Team member spotlight: Chelsea Krist

May 15, 2020

We hope you’ll enjoy getting to know our awesome staff members a little bit better through this monthly spotlight Q & A!


Please share your name and job title.

Chelsea Krist, FFED farm to school program coordinator

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Our loud rooster Larry and constant, low-level pandemic anxiety!  

How would you describe your job to a child?

Tell me all about your experiences eating at school. What do you like to have for breakfast or lunch? What would you change? Lots of planning, labor, and love goes into school food and I work with the folks who make it happen: your teachers, food service team, farmers, people from all over the state. We see your school cafeteria as a classroom where you see your culture represented, try new things and share your opinions, learn about the gardens and farmers who grow our food, and overall, have a comfy and nourishing dining experience.  

What is your biggest achievement to date—personal or professional?

(A living achievement that’s really all about community and more than just me, but what isn’t?) My people! I have brilliant, thoughtful, curious, brave people in my life—my partner, best friends, family, great colleagues. It’s a triumph to be in community and work to take care of each other.

And this one REALLY had nothing to do with me, but I’m officially an aunt as of May 2.  

What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?

Each day of quarantine life brings something new and different (JK). I am incredibly privileged to fill these at-home days with chicken and garden chores, coffee, foods covered in peanut butter, hours of screen time (aka meaningful, paid work + connection), goofy/high-energy cardio videos, chats with housemates and cats, and dinners outside.

I’m currently working with partners to roll-out our third annual Iowa Farm to Summer Campaign, “Crunch into Cucumbers,” connecting summer and emergency meal sites across Iowa with local food farmers and markets.

Smiling man and woman holding vegetable-shaped promo items.
Chelsea staffs the FoodCorps Iowa booth at the 2018 ISU Local Food Festival with Nathan Spalding.

What are your biggest professional challenges?

Staying up to date with pandemic info and working with partners to support community response. We’re learning to show up in new ways when we can’t be together in person, connecting people and resources and information. As the pandemic exacerbates systems of oppression and inequity, farm to school and early care work responds with the creativity and relationships that strengthen communities and equitable food systems.

What three words would you use to describe your role?

Relationships. Justice. Food.

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

Julie Guthman, a great author and thinker.

What do you like most about your job?

Someone once told me that extension puts the “to” in farm to school. I love that. It’s about making connections—across food system sectors, communities, birth through K-12 educational systems, and creative, critical thinking.

What’s your favorite blog or website?

Iowa Public Radio (for news/music) and Petfinder (for area dogs).

Given a chance, who would you like to be for a day?

A radio DJ! Sharing my favorite jams, taking requests, unlimited air-time, saying “this one goes out to…” I’m sure I have no idea what it entails, but I love the idea.

What is your guilty pleasure?

It’s a human right to take pleasure in things that keep us alive! I try not to associate guilt and pleasure. But I do THOROUGHLY enjoy watching “Nailed It!” which some people may consider embarrassing, but they probably haven’t watched it yet (4 seasons and 13 holiday episodes are available on Netflix).