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VALOR Blog #4: Washington DC & NoVA

Last month our VALOR group explored agriculture in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.  It was an educational and eye-opening seminar covering many businesses and policy issues I did not know much about.  Our meetings and discussions re-emphasized how important it is for us to tell our stories and be relatable.  Although I am technically considered a lobbyist, my role is really that of a storyteller.  It was neat to hear how others in D.C. go about making the case for issues that are important to them.

I think my biggest takeaway from the seminar is the inspiration I got from all the folks we met with who have gone out and created their stories/businesses on their own terms.  I am not a lettuce farmer or extremely well-versed in rooftop gardening, but I admire the way that the people we met with built their businesses consciously according to the values they have and the audiences they hope to reach. Visiting with them has given me a lot to think about in terms of creating my story in a way that is consistent with what I hope to accomplish.

Another big takeaway is the brilliance of VALOR 2019 NCAA bracket champion and all-around good guy Bobby Drumheller pictured below. It takes a special person to wear sunglasses throughout the entirety of a 30-minute underground metro ride.  We are not worthy.

IMG_2976
Secret Service Agent or VALOR Fellow?  The world may never know. 

A few other quick observations:

  • It blows my mind that buildings in DC will pay people to plant rooftop gardens. Whoever negotiated that arrangement on behalf of rooftop gardeners is brilliant, but it is a tough concept for me to wrap my head around when it is urban sprawl that is driving the cost of land and rent up so high that people can’t afford to farm conventionally in places like Loudoun county.
  • Wegman’s is fantastic.
  • I am encouraged by the efforts made by Loudoun County and the Heritage Farm Museum in educating folks about agriculture and where their food comes from. I really like their farmer baseball card initiative and believe it is efforts like this that will help keep agriculture relatable.

The 2019 NCCA tournament was a lot of fun to watch. All Hokies can now share my disdain for A&M after they stole Buzz…  For those of you who picked Texas Tech in your brackets, I salute you.  We came up just a little short.  Old Town Road was Texas Tech’s theme song throughout the tournament. It’s a big mood and I haven’t been able to get the song out of my head since.  On a personal note, I’m very excited to be graduating law school in a couple weeks. Thanks again to everyone who has supported me the past three years and especially this past semester!  Looking forward to our next seminar in a few short weeks.

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