Admittedly, I am an apprentice to the food policy world. My professional background is law, financial regulation, policy and credit unions.
That said, I am a farm girl at heart. During my adolescence and young adulthood, Monday through Friday was spent in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Every weekend, though, was spent on my parents’ seaside farm on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Virginia. I discovered the seasons of the marsh. I learned the migration patterns of waterfowl and warblers. And, thanks to my dad and my adopted grandpa, Raymond Guy, I learned how to grow my own food.
Each Spring, I would eagerly anticipate the ritual of turning over the soil to prepare it for that year’s garden. Invariably, as I weeded and worked the soil I would find small, perfect fan feathers in iridescent blue shed by our roaming peacock flock. The feel of the sun-warmed soil was — and still is — complete bliss.
The songs of nature throughout the seasons — spring peeper frogs, a Great Horned Owl, the elusive Chuck Will’s Widow, a “cranky” (the Eastern Shore term for a Great Blue Heron), and then snow and Canada geese tolling the change of season to Fall and Winter — all created an awe-filled appreciation within me for nature’s fragility and ability.
I carry those experiences of youth with me now and as often as life allows return to that pristine little farm on the Shore.
I’ve slowly come to realize, though, that most kids today have never had the chance to grow their own food. They may not realize where a carrot comes from. That connection to the land and its possibilities to sustain us has diminished to the barest thread. It is this realization that sparked my interest in food policy.
Specifically, I want to explore what the food issues are for the Washington, D.C. area. How is hunger related to food banks and food pantries? What is being done to help kids understand about growing food and food production? How does the supply of fresh, local food affect all of the residents of my corner of Fairfax County, VA?
The blog posts that follow explore issues as they present themselves to me. They are meant to spur productive conversation about how we establish a food system that is healthy and sustainable into the future.