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Staff Spotlight: Emily Trabolsi, Farm to Farmer Coordinator (Statewide)

Emily brings nearly a decade of experience working on local farms and at farmers markets to her role as Statewide Coordinator of the Trust’s Farm to Farmer program. Emily is passionate about uplifting local producers, strengthening the food system, and creating access to community resources for the “forseedable” future. Prior to joining the Trust, Emily served as a Retail Sales Coordinator for Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center, where she spent time implementing creative and sustainable land management strategies and cultivating a diverse and prolific network of good food advocates working to re-define our relationship with seasonal food. Emily received her BA in Environmental Education, Agroecology, and Sustainable Agriculture from Western Washington University. Outside of farming, Emily loves backpacking and hiking in the great outdoors, voraciously reading, laughing, cold water swimming, and cooking meals with family and friends. Here’s Emily…

Tell us about yourself.

I am Filipina and Hawaiian American and was born and raised in Seattle. I’ve often been described as bright, energetic, and personable, and one of my most identifying characteristics is my laugh (regulars at the farmers market can often identify me just from the sound of it). I pride myself on my desire to learn, be engaged, and serve as a positive influence in my community, both professionally and recreationally. Swimming is my favorite activity and I spend a lot of time outdoors, but I balance that with a love for snuggling with animals, reading, and binge watching TV. I’m a snack enthusiast and in addition to being a farmer, see myself as a farm “hype woman,” bringing invigoration and energy to the complex systems of food and agriculture. 

Tell us why you care about local food and farming issues.

Our connection to our food producers and our food in general are woefully separate these days. There is a lost history in agriculture that isn’t widely discussed, which is that agrarian practices all originate with Brown and Black people. There used to be such a symbiotic connection between our lives, our food, and our place on this planet. I hope to see more of a resurgence in that connection to the land, the pure joy that people can get from growing their own food and knowing where it comes from. I care deeply about creating access points to local food, and shining a light on the labor of agricultural workers. 

What are you most excited about working on at the organization?

I am so excited to know that “statewide” is in my title and that I have the opportunity to build relationships, connect people with resources, and facilitate partnerships that haven’t been explored before. I love relationship building and learning from people, and there is so much to learn from food growers across our state, especially east of the Cascades. I’m excited to play a facilitation role and learn about the unique challenges that farmers face across different geographies. 

What is your favorite book or film about food and farming? 

Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement by Monica M. White is a perfect synopsis of how African American folks like Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, and Fanny Lou Harris came to this country and built up the organic food movement with little to no national recognition. 

Rebuilding the Foodshed: How to Create Local, Sustainable, and Secure Food Systems by Philip Ackerman-Leist breaks down the hot button issues in food and agriculture, what solutions have been applied, and how we can lean on Indigineous wisdom to fill in the gaps. It’s a great lesson in re-educating yourself about history, connecting the dots, and staying curious.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’m an open book, always happy to chat about farming, so hit me up!