We are pleased to introduce our team’s newest program coordinator, Ian Finch! As a fourth generation Montanan, Ian was born into and shaped by the majesty and history of our state’s mountains and plains. His passion for conservation is borne from a beautiful history with Montana’s natural splendor.
In the late 1800’s his great grandparents escaped the Pennsylvania steel industry in search for western independence. They lived off the land and founded a homestead in Sumatra, MT. Four generations later, Ian found himself reveling in the same outdoor majesty, spending weeks in the country playing imaginary games and learning how to connect with the land. Then, in high school, the parcel of land that was formative to his ecological identity was developed into a poorly planned, sprawling subdivision. The iconography of his childhood was gone overnight. They had paved over his heart, but released his spirit.
So, in college he pledged to be radical. Through the likes of Environmental Studies Program and The Midwest Academy he became a skilled activist, working with others to promote sustainability, equality, and justice. In 2007 he was part of a group of students that worked with the UM administration to sign the President’s Climate Commitment, a taste of victory that propelled him to be a founding member of The Real Food Challenge and the Fair Trade University Campaign. These movements that have now redirected billions of dollars back into the hands of historically marginalized food producers across North America.
As a professional Ian pledges to be practical, creating projects, partnerships, and policies that institutionalize sustainability in our community food system. He spent the last fourteen years gaining insight into the many stages of the supply chain. He has seven seasons of experience on farms and gardens, five years of value chain development through Farm to Institution programs, and five years of product development, kitchen management, and food safety.
Ian looks forward to sharing this experience with the Beginning Farmer and Rancher (BFR) and Food Access (FA) teams at CFAC. He will be working in both program areas and is excited to explore CFAC’s impact from farm to plate.