Food Systems for Health

Get to Know Kelsey Crawford

March 15, 2024

In the spring of 2020, as stores closed and food prices skyrocketed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bloomberg Fellow Kelsey Crawford and her team at Blue Ridge Women and Agriculture watched as members of their community in North Carolina began to face more barriers in accessing food. Crawford and her team collaborated with policymakers in the state to transition their indoor farmers’ market into an outdoor, open-air market, with permissions to remain open as an essential service.

Now, as a rural farm manager at Tumbling Shoals Farm, Crawford brings a unique perspective to public health. “In public health, we discuss the entire span of the food system,” Crawford says. “But I don’t believe enough attention is given to the foundational components of production and labor in that system. I enjoy bridging that gap a little.”

While Crawford does not come from a traditional public health background, she has witnessed the impact of connecting consumers with their food supply and acquired an intimate knowledge of the issues affecting farm and production workers firsthand. Following the pandemic, Crawford made the decision to pursue her Masters of Public Health through the Bloomberg Fellowship program at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Through her fellowship, Crawford aspires to improve regional food systems through political engagement and supporting small- to medium-sized farms.

Reflecting on her experience in the fellowship thus far, Crawford shared, “Being a Bloomberg Fellow has expanded my network to include so many individuals across the entire food system – and beyond. Collaborating with my peers has encouraged me to dream a little bigger.”

Through the fellowship, Crawford aims to blend policy, data, and farming to continue to support her community and contribute to the development of stronger regional food systems.

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