The Non-GMO Project is pleased to welcome Heather Walker as the new Client Services Assistant! Heather recently earned her Masters in Development Studies from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, where as part of her studies she researched the motivations of Indonesian coffee cooperatives to become fair trade certified and their early experience as a fair trade partner. Previously, as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, she lived in a rural farming community and worked with women’s groups to establish Moringa tree nurseries and facilitated farmer participation in sorghum seed variety trials. Keenly interested in promoting sustainable and transparent food systems, Heather is excited to be joining the Client Services team at the Project.
Outside the office, you’re likely to find Heather savoring a good cup of coffee or craft beer (easy to find here in Bellingham and throughout the PNW!) while she plans her next international adventure, local road trip or any activity that takes her on the water.
Q&A with Heather:
What interests you about working with the Non-GMO Project- what about this opportunity caught your attention?
I’ve been interested in environmental sustainability and in the food industry since college, and as a tour guide at Theo Chocolate’s factory in Seattle I found that some of the most dynamic customer conversations were often on Theo’s product certifications, non-GMO Project verification being one of them. I realized there was momentum behind product verifications, which led me to research newly certified fair trade coffee cooperatives in grad school. From these experiences, I trust in the ability for Non-GMO Project verification to improve transparency and foster meaningful social and environmental change. I am thrilled to be joining the team and contributing to this work.
How do you think your prior experience will help you in working with the Non-GMO project?
My academic work in environmental studies is a good foundation for understanding non-GMO verification, and my background in community engagement, tutoring and coaching will be vital in communicating the verification process to our current and potential participants.
What is important to you about the work you will be doing with the Project?
As consumers we have a right to know what’s in the food we eat, clothes we wear and other items that touch our lives. The brands, manufacturers and suppliers we work with are key to securing that right. I’m thrilled to be engaging with our clients to facilitate their verification and help build industry support for transparent production.