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Every year, our Sustainable Agriculture Program welcomes AmeriCorps members to the team. These service members spend one year helping us to build the food and farming economy in the Mid-Ohio Valley of Ohio and West Virginia. This fall we are eager to welcome Jordan and Melissa! Jordan is serving as our Food Access Coordinator COMCorps member and Melissa is serving as our Community Development AmeriCorps member. Read on to learn a little about them!

 

Jordan Knisley

What have you been up to the past few years and what brings you to Rural Action?

I spent much of the past four years earning a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies at Ohio University (three years in Athens, one year back home in Chillicothe thanks to COVID). As my senior year came to an end, I wanted nothing more than to return to Athens, so I began to ask around about employment opportunities in my field in the area. That’s when I learned about COMCorps and Rural Action through my advisor. The opportunity to come back to Athens County and do meaningful service for the community while I was at it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

What excites you about this work?

The opportunity to serve, to learn from that service and the people around me, and to make new friends along the way all excite me.

What food or agricultural issue do you care most about?

The “get big or get out” philosophy of conventional agriculture in the United States has lead to a system where a small number of huge agribusinesses produce most of the food in America, forcing out small to mid-sized farmers in the process and leading to a host of environmental issues. I believe that we’d all have better access to healthy food grown in a more economically and environmentally sustainable way if small, local farms received more support.

If you were a food, what would you be and why?

My favorite food, both for the taste and because it reminds me of home, is biscuits and gravy, so I guess I’d have to go with that!

 

Melissa Beatty

What have you been up to the past few years and what brings you to Rural Action?

The last couple years I have been a stay at home mom for the most part but also taking care of and trying to make something of a family farm that has been neglected for the past 20 years. Mostly I have been cleaning it up and making repairs and trying to make the place presentable again to open up for a business.

What excites you about this work?

I really can’t wait to gain more knowledge and experience for beginning farmers and be able to help others in our community that may not know about certain programs or opportunities available. I also want to be able to educate myself and others about livestock care and be able to keep up to date with different changes and be able to reach out to others that would like to be educated and taught as well.

What food or agricultural issue do you care most about?

I don’t typically care about a certain issue but rather feel that I would be of help to people in our area that may not be able to get the proper information that they would need due to lack of resources they may have found. My main goal is to reach out to their individual needs and help them as much as I can.

If you were a food, what would you be and why?

I would have to say a cross between a strawberry and pineapple. I mean what better flavor is there than that.


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