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You’ll be seeing some new faces around Chesterhill! Two weeks ago, three AmeriCorps members serving with the Appalachian Ohio Restore Corps (AORC) joined the Rural Action Sustainable Agriculture team. Serving through August 16, they will help Rural Action handle the growing season uptick in Auction sales and event programming. We’re excited to have them on board!

NATALIE JOHNSON

What have you been up to the past few years and what brings you to Rural Action? I am headed into my final semester at Marietta College where I study political science, economics, and leadership studies. At Marietta, I am a member of Sigma Kappa Sorority, Student Government, and the newly elected president of Model United Nations. My past summers have been spent working in the legal field, mainly corporate law. But now that I’m nearing the end of my educational career I wanted to try something new. Rural Action is not only new, but the work is so inspiring and I’d love to work in the realm of environmental policy.

What excites you about this work? I am most excited about how rewarding this work seems. My dad is a small business owner, so I have always been passionate about supporting local economies. Being able to support local farmers, increase food access, and increase my own awareness about the Appalachian region and agriculture in general are all things that I am looking forward to.

What food or agricultural issues do you care about most? The way that industrial agriculture alienates us from our food and consequently our communities. Along with the obvious environmental impact and the abusive working conditions faced by farmers, migrant workers, and the animals involved.

If you were a food, what would you be and why? Definitely ramen noodles; just look at my hair.

 

ROWAN FAHL MATLACK

What have you been up to the past few years and brings you to Rural Action? I have been attending college for the past few years but I was disillusioned with the education system so I decided to take a few years off school to figure out what I wanted to do as well as obtain some experience working with local producers and consumers so I can better understand the difficulties facing the modern working class.

What excites about this work? I am very excited to work with local groups and smaller community driven organizations that perform on a smaller level. I feel that these types of organizations are one of the most important tools to combat issues such as rural self determination as well as climate issues and global supply issues.

What food or agricultural issue do you care most about? The most important issue that I see within agriculture today is a dependence on larger industrial farming taking agency away from smaller local communities. This method of farming can lead to production with no thought towards the issues that may affect the areas in which they are located leading to unhelpful business practices.

If you were a food, what would you be and why? I think I would be a nice bread like rye or focaccia bread or something like that. I don’t really know why other than bread is tasty and can be used for a lot of different things like sandwiches or open face sandwiches.


SARAH SMITH

What have you been up to the past few years and what brings you to Rural Action? For the past three years I have been a geography student at Ohio University in Athens. My major is urban planning and sustainability because protecting the welfare of nature and people is very important to me as well as peaceful coexistence. This makes the goals of Rural Action extremely honorable and appealing to me.

What excites you about this work? For my term I am excited to work along side local farmers and residents in helping to provide healthy food that is accessible and affordable to all. I am also really looking forward to working at the auction and at the student farm. It would also be wonderful if after my three-month term I had a lot of new friends.

What food or agricultural issue do you care most about? One of the biggest issues that has stuck with me from my major is the inaccessibility and unaffordability of healthy foods for many communities. To remedy this communities will sometimes create a farm or garden on an empty lot which allows for strong socialization and for these families to provide for themselves. This however results in the lot’s property worth to go up and the local government to repossess it, only to neglect it again.

If you were a food, what would you be and why? If I were a food, I would be pasta because I am a very warm person who gets along with everyone. I also occasionally am cheesy. I find it extremely comforting to bathe in near boiling water after a long day.


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