Originally from the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C., Allie found her love for sustainable agriculture while studying Environmental Science and Policy at the College of William & Mary. While in college, she organized the first annual Student’s Day at the Williamsburg Farmers' Market in addition to working on Dayspring Farm in King & Queens County. After graduating in the Spring of 2015, Allie volunteered on a farm in France through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and then spent the rest of her summer exploring Europe and Israel. Allie loves sharing food with others, hanging out with kids, getting her hands dirty, working outside, and exploring new cultures. She is passionate about helping people understand the connection between their food, health and environment and hopes to continue the development of environmentally conscious food systems.
What does your role with Rogue Valley Farm to School involve?
I am the AmeriCorps Service Member Tasting Table Coordinator at RVF2S which means I am in charge of making sure our tasting table program is running smoothly. This includes coordinating with farmers to procure the produce that the children will be tasting, working with food service staff in Ashland, Central Point, and Medford, creating recipes and educational materials for students, organizing volunteers, and being at every tasting table and food prep that we offer.
What made you want to be involved with children’s health & local food issues?
I have always been passionate about environmental issues and I have been very engaged with what I eat since I was diagnosed with celiac disease 10 years ago. In my college Sustainable Agriculture class I became very passionate about teaching my peers that understanding where your food comes from is a great way to understanding and limiting your environmental impact. When I read the book Reclaiming Our Food by Tanya Denckla Cobb I was moved by the examples she gave of community empowerment through teaching kids about food and was convinced to get involved at the highest degree.
You must encounter some interesting responses from children to the programs. Any stand out experiences you would like to share?
I always love it when I can convince a skeptical child to try a new food for the first time. Sometimes they absolutely love it but there are the occasional kids who have to spit it up immediately. Either way they are trying something healthy, local, and new so that's a win for me!
Have you noticed any particular favorites at the Tasting Tables?
Kids all over the Rogue Valley are still talking about the kale chips from last year. They will be returning to cafeterias in April but until then they're going to have to stick with winter squash, pears, and beets!
How do you see your work impacting the community?
Every time I engage with a child about food I know I am helping to build a healthier happier community. I believe I am planting the seed for future consumers who will make sure to buy locally or future farmers who will respect the environment.
How can others get involved?
You can get involved by volunteering with me at Tasting Table programs! We always need more hands to help with food prep and at tasting tables especially in Central Point and Medford. You can check out our online volunteer calendar to signup for days that work for you.
Visit our Volunteer page for more information about our programs and how you can get involved.