ACORN has hired me, Stephanie Kukkonen, to be their Technical Project Coordinator in the Sackville office for the next nine months. I’m a University of Kings College Bachelor of Journalism with Honours graduate and I have experience in the field, as well as experience working on websites and networking with a number of people.
Aside from regular website updates and keeping on top of general office work, I will be working on various projects to help make ACORN more accessible to the general public and to encourage people to buy locally and organically.
At the beginning of October I started up an ACORN Facebook Fan Page. It’s a public page that anybody with a Facebook account can access and become a fan of. Once a person becomes a fan of the page they will receive updates from ACORN, see links to our website and our blog page and gain a better understanding of the benefits of eating locally and organically.
Another major project in the works is updating our Google Maps page. Here, anybody wishing to know where they can access locally grown organic products can find out with a simple click of a mouse. A map of Atlantic Canada pops up and a number of organic producers and retailers have their very own place and profile within the map. I am hoping to make the map even more accessible by designating which locations are farms, retailers, markets, etc by marking each type with a different symbol. That way, somebody searching for a retailer can click on a store or restaurant symbol and somebody searching for a farm can click on a farm symbol instead of aimlessly clicking their way through blue pins.
I’m hoping to also put some videos on how to plant organically and perhaps some video testimonials from members of ACORN. On the Facebook page, I am hoping that people start discussing and sharing ideas on how to eat locally and organically. Perhaps placing a recipe page and even adding a few pictures of some of the great local and organic food people have come across in their travels.
I look very forward to working at ACORN. Have a safe and happy harvest.
Hello, my name is Rosemary Murphy and I will be interning with ACORN for the next 9 months as the Education and Outreach Coordinator. I have been interested in organic food and growing for some time, and am very excited about this opportunity to get involved with the organic and sustainable foods movement here in Atlantic Canada. Although my studies were in the arts (I recently completed an MA in Philosophy at UVIC), I have volunteered on farms, worked in greenhouses, and, for a few years, served local and organic food and drinks in a small café I opened in my hometown of Antigonish, NS.
The ACORN projects I’ll be focusing on will include the Sustainable Farm Apprenticeship Program (our partner project with SOIL), which helps to link farmers and apprentices and offers wonderful opportunities for both – established farmers can benefit from the additional labour and enthusiasm, while the apprentices can learn directly from the farmer’s invaluable experience and their own hands-on involvement. I will also be helping to organize the fall workshop series on on-farm food processing. The development of value-added local food has multiple advantages – it can significantly increase a farm’s profitability, increase diversification and help to reduce our area’s reliance on imported foods. I will also be helping to coordinate volunteers for ACORN’s 10th Anniversary Organic Conference and Trade Show this March 4-6th in PEI, and helping out in the office with the newsletters and other communications.
I see a lot of opportunities to increase awareness and education around organic methods and issues by working with rural retailers, making sure our resources are accessible to their customers, and that the retailers themselves are familiar with what is available. Also, I hope we can expand our audience by making use of established local teaching tools, like community radio and rural publications, in conjunction with internet resources like this blog, youtube videos, and possibly podcasts.
I look forward to becoming much more familiar with the exciting work already being done in the region’s sustainable food community, and to learn what is needed to help it continue to grow. I look forward to meeting you over the course of my program!