Emily RalstonRural Food Security Coordinator

Originally from the Midwest, Emily grew up surrounded by large scale agriculture. Despite the ever-present feedlots and corn fields, she found joy in the process of growing food on a smaller scale with her mom in their community garden plot and in their backyard. The fondest memories in her childhood include strawberry rhubarb pie or cherry tomatoes. Leaving the Midwest, Emily was able to pursue her education in Oregon, where she studied Environmental Science and Biology at the University of Oregon in Eugene. In Eugene, she found community through the university’s community and urban gardens and working in a production kitchen as well as one of Eugenes’s many independent grocery stores. 

Interested in the intersection of agriculture and restoration, Emily worked seasonally as a field technician, which gave her the opportunity to live and work in many parts of the country. Living and working in rural parts of Montana, Kansas, Wyoming, and Oregon, Emily observed and experienced the lack of local and nutritious food options in smaller communities despite the connection to ranching and agriculture that defined many of the communities where she lived. This drew her back to food, where she hopes to connect with the rural communities in Central Oregon as HDFFA’s Rural Food Security Coordinator. 

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