This month, BRWIA interviewed Natalie Foreman, who is a new member that joined BRWIA on the last day of 2018 as she was, "intent on wrapping up the year with positive momentum." We are proud to have Natalie on our team because of her enthusiasm and dedication to supporting social and environmental justice.
Natalie Foreman was born and raised in Colorado and loves living in mountain towns. A few of her favorite places she has called home are Glenwood Springs and Durango, Colorado, and New Paltz, New York. Boone, North Carolina, is right up there, of course, and she has lived in the area since 2001. This is the longest stretch Natalie has ever stayed in one place. She has been working as an editor for McFarland Publishers in Jefferson, NC for almost fifteen years. This summer McFarland will celebrate its 40th anniversary and they now publish over 300 nonfiction books per year on a wide variety of subjects. Working at McFarland seems to be a perfect fit for Natalie as an English major and a lifelong bibliovore.
What are some of your greatest accomplishments? What are your passions outside of work?
Having a close relationship with my thirteen-year-old daughter, Ava, is one of my most gratifying accomplishments. Right now our biggest challenge is trying to figure out reasonable boundaries around the use of digital media, which we have drastically different opinions about. We’re navigating the tricky terrain familiar to all parents, like determining how much time online is too much, and trying to find reasonable a balance between sheer entertainment and goal-oriented engagement. I feel pretty strongly that my daughter's generation has so much to bring to the table regarding the potential for using social media to advocate for change. I'm finding it may be more persuasive to lead by example than trying to compel her to take a stand.
In my free time I get outside as often as possible. I love hiking even more now that I’m accompanied by our new dog, Milo. He’s a lab/border collie mix and we both love exploring the woods. Milo is my first exposure to border collies and I’m in awe of his intelligence, speed and agility. Watching him run at full speed is to witness poetry in motion, something Ava points out that I’ve said at least 500 times in the month and a half that we’ve had him.
How long have you been a member of BRWIA?
I’m a new member with BRWIA. I signed up at the very end of 2018, on December 31st, intent on wrapping up the year with positive momentum.
How did you first hear about BRWIA?
BRWIA first came on my radar several years ago when I found out about their work at local schools with the “Lettuce Learn” gardening program. More recently, I was inspired to learn about their involvement in helping to establish seed libraries at the Ashe and Watauga County libraries. I’m impressed by such a practical, community-driven response to the corporate attempt to lay claim to the domain of seeds.
Why did you choose to become a BRWIA member?
I decided to become a member as a way to financially support BRWIA’s many awesome programs and to get more directly involved with my community. I’m particularly interested in becoming more actively involved in fighting hunger in this region. It’s unconscionable that people are going hungry in a country where food is regularly wasted in most homes and businesses, and I’m eager to be a part of BRWIA’s efforts to address that issue at a systemic level.
Would you encourage others to join BRWIA? What do you think BRWIA brings to the local community?
I would absolutely encourage everyone to support BRWIA. Gathering people to talk about food, whether at The Food Summit, or while dining at The Farm to Plate Dinner Series, gets people thinking about food in new and innovative ways. I love the spirit behind F.A.R.M Cafe, and I’m even more excited about F.A.R.M. Cafe’s Full Circle Program, which reroutes food that would have been wasted to being incorporated into meals and distributed to people who need it.
Do you have any favorite memories or stories associated with being a BRWIA member?
Being new to membership my memories and stories are yet to evolve, but will rely on my actively pursuing them. I look forward to regularly ordering some groceries from the Food Hub and to attending some of the Farm to Plate events. I love eating out in good restaurants and BRWIA has joined forces with some of the best in the area in this series.
Do you have any favorite/inspirational quotes that you would like featured in the article?
There is an optimistic quote attributed to the folk singer Pete Seeger that sums up the motivating force that prompted me to get involved with wonderful local organizations like BRWIA and Appalachian Voices, both of which are making steady inroads toward resolving the most significant issues of social and environmental justice in this region:
“Participation - that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
The work of BRWIA offers such comfort. Their efforts and accomplishments make this world seem like a more sane place populated by decent, caring individuals.
Ava, Milo and Natalie Foreman