Staff Spotlight: Steph Wang, Administrative Assistant
Steph joined Washington Farmland Trust’s Operations Team as a temp employee in 2021, and officially joined the team as a part-time employee this year. Steph is interested in social policy, particularly at the intersection of immigration justice, farmworker rights, and food sovereignty. In addition to her work at WFT, Steph is a graduate student at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, where she is pursuing a Masters of Public Administration. Prior, Steph worked in the aerospace manufacturing and tech industries and received a Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin in Supply Chain Management. Here’s Steph…
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. As a queer, first-generation Taiwanese American, I love bridging cultural differences and am passionate about uplifting and empowering marginalized communities. In my spare time, I enjoy competing in ultramarathons and triathlons, drinking too much coffee, being out in the mountains, eating good food, and hanging out with my partner and friends.
Tell us why you care about local food and farming issues.
Food has always been a love language in my family. Growing up, my parents never said “I love you” in the traditional sense, but always expressed that love through food and home cooked meals. There was also a language barrier between myself and my grandparents and extended family whenever I’d go back to visit them in Taiwan. But despite this barrier, we always found a way to communicate by sharing food together. This has really shaped my love for food and appreciation for its power to bring people together.
I’m also very passionate about land access. Farming and land ownership has a fraught history with systemic racism, and I am deeply interested in removing barriers to land ownership and helping marginalized folks gain access to land.
One pivotal moment in my life was working in agriculture in New Zealand in 2016, where I spent time picking and packing kiwis and harvesting sweet potatoes. This was a very eye opening experience for me as it shined a light on the world of farm work – and just how back breaking it can be. In the United States, farmworker rights are intertwined with immigration and racist labor policies, and there is so much work to be done. That experience really sparked my passion for food sovereignty.
What are you most excited about working on at the organization?
I am incredibly grateful that I get to work with such talented, passionate, and caring people every single day. Our staff and board have centered equity in a very genuine matter – this shows up in how we approach our daily work and how we engage with our communities. I’m grateful to work with a team that is eager to challenge the status quo and shift the power dynamic to those who have not had a seat at the decision making table.
What is your hope for the future of farming in Washington?
Aligned with my passion for food sovereignty – my vision for the world is a place where those who want to own land have the ability to do so; that folks can grow food that they enjoy eating, food that is culturally relevant, food that they can use to sustain themselves and their community without having to rely on large corporations that have taken up most of the power in the food system historically.