How are you working for healthy food for all and thriving communities in New England?
I grew up on an organic farm in mid-coast Maine. In the mid-90’s, as family farms in my community were shutting down, including our own, I realized how important it was for society to recognize the benefits small-scale farming had on the community, the environment, and the economy. I studied agriculture as an undergraduate and traveled globally to compare industrial and sustainable farming practices. I obtained my Masters in Public Health with a focus on child malnutrition and sustainable agriculture solutions in Haiti.
After college, I went back to my roots and began working at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) under Russell Libby’s leadership. Since MOFGA, I've taught nutrition education to low-income Mainers, served on community food councils, farm to school work-groups, and have been selected as a Maine delegate to the New England Food Summit in 2014 and 2015. I currently work as an agriculture and food policy staffer for Congresswoman Chellie Pingree of Maine’s first district.
What successes and challenges do you see in your work to achieving the Vision of “50 by 60” with racial equity and social justice, healthy food for all, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities?
One of the successes - and challenges - is that we are all in this together and come to the table with our own perspectives. Whether you're a farmer, fishermen, legislator, or work for a nonprofit, everyone's voice brings valuable perspective to building a sustainable food system. Sometimes the conversations get messy or sidetracked, but the end result is a collaborative effort reflecting all communities and their needs. Regionally I think we are on a great path.
Are you using the Vision in your work?
Absolutely. The New England Food Vision is a tangible document that helps me tell the story of regional partnerships in New England and Maine. And this is especially important when working with groups outside of these efforts.
Emily Horton at the launch of the first ever mobile farmers market in Maine, the Good Food Bus.