January 12, 2011
Extension Associate, University of Missouri
Alumni, 2006 Public Policy Internship Program
Since completing the Public Policy Internship with Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, I successfully finished a Master’s Degree in Rural Sociology at the University of Missouri and began working for University of Missouri Extension. I currently work as an Extension Associate, providing resources and support in the areas of community based agriculture and community development, with a pilot project called the Healthy Lifestyle Initiative. My position has also allowed me the opportunity to write extension publications on the topics of starting and operating farmers’ markets, salesmanship for local food producers, and community gardening.
The Public Policy Internship raised my awareness of both the challenges and opportunities facing our efforts to create a more sustainable food system. The experience informs my extension work on a regular basis and enables me to place the local food issues I work on within the larger context of the national sustainable agriculture movement. The internship also connected me to a national network or growers and advocates, helped me learn about local and national resources available for supporting community food systems work, and increased my understanding of the policy process.
One other benefit of the internship is that it gave me the confidence to play a more active role in the food system. I feel a greater sense of responsibility for lending my voice to discussions concerning fairness and sustainability in food and farming. While I recognize that I still have much to learn, I see myself as a leader now and have a greater commitment to creating a food system that supports farmers, farm workers, the environment, the humane treatment of livestock, and, importantly, eaters.
Read about Bill’s voluntary simplicity lifestyle in his alma mater’s Mizzou Alumni Association Magazine.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of Missouri Extension
Healthy Lifestyle Initiative