Ben’s interest in food systems came from working in dining and housing cooperatives at Oberlin College. Life in rural Ohio offered access to some of the best of America’s breadbasket, and cooking food from a few fields away for hundreds of students was a regular thing. In addition to cooking, cleaning, and causing trouble in the co-ops, Ben served as the Treasurer for the cooperative’s multimillion dollar budget for several years. After moving back to Austin, Ben sought similar things to the experiences had in the cooperatives: local food, close communities, and economic and social justice as a part of daily life. After a few years of administrative and kitchen jobs, Ben began working at the farmers markets, a community that draws many of the same values of interconnectedness and food into its mix, and makes Ben feel alive just to be working them.