Emily Jackson

Emily Jackson
Location: Asheville, North Carolina Cohort Start Year: 2017 Project Topic: Food Systems and Nutrition Populations Served: Children and Families, Low-Income Communities, Rural Communities
Program Director
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project

I have lived my whole life in western North Carolina, in the mountains of Appalachia, and I cherish my home and community. It is the land of old-time music, a rich agricultural heritage, burley tobacco, and moonshine. It’s a place of extremes—extreme beauty but extreme isolation, richness in flora and fauna but a lack of necessary economic opportunities. Increasing the number and quality of early childhood education programs is a solution to improve the Culture of Health in western North Carolina. By giving them the best early childhood experiences possible, we are setting children on a course to become active citizens and healthy individuals.

Whether as a teacher, as a domestic violence advocate, or in my current role in farm-to-school activities, I have deepened my understanding of the needs of rural people and the challenges they face. I also see the strengths of rural places and know how to bring people together for the common good. I have learned to be a good listener and an honest communicator. I speak the language of rural Appalachia.

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