(Part of an informal blog series on the people who make Sonic Foundry tick. See more stories here.)
But not so fast, you need to add one more thing to that list: A gardener, both at home and in the community.
“I’ve always been a gardener. It’s relaxing for me and I just feel good that I’m eating healthy food,” Kristin said.
For the past 10 years, Kristin has been volunteering with the Madison Area Food Pantry Gardens (MAFPG), a local non-profit group that provides freshly-grown local produce to people in need. From spring to fall, Kristin and many other volunteers share their time to plant, tend and harvest five local gardens, producing more than 100,000 pounds of fresh produce each year. All the harvested veggies are delivered directly to area food pantries and meal programs. (Check out this recent article in Edible Madison featuring Kristin.)
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 12 percent — more than 60,000 people — in Dane County (where Madison, Wis. is located) are living below the poverty line.
“Many people don’t have access to fresh produce or healthy food for that matter. I don’t feel that financial situations should limit anyone’s available food choices,” Kristin said.
This time of year — harvest time — is always the best for Kristin, who currently volunteers at the Hershberger North Garden. “My favorite moment is when you’re at one of the harvesting events, usually taking place July through September. You’re out in the garden with several people and after about an hour you’ve filled the back of two trucks with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and lots of other fresh produce. You think, ‘Wow, we did that,’ ” Kristin said. “It’s gratifying that we can have such a big impact.”
Kristin is putting her marketing talents to good use with MAFPG as she sits on the board of directors and public relations committee. Their mission: to raise awareness about the gardens and how people can help.
If you’re in the Madison area this weekend, she’s inviting you to check out what it’s all about during Garden Days, put on by the Community Action Coalition (CAC) for South Central Wisconsin, Inc. The annual event celebrates community and food pantry gardens with events for the whole family. Tour one or all of the gardens. Learn more here.
“Some people are scared of gardening. It seems like it’s difficult,” she said. “But Garden Days will give you a glimpse into how you can produce your own food very easily and how to improve your health, as well as your community’s health.”