Samantha Turner, who received the MDP in May 2020, arrived as a first-year MDP student with a background and passion for food security and community-driven food solutions across the state of Arizona. She currently works for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and is strongly invested in supporting her local community here in Tucson. The Community Food Bank (CFB) addresses both the immediate needs of hunger, and the root causes of hunger by providing weekly farmers markets in low-income communities, garden education for community and youth members. CFB also runs the Las Milpitas Community Farm that provides a place for community members to grow and learn about healthy food. This work encompasses the empowerment of community members with education, civic engagement, economic development and access to healthy foods.
Samantha previously served as an AmeriCorps service member, specifically with FoodCorps, a national nonprofit connecting kids to healthy food in schools. During her service, Samantha was placed with the Prescott Farmers Market in Prescott, Arizona, where she provided weekly garden and nutrition classes to K-8 students and a weekly education booth at the market teaching youth shoppers about their local food and producers. After her two years of service, Samantha was hired on by FoodCorps to manage the FoodCorps Arizona network of 9 service members and 7 service site, and also had the privilege to work across Arizona native, rural and urban communities. Both experiences lead her to understand the impact of healthy food access and inaccessibility across Arizona.
To read about Samantha's summer practicum work on program integration at CFB, you can read her Research Brief on the MDP Blog. You can also read an op-ed that Samantha wrote for the Arizona Daily Star about the crucial role of food banks during the COVID-19 pandemic.