When Christina Barkel thinks of Michigan, there’s a moment on Isle Royale she especially cherishes. She had had a long day of hiking with a heavy pack and she found camp on the island’s north shore. “My body was tired. I hurt. And it was not good sleeping. But then, about 2 a.m., I heard a wolf howl, and I thought, Oh yeah, this is why I’m doing this.”
Work hard, and good and unexpected results are likely to happen—that also describes Christina’s work at Groundwork, where she supports several key parts of our Food & Farming program. Most of her time is spent working with farmers and food pantries to create systems that increase the amount of healthy, locally grown food available to people who use food pantries. “Farmers have been supporting food pantries with donations for a long time. What makes this different is that we support farmers through purchasing, which creates a system where farmers gain new markets and economic support, while pantries increase the availability of fresh, healthy food in their offerings.”
For Christina, personal interests and work interests inextricably intertwine. She didn’t grow up on a farm, but a love of cooking and eating fresh, healthy food led her to realize the best food comes from the farmers market—which led to working on farms across Michigan. “And now, the work I do is about connecting farmers to people who deserve good food, which is everybody, she says.
Joint degree between the University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science and the Arts and the School for Environment and Sustainability called the Program in the Environment, with a concentration in Environmental Justice
Christina enjoys being outside, backpacking, farming, gardening, running, swimming, hiking, xc skiing, downhill skiing.
Backpacking destination is Isle Royale.
“I am a fiber artist! I spin fiber into yarn, dye fiber and yarn, and knit. These activities take up a significant portion of my free time and brain space, and I love engaging with these materials in new ways to create warm, functional and beautiful things. I often use natural dyes that I grow myself, and long winters give me plenty of time to wear plenty of knitted things! I don't weave yet but I'm hoping to learn sometime soon.”