“I consider myself a lucky one. Growing up in a community surrounded by failing food systems, my family never went without fresh produce because of my Granny’s garden.” Hailing from the rural South, Hannah grew up alongside industrial agriculture, where farmers produce large quantities of a single product, then sell it to companies for processing and distribution worldwide. “It was tough, watching our grocery stores and small businesses shut down or get bought out. The irony is, we were an agricultural community full of farmers! So where was the food?” Each summer, Hannah and her sister would spend most of their time with Granny; they learned to garden, shell peas, crack pecans, cook, can, process corn, freeze what needed to be frozen. “Granny taught us 2 life lessons: 1) Don’t you dare waste a thing, and 2) If you want to do something, you better teach yourself how to do it. That woman had grit.”
When Hannah first moved to Lane County, she thought she’d be here for 4 months. “I came to study birds for the summer. I’m still here, 5 years later, because of the food. I’d never seen a food system like this one in the Willamette Valley! Multiple small-scale farmers working sustainably and responsibly, growing diverse crops and trying to keep it in the community. There’s so much hope, so much potential for great food systems to flourish here. I’m beyond grateful to finally be a part of that network.” Hannah hopes to expand secure food systems to rural communities across Lane County and beyond, focusing her attention on fresh, local produce.