Ohio State University Extension, Ashtabula County office has announced the hiring of Julie Wayman for the position of Community Development Educator. Wayman worked previously for the Extension part-time as the Local Food Coordinator. This new role will allow her to focus full-time on local food issues and expand beyond the county borders to build connections within the regional food system.
Wayman intends to focus her work on issues of food security, fresh food access, and agricultural education for students in grades K-12. Currently she serves on the Board of the My Neighborhood Collaborative, a non-profit organization that operates a large community garden, and she is a member of the Ashtabula Local Food Council, an ad hoc group that works on ways to address issues involving local food.
In her first year as an Educator, Wayman has plans to increase her community presence while getting to know food farmers in other regions including in the Amish communities. She hopes to build connections in the food system to promote the purchasing of food from local farms both at an individual and institutional level.
“Individual purchasing power is important,” states Wayman, “however to get to a point of economic viability and sustainability for small farms, we need to look at ways to engage institutions in the purchasing of local food.”
Born in Ashtabula, though raised in Pennsylvania, Wayman spent many hours of her childhood on her grandparent’s horse farm in Geneva. These hours, and the drives in between, gave her a deep appreciation of rural areas. She is grateful for the opportunity to serve her community and looks forward to helping to promote small farms.
She encourages anyone with ideas or enthusiasm for local food projects, including farmers she might not have met yet, to reach out to her at the Ashtabula County Extension Office 440-576-9008 or via email email@example.com.