“Not unto ourselves alone are we born” is the motto of my alma mater, but it might as well be the slogan for RARE. So much of what makes this program hum is the commitment to doing our best to make the world a better place, one rural community at a time. It was this mantra of a commitment to service that has been a strong motivator for me to give back to the communities that have supported me and led me to RARE initially. Now, four years later, I’m excited to share that I am taking up the mantle of RARE Program Coordinator. I feel very fortunate and grateful to be able to give back to the RARE Program, the program that introduced me to the realm of food systems work in a professional way, by adding to the capacity of the staff team, bringing my own agricultural perspective, and giving a whole lot of love to the members.
I served as a RARE AmeriCorps member in Coos and Curry Counties working in local seafood and food system development during Year 22. I had the naïve idea that my educational background in sustainable agriculture and experience working on farms would prepare me for working with fishermen. I quickly learned that the fishing industry is worlds away from land-based agriculture and I’m so very glad that I got to learn that lesson within a supportive cohort of people who were committed to building us up as individuals. I know my own lessons of how to prove yourself as a young professional, how to connect with diverse groups and people different from yourself, and how to manage time and projects were hard-won lessons. Given that experience, I’m very excited to give back and support future cohorts of RARE members through the transformative experience of becoming an impactful young professional and to connect them to the amazing network of RARE alumni we have moving and shaking, statewide.
As I travel around the state with Titus for some initial site visits, I can’t help but feel the familiar thrill of starting something new. I am so excited for what the future of the RARE program holds and to bring a food systems perspective to the team. And in the spirit of my alma mater’s motto, I’m inviting you to continue to be a part of the magic we call the RARE family as well.
Victoria Binning, Year 22