Meet CFAC’s new AmeriCorps VISTA, Annie! Annie has only just started her one year volunteer tenure at CFAC, and she has already brought such a bright and positive presenIMG_4894ce to the CFAC team. Welcome Annie!

My name is Annie Carlson. I grew up in Kalispell Montana where my love for food and agriculture began. I followed that passion to Montana State University in Bozeman to study Sustainable Food and Bioenergy systems. Now that passion has lead me to Missoula to complete a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA with CFAC.

We interviewed Annie in her first week with CFAC. Read on to see what she had to say to our outlandish questions:

Krystin: What is your Myers-Briggs Personality Type?

Annie: ISFP (she had to take the online test)

KG: Why are you really passionate about food systems?

AC: I really like to grow food. My favorite activity is gardening. The magic of it is really exciting. It’s just a really nice way to spend time and get away from things, and it’s relaxing for me. I also really love cooking and sharing food with people. It’s always something that’s been big in my family: eating together and cooking together. I wish everybody could feel the way I feel about those things.

KG: How do you think the world would be better if they did?

AC: I think if everybody had the opportunity to enjoy food in all the ways it can be enjoyed, it would mean a lot of things: people have free time, people have resources to access those things. It’s important to know where food comes from and how big of a role it plays in our lives. Because even if food isn’t your passion, it’s still a major part of your life.

KG: What is your favorite vegetable to grow?

AC: OOOOOOO! I really love garlic.

KG: Why?

AC: Well, I like that it’s planted in the Fall and it sits all winter, preparing itself, and then it comes up so early in the Spring. It’s kind of wild, and I like that it has so many ways that it reproduces. So I kind of just like the plant structure in general. It’s so strong, and it leaves a lasting impact.

KG: On the earth or in your mouth?

AC: In your mouth!

KG: If you were a vegetable which one would you be?

AC: In the past I’ve answered it that I would be garlic, but I think I just have an obsession with garlic. It’s an always changing question. It’s a good reflecting question for myself, because a lot of things are changing for me right now. I’m thinking of a cold weather type. It has to be sturdy – so maybe collard green. Ready for the cold. Maybe a mixed green patch – a variety of things all in one. In a few months we’ll update everyone: “Annie is now this vegetable.” Or, you know there’s always that random volunteer vegetable that comes up in a spot where it’s not supposed to be, but it’s still in the garden, so kind of in the place where it’s supposed to be but not sure yet? It’s a deep question, Krystin.

KG: What are you going to be doing for CFAC?

AC: I don’t have a big project yet, but I’m going to be working with the beginning farmer and rancher program. I’m going to be helping the program to keep it going into the future, for a long time.

KG: What kinds of tools are you brainstorming right now to make that happen?

AC: Event planning, we’re doing resource development, researching evaluation tools and management tools.

KG: What do you see as CFAC’s greatest opportunity while you’re here?

AC: Because I’m focused on beginner farmer and rancher program, CFAC is in a unique place, especially with Farm Link, to really connect people and to keep a lot of agricultural land in agricultural production, and I think that would have a really lasting impact to fight the thought that agriculture is dying, or that if you’re retiring and don’t have a child to pass the land onto, that you have to sell to a developer. Changing that mindset, and getting the idea out there that there are beginning farmers out there who really want to farm, I think CFAC is in a unique place to do that.

KG: What has been your most exciting discovery about Missoula so far?

AC: It’s a really beautiful area, and I haven’t had the chance to explore it as much as I want, but I did get to go to Rock Creek last weekend, and that was an awesome area. There’s a lot of natural beauty around here that I don’t know about yet, but I’m excited to get to know it. Also the people who live here just LOVE it.

KG: What would you do with $1M?

AC: There are a lot of things I would do with one million dollars. I would probably give most of it to some type of organization, or multiple organizations, that I believe in. Try to do some type of social good. But then also I might use some of it for myself, probably to travel, and eat food around the world, grow food around the world.

KG: Favorite constellation?

AC: Pleadies. Because I like all the different stories about how they came to be.

KG: What is one thing you want people to know about you?

AC: I’m a pretty positive person. I’m passionate about the things I believe in. I believe that kindness and compassion are great strengths and qualities that maybe our society doesn’t focus on enough.