Your Name: Sally Rausch
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
NYAB Term(s): 2008-2009, 2009-2010
Update us! What has happened to you since you last served on the NYAB?Wow, a lot has happened. I left home in Columbia, SC and headed to college at Washington University in St. Louis fired up about social justice and specifically the way our current food system perpetuates hunger and poverty. Since then I've been to India for a bit, Massachusetts, and I'm now currently living in Nashville, TN.
What are you doing now?During and after college, I worked at a college access and persistent non-profit in St. Louis. College Bound provides under-resourced students with the academic and social support to get to and through college, and there I really began to see in practice all that I had been learning in school. Poverty has no single or simple solution. The systems that structure and inform our daily lives are intertwined in complex ways, and I finally saw the real, urgent necessity to address these issues from a systems-level approach. For example, by addressing education, we were working to break the cycle of generational poverty.
From there, I went on to work for Heifer International on their educational farm in central Massachusetts. Gaining an understanding of what it truly looks like to grow sustainable food, I not only learned that working in the soil brings me incredible joy, but that food can be used as a tool for change. Food is a uniter - we all need it, and when we have the opportunity to share a a meal with others, people different from us, we also have the opportunity to bridge those gaps in meaningful ways.
That desire to use food for community change ultimately led me to Nashville, TN, where I currently coordinate and facilitate urban agriculture educational programming to New American students - populations with high incidence of food insecurity.
How would you say serving on the NYAB influenced your life?The threads of NYAB are evident to me throughout my journey after high school. What has resonated most with me long after my time on NYAB has been the power and impact that people, especially young people, have to make change in their communities. It takes confronting need, challenging assumptions, and having difficult conversations, things that are often not glamorous and most definitely not easy, but it is possible. It might only be $1 in the soup pot or 1 can collected on Game Day, or it might be the relationships like those made on NYAB and the inspiration they spurred to continue to work for the betterment of our communities, but it is all powerful and most definitely impactful.
Anything you would like to tell future NYAB members?Dig into your communities, ask hard questions of yourselves and each other, and have so much fun.
Final thoughts?We may be young, but we have the power for tremendous impact. If you are ever unsure, take a look around at your fellow NYABers - I bet it'll change your mind.