After learning about the environmental and social impacts and injustices of the food industry, Kaitlyn Thayer ’19 decided to concentrate on food sustainability within her environmental studies major. Though she found the topic of food fascinating, Thayer was unsure of how to transform her specific environmental interest into a job opportunity. Then she discovered the Sustainability Business Network (SBN) of Massachusetts, specifically the organization’s Local Food Program.
“I stumbled upon SBN pretty randomly and learned that they have a program focused entirely on promoting and supporting local food sources in Boston and New England, which sounded right up my alley,” said Thayer.
This summer Thayer is working primarily on vendor outreach for the Boston Local Food Festival in September. This free, one-day festival hosts approximately 125 local farm, non-food, food truck, seafood, restaurant and independent business vendors and is expected to draw over 30,000 attendees.
Major: Environmental studies
Hometown: Rochester, N.Y.
High School: Brighton High School
To register new vendors for the festival, Thayer emails and calls independent and local businesses and farms all over New England, sometimes going from vendor to vendor at farmer’s markets and inviting them to the festival. “It’s been a great opportunity to see both the business and grassroots side of the food industry and to be creative and contribute to planning large-scale events,” she said.
In addition to vendor outreach, Thayer is also given various daily or weekly tasks to complete for the SBN’s smaller events and parties. “These are always fun because it allows me to independently contribute to something I get to see brought to fruition,” said Thayer.
By the end of the summer, she hopes to have completed outreach for the Local Food Festival, an event for which she will return to Boston in the fall to help manage. The Boston Local Food Festival will take place on Sunday, Sept. 17, on the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway.