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Diane Conners

Amy MacKay

DIANE CONNERS
Senior Policy Specialist

Growing a robust garden, cooking delicious meals, accessing different cultures through their cuisines, these are things Diane Conners loves, and what more natural extension could there be than her work in Groundwork’s food and farming program.

“My work is all about local food, so my gardening work gives me a great appreciation for the work that farmers do,” she says. The big difference: “I can sit in the shade and dream when it’s too hot. They work, regardless.”

Diane coordinated the original phase of our Taste the Local Difference program, which celebrates and markets locally grown food, the farmers who grow it, and other food businesses that make the local food economy thrive. She moved on to focus on inspiring schools to use local foods in cafeterias, brought FoodCorps to the region, and launched the 10 Cents a Meal program that is now increasing the amount of healthy, locally grown food on school children’s plates for tens of thousands of children in Michigan. She also led the effort to bring Double Up Food Bucks to the region, which doubles the food stamp spending power of financially struggling families when buying locally grown produce at farmers markets and some stores. 

Ever looking forward, Diane is excited by a surging trend in the healthcare and wellness sectors in which “people are seeing the value of locally grown food as a way to build both community and health,” she says.

Good to know

Education

Bachelor’s in Journalism, Michigan State University

In her spare time...

Diane likes to garden (including healing herbs and pollinator-attracting plants), forage, watch nature, write, read, bike, dance, and listen to music.

Favorite spots in northern Michigan

Alligator Hill, in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The woodland trails at Arcadia Bluffs. Her vegetable garden. "My screened-in front porch at dusk, with a cat in my lap, spring peepers peeping outside, and bats pirouetting through the sky."

Why the prop?

"A hoe is so useful in the garden, where I get much peace and contemplation and feel that I perhaps have some skills that I should keep honed because they can be of use in the world."