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The Future Farmer You Would Have Met at Expo West

by Shawna Rodgers |

Typically, Natural Products Expo West follow-up happens mid-March, with connections blossoming in the springtime and coming to fruition later in the summer. In February, the CCOF Foundation team was excited to travel to attend Climate Day at Expo West and co-host a lovely cocktail hour in partnership with the UNFI Foundation. While we never got to host our event in Anaheim, we regret more that we never got to introduce one of our very special Future Organic Farmer grant recipients, Katie Doonan.

Doonan hoped to meet you all, too, and especially those of you who work for businesses that support her dreams of studying organic agriculture. That’s why we want to share her story here. We hope her story will inspire you to continue investing in the future organic farmers who, like she, are working tirelessly to get the education necessary to become successful organic professionals.

Without further ado, please meet Katie Doonan:

“As a recent graduate of Washington State University with a double degree in Organic & Sustainable Agriculture and Basic Medical Science, I can see how closely our food system and our healthcare system must interact to be successful. My goal is to align food production with preventative healthcare in order to reduce the burden on both human health and the health of our natural resources. Eventually, I hope to run my own research farm that addresses both market and crop diversity, as well as soil impacts in areas like eastern California. As a thirteenth-generation farmer that grew up on a ranch in eastern California, I am dedicated to preserving our resources and the rural way of life. CCOF’s work closely aligns with my mission of protecting our shared resources through sound agricultural practices, intentional land stewardship, and increasing the accessibility to healthy foods throughout communities in California and the West Coast. While access to land in California is especially difficult for young farmers, I am incredibly grateful to organizations like CCOF and their generous partners for ensuring that I can obtain an education and put more resources toward future land ownership and stewardship. Supporting our young farmers is essential to the sustainability of the industry, and supporting education within agricultural sustainability allows us to work toward improvements in the future.”

Stay tuned for future opportunities to connect with CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmers at upcoming virtual events. Donate today to support future organic farmers. Reach out to CCOF Foundation’s associate manager of donor relations, Shawna Rodgers, with any questions at