Antioch College is pleased to announce that Kat Christen, Antioch farm manager, has recently been awarded the All People Be Happy Volunteer Service Award and provided matching funds from individual donors to travel to Ethiopia in May with the Kossoye Development Program.
Christen will be part of team of Ethiopian educators working with the Kossoye Development Program to promote sustainable, small-scale gardens and build new demonstration gardens in areas where access to fresh produce is limited and lack of micronutrients has created health problems for many Ethiopian families.
The Kossoye Development Program was started in October of 1963, in partnership with the University of Gondar, to assist the people in Kossoye, the surrounding area, and Ethiopia at large in their efforts to improve health, lifelong learning, and food security.
Launched in 2010, the Volunteer Service Award focuses on enabling bright minds to enact projects in the developing world, use their talents and time to expand the opportunities and understanding of those in impoverished communities. Without the grant, Christen’s trip would not be possible.
To connect the program to the College and prepare for her work in Ethiopia, Christen has designed and implemented a sample 10 x 10-foot garden on the Antioch Farm with students. The small, sustainable gardens are similar to the ones Christen will be working with in Ethiopia that are normally managed by one small family. The garden has already inspired discussions with students about appropriate technology, sustainable agriculture, and global health issues.
Christen has a strong background in sustainable food practices. From 2005 to 2009 she worked at Five Rivers Metroparks in Dayton, Ohio, on urban gardens in a program targeted at disadvantaged teens. In 2006, Christen and her husband co-founded Smaller Footprint Farm, a project dedicated to revitalizing land degraded by traditional agricultural practices using organic methods.
Since 2011, Christen has been the farm manager at Antioch College, helping launch the Antioch Farm as a learning laboratory for students, a place to practice and demonstrate sustainable methods, and a large garden to provide healthy, fresh produce to the Antioch community. The Antioch Farm practices a variety of permaculture, organic, and ecological agricultural methods—teaching students the meaning and purpose behind organic farming.