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Local Character: Kristin DeBoard

Kristin DeBoard has been helping bring simple, healthy eating to Williamson for about three years.

Bringing Healthy Eating to the Community

She began volunteering to help lead cooking classes in early 2017, after selling eggs to the Farmer’s Market for a while. Later that year, she came on as an Americorps VISTA worker, to do capacity building with partners of the Williamson Farmer’s Market and help strengthen partnerships with other organizations. A year later, in November 2018, she was hired as the marketing and nutrition manager, where she has continued focusing on partnerships for the market.

“During my VISTA time, I did a lot of marketing activity with multiple outlets such as radio, social media, and newspaper, and they liked what I did, so that is a large part of what I was hired for,” Kristin says. “But I was also hired to do more nutrition education as a separate piece and facilitate some partner programs.”

Kristin currently handles all aspects of marketing for the Farmer’s Market, as well as the Farm Fresh 2 U Produce Delivery Bag Program and the Mobile Market. The Delivery Bag program and the mobile market both help even more people in Williamson have access to fresh produce through the market.

Taking Inspiration from Everywhere

Kristin also teaches the various free cooking classes offered to adults and children in Williamson on a regular basis. These include free monthly cooking classes for adults in town, the Jr. Chef Classes, monthly healthy cooking classes for kids, as well as the Cooking With Heart Program, a 6-week course by the American Heart Association focusing on heart-healthy cooking. She also teaches Jr. Chef mini camps, to bring healthy cooking to kids during the summer months.

Kristin takes inspiration from all kinds of places when she’s planning recipes for her cooking classes. “I just plan healthy balanced meals, and try things that people may not have tried before… (using) the methods of Appalachian cooking that have been passed down here. I just try to do things a healthy way or introduce a little culture through new foods,” She says. So far, her favorite recipe from the cooking classes has been tofu. “Because we had a guest chef that prepared it and it was the first time I had eaten it too.”

When she isn’t working and teaching, Kristin enjoys “cooking new vegan meals, running, watching my kids play their chosen sports, and going to church,” and she enjoys hunting for new recipes in magazines and online. For her, the most important thing she does is bring healthy cooking to the community, and help folks access healthy foods they might not have otherwise.

Her favorite part of her job is “watching people eat foods they have never tried.”

Kristin plans to continue her work with the community into 2020. The next Jr. Chef class will be scheduled for April, and she’s currently working on scheduling the next community cooking class at East Point Baptist Church. Right now, she is happy where she is, and is fine with seeing where things take her.“I’m content with letting God decide, I just enjoy always trying to learn more about nutrition and try new things!”

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