Fellow from 2018 to 2019, based in San Francisco
Bon Appétit campus attended: Oberlin College
Current job: On sabbatical, farming in Europe right now (olives in Spain and dairy in France).
Skill/wisdom you gained from the Fellowship: The ability to do “cold call” outreach, thanks to all the student groups and professors I contacted for campus visits.
Memorable experience as a Fellow: Bon Appétit at Oberlin College, my alma mater, hires dozens of part-time student workers to work in the dining halls. Back in college I was one of them, washing pots and dishes in Afrikan Heritage House and managing a cashier in Decafé. I enjoyed these jobs and made many friends during those shifts, but I always felt the work contributed something more to my Oberlin experience, something I could feel but didn’t know how to express to my peers.
When I returned to Oberlin for a Fellow visit in spring 2019, more than 100 student workers participated in a series of workshops I organized on the value of their work experiences. I was reminded of my Oberlin years while listening to current students talk about their jobs, their likes and dislikes and aspirations; to create space for student-workers to express their perspectives, and especially the pride they take in their jobs, made me feel like I had completed a circle.
Advice for current food-activist students: Food systems are everywhere, a constant link between the natural world and our human-made one. This makes food-focused change a worthy endeavor with broad potential for positive impact. Successful food activism demands a holistic understanding of food systems, which often requires working with people with different expertise. Science, business, and social justice can do more to influence food systems when applied together.
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