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Staff Spotlight: Rosemary Martin, Sr. Community Engagement Manager

Rosie joined the Washington Farmland Trust team as Senior Community Engagement Manager in July. Here’s Rosie…

Tell us about yourself.

I am Iñupiaq and Black, originally from Tikigaq, a small village in the Northwest of Alaska, where my people have lived off the land and sea since time immemorial. I bring more than a decade of experience in equity-focused community development and advocacy to my role at the Trust. Throughout my life, my professional, volunteer, and personal work has included supporting BIPOC communities through workshops, programs, and partnerships focused on capacity building, leadership development, storytelling, and community and economic development. Also, I love just about anything related to coffee and cooking.

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

As a kid, I spent summers with my family camping, fishing, clam digging, hiking, berry picking, and being out in nature. This is where I grew a love for the land. As a Black and Indigenous woman, I have been blessed with the values of sustainability, preserving traditional knowledge, and considering how my decisions will impact generations to come. This wisdom has been passed down to me through the leaders in my community — my mentors — and has largely influenced my work to empower and support Indigenous communities in preserving culture, traditional knowledge (specifically food preparation and uses), and securing access to local food sources. I’m excited to continue to support BIPOC communities by creating safe and inclusive spaces in conservation, stewardship, and land access through my work at the Trust.

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

Throughout my life, I have actively participated in various forms of Community Engagement, but it was often only thought of as a side or passion project to my core duties. In past jobs, I’ve had to advocate, secure resources, find partners, and build momentum for others to join in my engagement efforts with limited to no support, often making it feel like an uphill battle. In joining the Trust, I am so glad to have found an organization where Community Engagement is not just a side project, but a strategic focus of the work and central to achieving its mission. I’m excited to see how I can work with my colleagues to build and grow a community that supports a sustainable future for farming in Washington.

What is your hope for the future of farming in Washington?

My hope for the future of farming is that our knowledge, perception, and approach to food and farming systems can become more integrated and holistic. I would love to see people who have different racial, social, economic, and cultural backgrounds come together to learn from each other in this space, because a holistic approach to how we source and build community around food should include everyone. I would love for more people to know not just where their food comes from but to have a deep relationship with the land and the history of food and agriculture in their community — that is something that I grew up with that I cherish greatly.  

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I love connecting with people. I welcome those who are interested in learning more about our growing Community Engagement program, including how to get involved, volunteer, or partner with us, to send me an email at rmartin@wafarmlandtrust.org.

Pictured above: Rosie takes in the natural beauty along the Alaska Canada Highway as a little girl with her father and aunt.

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