As many of you know, last year I started in a new role at a nonprofit. I'd been searching for a position where I could merge my skills in nonprofit development and my love of food. Someone was listening and I secured a job with the Real Organic Project.
So, I wanted to share my story and express the profound impact that this organization has had on how I think about food. And I would be remiss if I didn't extend gratitude for my colleagues at the Real Organic Project for generously sharing their farming experiences with me since I joined the team last year as Development Director. Everyone at the organization from my co-directors to the certification team are all current or former farmers and their experiences have enriched me. My 15 years of experience in nonprofit management and development, coupled with my skills as a classically-trained chef, contribute a unique perspective to our programs.
For me, "Food is Love" is more than a mantra; it is a guiding principle. Throughout my life, the significance of real food, family meals, and celebrating life's milestones around the table left an indelible mark on my appreciation of growing your own food and the transformative power of cooking. The Real Organic Project has not only deepened my understanding of organic farming but has also provided me with an intensive education. Now, as I dedicate myself to fundraising for our programs, I am constantly reminded of the challenges faced by hardworking farmers dealing with unpredictable weather, market access, and financial instability.
The complexities of our food system, the hurdles organic farmers face against Big Ag's greenwashing, and confusing food marketing have opened my eyes. I am motivated to delve deeper into these issues and advocate for what is right, just, and honest.
I’ve had the distinct pleasure to meet many of the farmers represented by the Real Organic Project label. I have deep respect for their value system, their grit, and most importantly their integrity to grow food in healthy soils and their humane care for animals on well-managed pastures.
I am profoundly passionate about our mission. If more eaters were aware of the flaws in our food system and how big Ag companies care more about profits over people then we would have a renewed organic movement, change would occur—one farm and one eater at a time. While we are making progress, time is of the essence, and we need to intensify our efforts.
I encourage you to engage in conversations with family and friends, support local farming, and explore Real Organic Project's website for a wealth of resources. If you are so motivated please subscribe to our Sunday letters, join the Real Friends book club, and listen to the weekly podcasts, all of these actions can make a significant impact. Whether it's just asking your grocery store for Real Organic Project labeled food, hosting a fundraiser, or organizing a screening party of our latest symposium, small changes and genuine activism can create a ripple effect - and it all starts with you. And, if you are so inclined to contribute - I'd be greatly appreciative!
I am also so grateful to my dedicated Co-directors, Linley Dixon and Dave Chapman, for providing me with the opportunity to grow within this vibrant community. Each day, I learn more about the challenges faced by farmers, and I focus on raising funds to propel our certification and educational programs forward. Working with our committed team and engaging with our community of donors and farm partners is a privilege. As we collectively strive for more integrity, equity, and transparency in our food system - I can't think of a more rewarding job.
Together, we can all champion a better food system with a guiding mantra that food is love!