Introducing Kathleen Smythe

Advisory Board Member
XU Professor of History and Sustainability

Hello! You might have read some of my thoughts two weeks ago about the early growing season. I will be writing short postings off and on all summer and fall. This week I will briefly introduce myself. I have lived in Madeira since 1998 with my husband and two children, Colin (20) and Cora (16). I teach history and sustainability at Xavier University where I direct the Land, Farming and Community degree (basically an agroecology degree).

The inspiration behind the degree is a vision that perhaps many of us share. The vision includes honoring the rural histories and peoples who are often neglected by our educational system. It also involves ensuring that students learn about the complex ways in which most in the US have become disconnected from healthy food, healthy land, and healthy communities thanks to a cultural and political focus on production rather than health and sustainability. A third element of the vision is that most of us would be better off if we spent some of our time as producers rather than consumers, growing some of our own food, cooking locally-grown food, and/or joining with others to help small farmers get their food to markets. I came to see all these things as critical as I worked year after year in multiple CSAs at Turner Farm, one of our vendors, and a place our family thinks of as a second home.

The Madeira Farmer’s Market is home to a wide variety of vendors and faithful customers and I know that each of you has a story or viewpoint we could learn from. Melissa Bishop and I (the market manager) envision this space as one where we can continue to build the community that forms on Thursday afternoons. To that end, I invite you to submit short articles about food, farming, farmers, and farmers’ markets. Send your ideas to me at [email protected].