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Developing Personal Relationships

Any institutional food system that wants to begin supporting local farmers must have a designated person who goes out and forms the relationships with producers. AVI’s Sustainability Director, John Marsh, lies at the heart of Kenyon’s local food movement. His position as defined includes several components: identifying local producers, transporting much of the food, and working with various administrative and financial matters on a regular basis. Marsh’s personal qualities are well suited to the job. He’s a talker: he genuinely enjoys conversing with people, which is critical when it comes to forming and sustaining relationships with our producers. Whether asking a producer about their kids or the progress of their tomatoes, or inquiring about the chemicals sprayed on their neighbor’s cornfields, Marsh is both approachable and easy going. As a farmer himself, Marsh can relate to our producers, and he knows what to ask them and how to keep a genuine relationship going. As Marsh puts it, “You gotta be able to talk the talk and walk the walk, or they’ll see right through you.” The importance of having a dependable and qualified individual to foster relationships with our producers cannot be over emphasized, especially for ensuring reliability and quality of local food sources. Click to read more about developing personal relationships.