posted Nov 4, 2010, 5:10 PM by Jeremy Poehnert   [ updated Nov 4, 2010, 5:32 PM ]
Britt was a VISTA with me from 1998-1999.  She was from North Dakota, and grew up on an organic farm.  She was a fascinating person, and even though I only knew her for a year she left me with a number of powerful memories.

Knowing her is what introduced me to the idea of organic food, and initiated my interest in agriculture.  It was fascinating listening to her stories of growing up on an organic farm in North Dakota, an experience that was worlds away from anything I was familiar with.  She wasn't preachy, and didn't try to "convert" anyone, but just hearing her perspective about foods and agriculture had a permanent impact on me.  I didn't become a vegetarian, and I still don't eat healthy (I'm trying!), but I am much more aware of food issues; I listen to the podcast "Farming Today" everyday, and try to pay attention to news about farming and food policy.  That's pretty much all because of her.

Britt also really helped me begin to take reflection seriously.  I was already familiar with the concept of reflection, and thought it was a good idea, but seeing how committed she was too it reinforced how important reflection really is.

A favorite memory of Britt is spending Thanksgiving together.  Neither one of us were going home over Thanksgiving, so she invited me to have dinner with her.  She was living in the dorms at Pine Manor College and I was living at Fitchburg State, so I went into Boston for the day and spent the night.  She made dinner, we went to the play Shear Madness, which neither of us had seen, and we went to Revere Beach, because neither of us had been there.  Overall it was a delightfully fun and relaxing day and a half, and is one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories.

Just in general, I was incredibly impressed by Britt.  She radiated a strength of character and purity of spirit that's hard to describe.  She had a quiet dignity, a thoughtful approach to life and strong sense of integrity.  She also had a kind of subtle power that made people take her seriously.  There was something about her I found both admirable and inspiring.  We lost touch after our VISTA year, but even so, I feel lucky to have known her.