Food was always a big deal when Kate Sann ’05 was growing up.
Her mom was a devoted cook, and the parents she calls “pathologically social” threw dinner parties every weekend. Even family bonding time revolved around eating: on weekends, they’d drive to New York’s farthest-flung neighborhoods and explore new cuisines.
Sann is still a serious foodie, but now she works on the other end of the system as a land preservation associate at the Westchester Land Trust.
Through the Farmland Match Program, she pairs aspiring farmers with property owners who have unused land. “The farmers get to test their skills without the financial onus of ownership,” she says, “and the landowners get to see their land used in new and exciting ways.”
She also helps protect and preserve open spaces. “Land trusts haven’t done a great job of explaining what we do,” she says. “We’re not a nature center. We’re like the closed-door real-estate deal that leads to the nature center.”
As an English major at Bryn Mawr, Sann began exploring food’s place in literature and academia during her senior year. She won a national Watson Fellowship and traveled the world researching and sampling French and Francophone-island foods.
She took off for New Zealand a few years later to work as a vineyard assistant, then eventually headed to graduate school at New York University and completed an M.A. in food studies.
Her graduate work led her to the Westchester Land Trust, where Sann has worked since 2012. “At no point in my educational or working life did I plan to work for a regional land trust,’” she says. “But I’m happily ensconced in this industry now, and I really like it.”