Public Relations Starts with Food
By: Jen Reid
While the rest of the world is up in arms over well-developed social media content, my VISTA experience has shown me that the non-profit world is quite contrary. Having lived in Atlanta some 5 years prior to moving to Athens, I heard nothing more about this small Georgia town than its renowned university, UGA. But when I moved here, I discovered a rich and beautiful culture at the heart of its residential district. I actually came into my VISTA service through my role as a volunteer and intern at the West Broad Farmers Market, which is a project coordinated and managed by Athens Land Trust.
When I first started here at Athens Land Trust, I was prepared to develop all sorts of editorial calendars, social media campaigns and email solicitations. But I learned very quickly that service is more than just “content development.” There was more to the non-profit PR than social media engagement stats and designing cute print-out promotional flyers. The distinctly different factor that came with community service was exactly that: community.
In my time as a volunteer at the West Broad Farmers Market, I came to know many members of this robust cultural community. Among them are some of the best culinary artists and chefs I have ever come to know. But it wasn’t until I started my service term with Athens Land Trust that I truly learned what value this community places not just on the origin of their food, but the production of it. I learned that while using social media resources was valuable for connecting with donors and to showcase our work, true connection with any underserved community starts with food.
There is no better place to exchange knowledge, healing, and creativity than the garden, kitchen, or dinner table. All humans share a common need for food, water, and shelter, and every program by Athens Land Trust works toward protecting those resources (and more!) for everyone. Needless to say, I have enjoyed my service term here in Athens, GA and I will be sad to leave when it comes time. I look forward to watching this community blossom into a pocket of abundance in the coming years. It is a great comfort to know that the small contribution I made, as well as the grand collective effort of this organization, will leave permanent and lasting impact on this community.