As the Farm to Institution Educator, Meghan works with regional institutions including K-12 public schools, hospitals, senior meal sites, colleges and universities, and correctional facilities to begin or advance their local food purchasing and educational curriculum. These programs are multi-faceted and each institution can choose how to create a program that best fits their needs. Most often her job consists of three main roles; facilitating connections between institutions and local farmers with a goal of increasing the amount of local food in meal programs, assisting schools in establishing and maintaining successful school gardens, and teaching curriculum in the classroom related to local food and agriculture. She also works to create and implement the Harvest of the Month program, which is a program highlighting a different local product each month that is featured in three ways; highlighted as a special on the menu that month, taste tested by students in schools, and through hands-on activities and classroom lessons. Working with farmers to expand their markets, getting local food into the mouths of Essex County residents, and teaching students about local food and agriculture has been incredibly rewarding and a great joy for Meghan.
In this role Meghan also works with a number of local non-profits in their shared goal to increase availability of locally grown foods in institutions. She’s assisted in successful grant-writing to help expand these regional programs and has seen significant increases in participation since bringing this program to CCE Essex. She also works with state agencies to share her knowledge and experiences while advocating to increase Farm to School opportunities across New York.
Meghan holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a M.S. in Food Systems from the University of Vermont. With experience in environmental policy, community planning and rural food access, Meghan found Essex County to be the perfect place to apply her skills after graduate school. In past positions she created public programs on educational farms, lead a value-added food production business, and solved distribution challenges for farms and food businesses. Meghan loves meeting new farmers and exploring Essex County's local food system.