Religion-Environment Photo Contest Winner: Kelsey Ryan-Simkins

Kelsey Ryan-Simkins is a PhD student in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University and holds a master’s degree from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. As an environmental sociologist, her research focuses on the social, cultural, and religious dimensions of the food justice movement and aims to contribute to the creation of environmentally sustainable and equitable food systems in the United States. Kelsey has been involved with several applied food system transformation projects that have explored the establishment of food hubs in marginalized neighborhoods in Columbus, Ohio. She serves on the board of directors of both Ohio Interfaith Power and Light and the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture.

Kelsey’s photo tied for third place with the title, “Reciprocity.” She states the following about her submission:”I took this photo in 2016 when I was working at The GrowHaus, a nonprofit urban farm, marketplace, and education center in Denver’s Elyria-Swansea neighborhood. The people I worked with brought many different religious and spiritual backgrounds—Jewish, Buddhist, Latter-Day Saints, Quaker, humanist—into the values we shared around the importance of a just and sustainable food system. This work inspired my interest in how secular food spaces inspire deeply spiritual experiences of connection. I think this photo captures the essence of connection in a cross-species relationship.”

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