Alex Roth-Dunn - Staff

February 16, 2022


What brought you to the Center for Agroecology?

I graduated from college and just kind of wanted to start anew. I had gone into a career field that I wasn’t enjoying too much, and just felt I wasn’t making the impact that I thought I was going to make post-college and so I dipped out of Kentucky and was bopping around California for a while, and more recently I was working at a environmental education school that focuses on social and emotional learning. That’s when I really started to fall in love with na- ture and fruits and vegetables, and before I had come out to California I had never put my fingers in a garden. I didn’t really know how food got to my table. I grew up in poverty and marginalized folks oftentimes don’t have access to fresh fruits and veggies. Even though I loved aspects of the work, I was ready for something different and that’s when I came to the Center for Agroecology.

Can you describe your role at the Center?

As the community and residential life coordinator for the Apprenticeship Program this last summer, I was meeting with apprentices to check in. I was ordering and purchasing all of the food and I was helping create meal sched- ules. I was coordinating and facilitating team bonding activities. I was just keeping a pulse on the culture and the climate of the residential cohort, and ensuring all was good, resolving conflict when that would arise. Program management is basically what I was doing in all aspects. The on-the-ground, day-to-day stuff: checking in, building relationships with these people, providing support was my main role. As the Social Justice Advocacy Committee (SJAC) chair, I am a leader and facilitator of the committee, which works to incorporate equity into the Center’s culture and programming. I am facilitating the monthly meetings, I’m keeping a pulse on committee members’ work toward our operational goals for the year, and I’m keeping a pulse on staff’s equity commitments. So I’m trying to strive towards those goals and make sure those are happening.

What do you enjoy about your work? 

Something that I’m excited about is working with students in the Black Lives Matter Garden and really propelling and pushing some of our equity-driven programming forward. I think it’s hard, sometimes, working for a historically white institution. That’s just a fact. And there are a lot of awesome and brilliant and joyful things that come from being in this space. I really love connecting with people. I think we’re on earth for who knows how long. And that’s just something that’s really important to me is making connections and harnessing those connections and empowering people, primarily people of color, but all people, specifically at a predominantly white space in a predominantly white city. It can be a hard place for Black and Brown students to thrive, to feel included, and to feel accepted. And so I enjoy uplifting and empowering marginalized and historically and currently oppressed students. Black lives matter, Indigenous lives matter.