As our 2021-2022 AmeriCorps VISTA Rachel Brunot’s service year has drawn to a close, we have asked her to reflect on her year & share her future plans with us.
“I have really enjoyed my year in Athens working with ACEnet. Though I am sad to be leaving, I’m also excited for my next steps. Working at ACEnet has cultivated my passion for local food and sustainable agriculture. I hope to continue cultivating these interests in the Dayton, Ohio area, where I am moving at the end of this week. I am currently seeking a job at a nonprofit that works in these areas, and I am also interested in working for or volunteering with local regenerative farms.
My favorite project from this year is a tie between my work with the Athens Farmers Market and the podcast Root to Seed. Working with the Athens Farmers Market as the chair of the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee has been one of the most rewarding experiences. Back in November I began coordinating and leading biweekly meetings for a team of market staff and vendors to plan special events and promotions for the 50th anniversary season. This past Saturday (June 4) was the culmination of these efforts as we launched the 50th anniversary with a kickoff celebration. It was great to see a lot of the events that I helped plan come to fruition, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings.
I have also really enjoyed re-booting the Root to Seed podcast. I wanted a chance to talk to local farmers and entrepreneurs about their work, mainly for selfish reasons because I like meeting new people and I’m interested in learning more about the local food economy in Athens. The podcast was the perfect chance for me to do that. I worked with a few different people, including Zach, the previous Community Food Initiatives VISTA, and Devra, the Food Access Partners Coordinator at ACEnet, to develop the podcast and eventually implement it. I am happy to say that we have recorded and released three great episodes, and I am spending my last day recording a final episode before I leave!
There is a lot that I will miss about ACEnet and Athens. I love the collaborative and supportive environment at ACEnet and in the rest of our network. I have worked most closely with my supervisor Leslie and my office-mate/podcast co-host Devra. Leslie is a really supportive mentor who is always there to ask for help and guidance, though she always gave me the opportunity to follow my interests and trusted me to figure things out my way. Devra has been super fun to work with and we really get along well and make a great team on all of our projects. I feel the same about everyone at ACEnet – it is a very flexible and supportive environment where we are all passionate and have the autonomy to follow our interests.
Overall, I hope this isn’t a forever goodbye to Athens. I have loved living here for the past year and I hope to be back someday. Until then, thanks to everyone who made this a great home!”
We’re going to miss Rachel & we wish her the best. If you want to check out some of the work Rachel has accomplished: https://acenetworks.org/community-updates/americorps-week-2022/