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examining injustices AND enacting change

| Diane Walkoff

Kate Beaton, 2014 social work graduate

"Why can't I be the one to make this a reality?" Kate Beaton asked herself in the process of crafting an internship that ultimately led to the creation of the Market Match program in Eau Claire that increases access to healthy, local food for customers using FoodShare benefits at the farmers market.

Questioning the status quo has been one of Kate's lifelong attributes. The 2014 UW-Eau Claire grad has always seen the injustice in food insecurity and poverty in general, having volunteered at food pantries while growing up. Her dedication to helping alleviate food insecurity grew in college as she worked to complete her bachelor's degree in social work and minor in environmental science.  

"I grow more saddened the more I learn about both food insecurity in our country as well as the horrible things our current food systems are doing for the environment," Kate said. "I've always known that I want to be a part of changing these issues. It feels good to be able to work on both at the same time." 

Kate currently works as an AmeriCorps VISTA member for Eau Claire County UW-Extension, where she helps administer programs that further expand the local food system by supporting farmers markets, community gardens and other local food-related projects around the city. She is passionate about making a difference locally and throughout the country. 

"Ultimately, I think the root of the problem is more systemic. People need to be lifted out of poverty with a higher minimum wage, better access to things like public education, early childhood education and mental health services," Kate said. 

Through her work with the Market Match program and UW-Extension, Kate is examining injustices AND enacting policy change ... and that's pretty powerful.