachia, where I learned how grassroots movements were using local food systems and small-scale agriculture to create a just economic transition. Here at McDaniel College, I continue my food-related work through campus and community-engaged courses on environmental and social sustainability. My work also includes student-driven research and service opportunities focused on growing organic food and flowers in our campus garden and our budding college farm at the Singleton-Mathews Property.