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I am an active member of the Maricopa County Food System Coalition and currently work as the Local Food Development Coordinator with Local First Arizona. I lived in Ahwatukee until I was 10, and while living there the most exercise I got was running after the ice cream truck. Recognizing that my family and I needed a different lifestyle, we uprooted and moved north to beautiful, but rural Cornville in the Verde Valley. There, we had acres of land on which we decided we should get a goat. Anyone who has ever has a goat knows that you don't have "just 1" for long. We soon had a whole herd of does, and fell in love with all the produce they had to offer us: fresh raw milk (which could be cooked or cultured into a number of other treats), fiber, and companionship. We taught ourselves to make goat milk soap and founded a business manufacturing and wholesaling the wonderful skin-nourishing bars. Goats were our "gateway drug" and we soon had chickens (for eggs, fertilizer, bug-eating, soil-aerating), geese (to guard the livestock and provide a good laugh), horses (because they're awesome), a pig (for meat), pigeons (also because they're awesome), dogs (to guard the livestock), cats (to keep rodents and other snake-food at a minimum), worms (for composting), and bees (for honey harvesting and pollination) - each serving multiple functions for us and helping me develop a strong land ethic that was further honed by my college studies. I had the privilege of working at Valley Permaculture Alliance as their Community Engagement Director where I worked with (the best!) volunteers and local producers, and fell in love with the potential of our local food community.