Monday, March 8, 2010

Another Dietitian-Farmer

Currently I think many RDs are also aspiring to be chefs, and I know a few RDs who were chefs first. However, I think Dietitian/Farmer may become the next "hot" career combination. Here is a great article featuring a dietitian and her husband who are starting their next career as new farmers. It gives me a charge to see that they are also not 'young' new farmers, just like us!

What better way to highlight the theme for this year's National Nutrition Month, sponsored by the American Dietetic Association, which is "Nutrition from the ground up!".

Last week I had the pleasure of being asked to speak to the club at Michigan State University comprised of student dietitians and nutrition majors, specifically being asked to talk to them about the importance of learning how food is grown (meaning agriculture, i.e., from the ground up). I ended my talk by compiling a list of career opportunities showing what dietitians are doing now that intersects with growing food, i.e., 'nutrition from the ground up'. In fact I know several RDs who are also farmers. Take home point: Dietitians should be "shovel-ready" in addition to be "knife-ready" like the dietitian-chefs. :-)

I hope a few of these young and earnest students caught my "vision" and passion right now for expanding the profession of dietetics to include sustainable agriculture and food systems as its base. In addition, I hope I gave them all some seeds of thought to cultivate for their future goals as an RD. I would just love to have one/some of them come to intern on our farm. I always have more ideas than I can ever put into action myself. It would be fun to have other ideas for how to best market our garlic and produce at the farmers' markets. And there will always be weeding that needs to be done!

(Photo: Farmers' Market shopping bag)

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Renata said...

Happy RD day!
I think having interns would be so fun, and a wonderful way to engage with new dietitians.

Emily said...

Thank you so much for this post! I am a late-20-something, returning to school in the fall for my MPH-RD, but I love local food and could see myself working on/owning a farm someday. I struggle because I'm not sure how well the science-based RD training will mesh with the more holistic approach to local you know of others who are bridging these two worlds or resources I can use to learn more? Thank you!

Diana Dyer said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Welcome to the profession. I strongly urge you to consider joining the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group (HEN DPG) as a student in the fall. It is possible you could join now. Check out their website This is the group of RDs for you. :-) Just look at their website and read their mission, values, goals, and resources. You will fit right in! If you have the opportunity, try to get to a national ADA meeting (this year it is in Boston in November). Then attend the HEN-sponsored sessions and their evening member reception and "FilmFeastival". It is the best place to be and you will meet life-long mentors and friends!

Heidi said...

Hi Diana,
It is great to see your blogs regarding RDs and sustainable farming. I am a student working towards my RD - that after receiving a BS and MS in wildlife biology and ecology and working in that field for 10 years. I have decided to make the switch and really want to focus on the local food movement and sustainable agriculture. I have also been told to look into the HEN DPG and hope to join soon. My question to you - have you had to maintain a clinical presence in order to be financially stable? Or is there enough interest/funding to support this non-traditional work?
Thanks much!

Diana Dyer said...

Well, your comment has just put a huge grin on my face (and just when I was thinking that maybe no one reads my blog anymore because I have so little time to post during our 9-month growing season). We need to talk! Would you go to our farm's website at, click on Contact and send me a message so I can get back to you to start this conversation by email? Yes, yes, also go to the website for HEN DPG and start looking around there. If you can join HEN now as a student (the HEN board took me up on my suggestion to lower the rates a little bit for students), you will have found your 'soil sisters'. Look at the HEN School to Farm Program and think about if that might fit into your time frame. SO much to talk about - I will enjoy thinking about you until we connect. :) Thanks for finding my blog!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD