Tina White: Elk Run Farm’s Program Coordinator, AmeriCorps VISTA Year 3
Tina is a passionate advocate for a just and sustainable food system that nourishes the individual, our communities, our food producers and the earth.
Her love for food began during her childhood through good ol’ Mom’s (and Grandma’s) cooking. She grew up on the southern island of Okinawa, Japan where, like many islands, much of the food available was locally produced and was one aspect of a distinct cultural identity. Not only does she think Okinawan cuisine is the most delicious thing in the world, it gives her a strong and tangible link to her Okinawan roots and family.
At 18, Tina moved to Seattle excited to start college at the University of Washington and to really explore her Washingtonian roots for the first time. She studied communication and fine arts while also learning about the Washington food system in the context of the larger American food system. Through college classes and her involvement with Husky Real Food Challenge (HRFC), she found that it needed a lot of work. Food is what connects her so closely to her culture and she wanted to feel the same cultural pride for Washington. So she got to work.
With HRFC, she worked to organize students, faculty and administration around a policy to bring more ‘real food’ (local, fair, humane and ecologically sound) on campus while also conducting a university food audit with her team members to see how much real food UW already sourced. Upon graduation, Tina decided to continue working with the local food system. She joined the Mercer Island Farmers Market helping the market manager build a stronger, more direct connection between consumers, food producers and farmers in WA state for two seasons. Now at Elk Run Farm, she is excited to learn more about the emergency food system and how to best support the communities most vulnerable to food insecurity and poverty in South King County.
Tina is inspired by community storytelling and the resiliency of the producers in our food system. As the last VISTA working with Elk Run Farm, she hopes to bring sustainability to the programs that Jessica and Maggie (former VISTAs) helped to implement and to support Elk Run Farm in its first steps in youth development.
Contact Tina at firstname.lastname@example.org on how to be involved at the farm, any burning questions about food justice and the best farmers market stands in King County (in her opinion).