Meet Essie, our Farm to Table Coordinator!

Hi there Buffalo!

What happens when a gardener and an environmental engineer get together and have a kid? Me, that’s what!

I grew up recycling, helping my mom in the garden and listening to my dad talk about groundwater contamination. At our home in Boston, my mom had a four-foot-by-four-foot patch of soil from which she coaxed a rainbow of flowers, and when we moved from Boston to southwestern Pennsylvania she breathed a sigh of relief and put in a veggie garden. My mom fed us a lot of vegetables. As a wee child I wasn’t too keen on vegetarian lasagna, but as a teen going on young adult, I realized veggies have amazing flavors and benefits. I was converted as soon as I tasted my first juicy, sweet, sun-ripened tomato from our garden in PA.

I’m hooked on veggies. Some of my favorites are beets, sugar snap peas, and sweet potatoes. If you can’t tell, I have a bit of a sweet tooth and I think one of the best drinks in the world is a smoothie made with spinach, frozen banana, almond milk and cocoa powder. I dare you to try it.

 I went to Houghton College and graduated in May. As a student, I helped lead Houghton’s environmental club to greater permanence and presence on campus. We generated the idea for our class senior gift which was an apple orchard planted on campus.

In New Zealand I hiked to the top of Mt. Fyffe in Kaikoura.

Senior year I spent a semester at the Creation Care Study Program in New Zealand where I fully realized how vital urban farms are to countering global warming and increasing food security. Small, local farms bring nutritious foods to their communities making it easier to eat healthy. I believe that healthy eating should not only be affordable for rich people, but for anyone.

I never thought I would live in Buffalo but when a friend of mine told me about a position she had with MAP it sounded like something I would enjoy and really care about. My position at MAP is the Farm-to-Table Coordinator which means that on Fridays I’m queen of the kitchen as I work with our youth to prepare a meal featuring ingredients from the Youth Garden and MAP’s Mobile Market. Thankfully, I love to cook. As the summer program kicks off am excited to work with youth and hope to get some of them to fall in love with veggies too.

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