Deep Impact: A Food Leader’s Story

by Natalie Kane & Hannah Kiger
Events & Outreach Interns


Sammi Kaufman (third from the left), is a 2015 Food Leadership Certificate Program (FLCP) graduate. She joined the FLCP after hearing about a friend’s experience in it. Little did she know that her own experience would impact her life so deeply and mold her future path.

Being a part of the program kindled her passion for socially and environmentally just and nutritious food systems, and she says it gave her the extra push she needed to incorporate thinking about the food system into every part of her life. She says, “I found that the things I was thinking about in the program were the things I wanted to be thinking about all the time.”

Sammi learned about more than just the food system. Through the weekend retreats, she found the time to relax and connect with like-minded people. “I’m the kind of person who’s always running from place to place,” she says. “The time I was able to spend at the weekend retreats was relaxing and helped me connect to something bigger than my day-to-day hustle.”

She also found great value in the Move Grass Classes, because the things she was learning deepened her relationships. She says, “I learned how to prune and care for fruit trees, knowledge I then used to prune my parents’ fruit trees. They loved that I learned how to do that. I was able to take what I learned and pass it on to someone else. It was very rewarding.”

Sammi’s food story didn’t end with her graduation from the program. She was starting her second year of graduate school when she finished the program, and her Food Leader Project has become her thesis. She says, “My project is a work in progress. I’ll be finishing my thesis this spring, and the work I’ve done has led me to pursue doctoral programs in Geography. I plan on using that to work in the food system for the rest of my life…So maybe by the end of my life I can say that I have finally completed the Food Leader Program!”

Check out Sammi’s blog all about dairy-free living, for delicious recipes (like the peach jam pictured below), reviews, and more!

Dairy Free State photo for blog(Photo Credit: Jesse Egan)

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