10 Years, 10 Stories: Local Matters Staff

In celebration of Local Matters' 10th anniversary, we are taking some time to reflect. Where have we come from? Who has nurtured our growth? Where are we now? What will the future hold? These are questions we have asked ten friends of Local Matters - ten people who have truly shaped the organization to be what it is today. Today's story comes from conversations with Local Matters staff – the team that comes into work each day to bring food education, access, and advocacy to Central Ohio.

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For the final installment of our “10 Years, 10 Stories” project celebrating Local Matters’ tenth anniversary, we turned to our team. With just twenty staff members and AmeriCorps volunteers, the Local Matters team is responsible for strategizing, planning, fundraising for, and delivering six different programs, coordinating with over 100 partners, organizing over 200 volunteers, and advocating for positive change in our community.

The team is a highly motivated, energized group of change-makers who are shaping the next stage of Local Matters’ impact. Below is an abridged collection of quotes from the team as they reflect on Local Matters’ work over the past 10 years.

“Local Matters continues to amaze me because we engage with such a broad range of folks in our work, throughout the diverse communities that make up the rich fabric of Central Ohio. After joining the Local Matters team, I quickly learned that our work extends beyond the foundational “Food Matters” program. We also reach folks living with diabetes, women in recovery, the elderly, and so many more. The sheer number of touch points and community partners we work with is a source of regular inspiration for me.

“With food, anyone can encounter obstacles in making the healthy choice. Access to good, whole food, and acquiring the knowledge to make that food taste delicious is difficult! But through Local Matters programming, we can break down the systemic barriers and we do. We do this with the utmost authenticity.

“We know that change is difficult – both on a systematic and individual level. However, our participants inspire me every day with their enthusiasm and dedication to creating change for themselves and for their families. It warms my heart to interact with participants who share with me that with the help of Local Matters, they now only eat whole-wheat brown bread, or substitute sour cream with Greek yogurt. It’s these small, real changes that make such a difference.

“Local Matters’ spirit also inspires me. It is a spirit that’s caring, welcoming, collaborative, inquisitive, and celebratory. Our team is tireless and committed. We meet people where they are and give them the tools, knowledge, and resources to make a positive change in their lives. We invite them to join us on our collective journey to take back control of our food system. Whether it is incorporating more fruits and vegetables into daily meals, growing food, or both, we equip people with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to thrive. When I see people have that a-ha moment, it’s always inspiring.

“Local Matters is truly as wide-reaching and cohesive as our founders hoped and dreamed it could be. I always say Local Matters is a group of people - real people making real food, doing real work. Everyone here brings their passion, personality, and best effort to the table every day. When we all get together – Local Matters employees, interns, volunteers, and the community – we are a recipe for success!

“Oh, and I love moments when we spontaneously dance together, for joy, for celebration, or just for fun.”

-Maria Dellapina, Jack Farrell, Adam Fazio, Katie Hart, Jesse Hickman, Mary Hopmann, Monique McCoy, Sarah Miller, Michelle Moskowitz Brown, Will Petrik, Laura Robertson-Boyd, Korir Russell, Eli Sparks, Carrie Stratton, Tori Strickland, Jori Turner, Noreen Warnock, Diana Webster, Sarah Wharmby, Mark Zedella