#CALScommunity feature: Celize Christy

First Name: Celize Christy (’16 global resource systems, animal science)

Role and Organization: Next Generation Coordinator at Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI)

City/State: Ankeny, Iowa; Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Primary duties: Celize’s work focuses on cultivating opportunities and resources in efforts to uplift the next generation of farmers. She works primarily with beginning and aspiring farmers through PFI’s Labor4Learning program which provides an opportunity for aspiring farmers to receive paid on-the-job training with experienced farmers; and the FindAFarmer website which helps to connect a beginning farmer looking for land or a landowner looking for a beginning farmer. Another part of Celize’s work is creating outreach efforts for farmers of color in Iowa and hosting culturally inclusive programming (i.e. field days, conference sessions, webinars, etc.).

How did your education at Iowa State University help prepare you for your current role?
In my current role at PFI, I work with aspiring and beginning farmers who are curious and hungry to learn about the ins and outs of what it means to start a farm or a farm business. Being from an urban city (Dallas, Texas) with no prior connection to agriculture or farming before attending Iowa State, I am able to empathize and understand the individuals I work closely with on a daily basis. My classes while at Iowa State provided me the technical knowledge, yet it was my mentors and community in CALS who showed me empathy, understanding and inclusiveness which has helped prepare me to exemplify these same efforts in my current role.

What is your advice to CALS students? My advice to CALS students is to know that it is okay not to have a clear idea of what to do next. Take the time to explore what your true passions are and go for it! Build your own bridges, don’t wait for someone else to build it for you. You have all the tools you need in your back pocket.

Celize’s Favorite Resources to Build #CALScommunity:
Book: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Podcast: Code Switch by NPR

Social media resources: @agrowingculture, @soulfirefarm, @offgridincolor, @sylvanaquafarms, @sweettoothfarmdsm

Follow Celize on Twitter: @celizecc