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2011-2012 Regional Field Organizers

 
Kimberly Roland, Midwest Field Organizer
St. Mary's College
 
Kimberly Roland is a native Phoenician but decided to leave the beautiful state of Arizona to explore a new region of the United States during her college years.  This quest has taken her to the Midwest, more specifically South Bend, Indiana where she is a senior at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame.  Kimberly's passion for cooking and all things food has existed since she was a child. She aspired to be a chef her entire life, and then in high school her eyes were opened up to the world of politics and international relations as she traveled abroad and served on the Governor's Youth Commission.  She decided to affectionately put culinary school on the back burner and pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Humanistic studies, with a minor in Italian.  Having spent her sophomore year living and studying in Rome, Kimberly's passion for food and interest in food justice and sustainability piqued. She is a passionate proponent of Terra Madre and everything the Slow Food movement stands for. Her dream job is to work for the United Nations World Food Program in Rome, Italy, and to pursue graduate studies in government or law. In the meantime she encourages all of you to get pumped about bringing more real food to your campus, and implores you to play Free Rice whenever you are bored. Finally, she would like to remind you: Midwest=The BEST! <kimberly@realfoodchallenge.org>

 
 
Janani Balasubramanian, Northern California Field Organizer
Stanford University
 
A transplant from Bangalore, India, Janani self-identifies as "intense." She also identifies as a queer South Asian, a vegan, a runner, and a radical.  Janani is double majoring in Atmosphere/Energy Engineering and Feminist Studies (with a concentration in food), and pursuing a master's in engineering as well.  Working with Stanford's Sustainable Food Program and as the student government Chair of Food, she strives for a coalitional food movement rooted in anti-racism and anti-classism.  In her free-est time she likes to vogue (ask her about it), slam (ask about that too), climb fruit trees, and liberate. <janani@realfoodchallenge.org>

 
Matt Wyatt, Southeast Field Organizer
Louisiana State University 
 
Raised in the cypress swamps of south Louisiana, Matt Wyatt is a dork for activism and all-things nature.  While much of his time is split between studying ecology at Louisiana State University and organizing with other college youth, he also is known to dabble in photography, bicycle maintenance, falconry, kayaking, Zen Buddhism, and swing dancing.  His progression as an organizer for his campus environmental group, Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), to his state network and nationally with the Sierra Student Coalition (SSC) led him to the Real Food Challenge, focusing on how to better empower and support rising activists to build a stronger food movement throughout the southeast.  To achieve this goal, he puts lots of faith in the deep south's strong food culture and endless ice-breaker games and energizers, for example, sweet potato pancakes and 'ninja,' respectively. <matt@realfoodchallenge.org>

 
 
 
Sarah Acuff, Southeast Field Organizer
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
 
A tarheel born and bred, Sarah looks back to her grandmother's vegetable garden as her first foray into food activism. Now, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in global studies and political science, Sarah goes back to those roots by working in a community garden for low-wage university workers, making friends with people who cook, and talking about food as fundamental to life. During her summers, she spends as much time outdoors teaching kids to rockclimb. Her dream job would be to reform USAID and promote diplomacy through sustainable agriculture. She's particularly interested by international food policy, community food identities, and urban agriculture. If she has any free time, she'd be found drawing mental maps, doing yoga/biking, cooking with bay leaves, trying to speak French, or drinking copious amounts of (locally roasted, fair-trade) coffee. <sarah@realfoodchallenge.org>

 
Jesse Yurow, Northeast Field Organizer
Boston, MA
 
Jesse is a proud native of the Chesapeake bioregion.  As a student activist/organizer at the University of Maryland, College Park, he fought to save the trees, democratize the University, abolish landlords, and leverage the University to change the food system. Somehow between founding a student housing co-operative and coordinating an on campus urban farm, Jesse earned a bachelor’s degree in ecological design.  Now, from his new home base in the Charles River Watershed, Jesse is excited to empower students in the Northeast to embrace their inner rock star-super hero and build power to create a just and sustainable food system.  Apart from subverting the dominant paradigms of our food system, Jesse enjoys irreverent skewering of pop culture, bicycle-powered everything, and fermenting the revolution. <jesse@realfoodchallenge.org>

Erin O'Donnell, Northeast Field Organizer
 
Wesleyan University
 
Originally from New York City, Erin grew up tending cherry tomatoes and snap peas in the window-boxes of her family’s tiny apartment, and she’s has been hooked on food ever since.  Now a fourth-year student at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, Erin studies Environmental Science and Latin American Studies.  When not working with RFC, she can be found caring for the veggies at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm, transforming fossil-fuel-intensive grass into food-producing meadows and orchards with Wesleyan’s WILDWes, and biking around town.  In addition to her passion for making real food an affordable reality for all, Erin’s other interests include: off-the-grid architecture, regenerative permaculture design, bicyclist rights and the complete streets movement, and the future of cooperative urban homesteading! <erin@realfoodchallenge.org>