Rachael Moore graduated from Dickinson College in the summer of 2018, and for the year before that she was our house “mom” at the Treehouse, or Center for Sustainable Living, at Dickinson. I had a chance to visit her last July at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, during their field day, and see her passion for agriculture in action. I think of her as a huge proponent for self-care and wellness, as well as a master of aesthetic sustainability. Read on to learn how being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes changed Rachael’s relationship with food and our food system, what’s on her travel bucketlist, and the experience that turned her towards vegetarianism.
Name: Rachael Moore
VegHead Status: Vegetarian + Conscious Consumer
Hometown: Muncy, Pennsylvania, USA
Current Location: Kutztown, Pennsylvania
Occupation: I work as a Research Technician. I’m assisting a group of researchers in studying organic and conventional agriculture, and I think I’m pretty lucky to wake up and do it every day!
Companion Animal(s): I have a cat named Ginger. She was 4 months old and living as a barn kitten when I adopted her. Living alone can be lonely and she has been an exciting addition to my apartment.
Favorite Plant-Based Milk: Currently my favorite is So Delicious Organic Coconut Milk
Favorite VegHead-Friendly Cafes and/or Restaurants: This question is so difficult, I could give one for every town I have lived in, but I’ll give two that are close to where I live now: Market Cafe in Topton, PA and The Hive Cafe in Kutztown, PA.
Favorite Foods: This is hard too. Honestly, I’m just bad at favorites. Probably roasted sweet potatoes. I have sweet potatoes at least every other week.
Favorite Place You’ve Visited and Why: Iceland, hands down. It truly looks like another planet. The coffee shops are amazing, the geology is incredible, and in the summer there is almost 24 hours of sunlight!! I also love the idea of wearing big sweaters and scarves all the time. A close second would be Arizona (see a theme of me being bad at picking favorites?).
Favorite Veg Cosmetics/Body Care Brand or Company: I really don’t wear a lot of cosmetics anymore because farming makes it pointless. However, I use Aveda for my hair care products, Yes To Tomatoes for my facewash, and e.l.f. mascara on the occasion.
Fav Veg-Related/Environmental/Social Justice Books: Not necessarily veg/food related, but I’m currently reading Soil Sisters: a Toolkit for Women Farmers by Lisa Kivirist and loving it. I would also recommend In Defense of Food and Food Rules, both by Michael Pollan if you want to get your mind thinking about your food.
When did you go vegetarian and why? Tell us your story:
I became a vegetarian my freshman year of college (2014), almost immediately after arriving. It was something I had wanted to try for a while and I finally had the freedom to do so without disrupting my family . However, I will say that my family eats a lot less meat now. The spring prior to attending college my family hatched a few laying hens. When I saw them coming out of their little shell, so fragile and small, I knew I couldn’t stand to eat them for my own enjoyment anymore. In terms of eating consciously, I grew up eating vegetables from my parents’ garden. Once I got to college it became a little harder to eat locally and sustainably grown foods, but the farmers’ market and college farm helped with that. This spring I’m signing up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share to ensure my veggies are local, in season, and chemical free!
What’s your biggest passion?
I want to build community and make people feel relaxed and welcome wherever I go. I want to change the world, which is difficult, but I’ve had some great experiences that I think have helped spread positive change.
Tell us about your travels:
I have no upcoming travel plans but I’ll share a few places that I am dying to go to soon: Badlands National Park, anywhere in Denmark, and Boulder, Colorado.
Also I love Pittsburgh and they have a ton of cute restaurants and coffee shops that are VegHead friendly!!
Do you have a favorite veg recipe you want to share with us?
I love using my crock pot and in the summer I like to make a vegetarian sloppy joe. I just throw in lentils, onions, carrots, ketchup, hot sauce, veggie broth, mustard, paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper and cook on medium heat. I’m really bad at measuring and usually eyeball it.
I know you’ve recently been doing a lot of work in agriculture. What got you interested in that? Why is it important to you and what have you learned from working in our food system?
My job is perfect because I get to do research, work outside growing food, and make links between food and health. After being diagnosed with type one diabetes in 2015 my relationship with food and health changed. I began thinking more about what food I was consuming and its impact on my body; and I could physically see it with my blood sugars both short-term and long-term. At my job, I am helping researchers make links between our soils, our food, and our health. This mission is so personal for me and it is less about a paycheck (although those are important and necessary too) and more about doing work that can change our food system.
What are your future plans?
I currently don’t have anything major in mind. I’m trying to live in the present and learn and grow as much as possible at my current job. I might return to school in the future, but right now I’m burnt out and tired of academia. And if I switch jobs any time soon I’ll probably stay in the organic agriculture sector.