Food has long been considered, among many things, a mechanism of creative expression designed to bring people together. Graduate student AJ Courtney ’23 is passionate about the important relationship between farming and communities. They are halfway done with a degree of Community Planning & Sustainable Development, and Certificate of Graduate Study Food Studies. AJ has a background in community programming, health education, and small-scale farming & gardening. They are excited to use their knowledge and experience to strengthen local food systems and build a stronger sense of community around food and farming. Through their internship with the Cumberland County Food Security Council, AJ is already working on how to bridge supply gaps and solve systemic barriers in the Maine-based production and sale of high quality halal meat.
AJ’s advice to their fellow students starting their college experience: Don’t waste time worrying about what you think you should be doing with your professional life. Instead, chase after the things you want to be doing, the things that feel meaningful and make you happy. It’s okay if you can’t name those things right now. Just follow what fills you up and you’ll find your way.