It’s Ms. Kate Kroell’s job to care about how — and where — people buy their groceries.
As the fundraiser and grant writer for a network of weekly farmers markets in metro-Atlanta, she sees accessibility to fresh foods as a public health issue and a matter of social justice.
“By shopping at a farmers market, I’m supporting a food system that is fair and not exploitative,” said Ms. Kroell, a Georgia State University School of Public Health alum. “I’m investing in my health. I’m investing in the community. And I’m investing in local business owners.”
Ms. Kroell’s journey to becoming a champion of community health and food security began several years ago in Tamil Nadu, India. After earning her bachelor’s degree in biology, she embarked on a three-month volunteer project with a nonprofit, working with families affected by leprosy in the southern state of India.
“Leprosy wasn’t spreading but there were still people with chronic symptoms and there was still a lot of stigma surrounding the disease,” Ms. Kroell said. “Families were required to live in colonies and many didn’t have access to consistent medical care.”
Because people with leprosy and their families were considered outcasts, they often did not have enough money to seek treatment or medical care providers were afraid to treat them.
“There would be generations of people who didn’t have the resources to create healthy lives,” Ms. Kroell said. “It was hard not to be impacted by that.”
When she returned to the U.S. Ms. Kroell decided to pursue a Master of Public Health degree so she could address issues of public health and social justice closer to home. After graduation, she took a job analyzing data for a health care company, but something was missing.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on June 21