Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, Mackenzie graduated from Emory University in 2018 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies, focused on food justice, and a minor in anthropology. Her senior honors thesis, about nonprofit staff perceptions on the progress and inclusion of the Southeastern food movement, was inspired by her time with various nonprofits working on issues such as food access, farming, childhood nutrition, food assistance programs, and farmers markets. During her time with the Wholesome Wave Georgia, Mackenzie compiled and analyzed customer information for the organization’s annual program report on the use of their SNAP doubling program at farmers markets. She was also fortunate to work with a team of scholars and practitioners to develop Atlanta’s Food Roadmap Report which analyzed data regarding Atlanta residents’ health, food access, community vitality, and income disparity indicators across the city.
Field placement: Reconnecting McDowell
Welch, West Virginia
Mackenzie is completing her field work with Reconnecting McDowell, a nonprofit organization striving to improve educational outcomes and economic prosperity in McDowell County, WV. Mackenzie is designing a Foodshed Improvement Plan, which is part of a wider effort by the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition to envision the future food systems across various regions of West Virginia. To create this plan, Mackenzie is conducting individual surveys, compiling a producer catalog, doing asset mapping, and organizing community meetings across the county. All together, these components will provide a picture of the current food environment in McDowell County and lay out a community-driven plan to strengthen the food system in terms of food access, agricultural opportunities, and economic development in upcoming years.