Hi Everyone, Claire here. I thought it would be a good idea to tell y'all my Food System Coalition story, so here it is...enjoy!
I first found the SLO Food System Coalition (FSC) from an internet search in Summer 2018 by typing ‘sustainable food system slo county’. Wanting to return to SLO County and get involved in the food system, I was thrilled to find the group, and planned a special trip from where I was living in Santa Barbara to attend a meeting in Fall 2018. I got the sense that the group would be a good place to start networking.
I was right! At that first meeting I met the then committee chair, Andrea Keisler, got on the newsletter list and got connected to the network.
Fast forward to July 2019, having another meeting under my belt, I approached Andrea with an inquiry of any part time work in the food system. It just so happened that the then coordinator of the group was looking to step back. Thus, I became the coordinator for the FSC in August 2019, which was a great pairing to the Sustainable Food Systems masters degree I was working on (see me studying away al fresco below)!
After finishing my graduate work in August 202, the FSC also launched me into my second career. It connected me to Slow Money SLO, and I am now the Communications Director and Farm to School Coordinator for the nonprofit.
I remain the volunteer coordinator for the FSC because this work is meaningful to me, and I understand the value of it for our county.
I see the FSC as the nexus for our local food system. It brings agencies, organizations, and individuals together, providing space for connections to be made. Then, the phenomenal folks in our food system go together to do great work, addressing the challenges they see in equity, sustainability, health, economic vitality, etc.! I am excited to see where this work will lead!