We’re excited to welcome two new faces to the team this summer. Justin Brunot is working as our Local Produce Distribution Assistant, leading the Buying Club program through purchasing produce, working with the team to pack shares, and communicating with Buying Club members. And Brady Dotson was recently hired as our Food Access Assistant to purchase produce orders at the auction, fulfill produce prescriptions for our local health partners, and distribute fresh produce around the region. Get to know them a little bit here and then make sure to say hello when you see them at the auction or driving around the Mid-Ohio Valley!
- What have you been up to the past few years and what brings you to Rural Action? I graduated from OU with a degree in Environmental Geology in 2019. I then moved out to Boise, Idaho and got a job as a Field Technician for an engineering firm. Worked out there for about a year and a half and moved back to Athens in February of this year. I heard of this job through a friend and the work really interested me so I decided to apply.
- What excites you about this work? Getting to interact with the local community and forming friendships with the people are my favorite things about the job. I enjoy the excitement that everyone shows upon receiving their produce. It is fulfilling for me to be able to facilitate in getting local produce out to members and businesses of the community.
- What food or agriculture issue do you care most about? Food waste is one of the issues that I care about the most. The amount of food that gets wasted in the US alone is staggering.
- If you were a food, what would you be and why? I would be a sweet potato because they look unassuming from the outside but are bright orange when you cut inside. They go along with the classic “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” phrase. Also they’re one of my favorite foods.
- What have you been up to the past few years and what brings you to Rural Action? Before this job, I have been studying at Ohio University receiving a bachelor’s degree in applied plant biology. I graduated this year and spent much of my academic focus in sustainable agriculture. Also, I have taken a few food studies courses, so working with regional farmers and distributing to local organizations was a huge draw for me. This job was the most logical step in building my career around food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture and I have been so grateful to have gotten the job!
- What excites you about this work? Rural Action as a whole is an exciting idea to me, to be able to deliver locally grown produce to those in need is such an exciting opportunity, and it is the distribution that excites me the most, along with purchasing the produce and getting to meet, face to face, many of the hardworking farmers that share their harvests.
- What food or agriculture issue do you care most about? The issues I care about most in terms of food and agriculture are mostly good agricultural practices, like sustainability, and making sure farmers are getting a fair price for their product. Another issue that is important to me is that some areas are deficient in healthy local produce. Rural Action is a wonderful solution-oriented organization that provides on-the-ground distribution to help solve many of these issues in our region.
- If you were a food, what would you be and why? If I had to choose a food to be, I would probably be a strawberry, but NOT a store-bought one. There is nothing that tastes better to me than a strawberry right off the plant. Strawberries, to me, are jewels of nature that set a wonderful tone to a bountiful season. Strong connections exist between strawberry plants and that’s how I like to treat my relationships. Also, in the right ethical environment, I thrive, and produce the best fruits!