Danny Simpson ’18 worked on his aunt’s organic farm for six years before coming to Northland College, where he has played a major role in the food scene on campus—from managing the gardens to leading food and sustainability initiatives to catering art shows and parties.
In April, he was awarded the Student Affairs Division Outstanding Student Leadership Award for Sustainability recognizing exceptional dedication to improving the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the Northland College campus and community, the Chequamegon Bay area, and the world beyond.
For him, food is everything.
“In my family, food is a really big deal. All of my fondest memories involve food and gathering with people I love,” he said. “And in this politically polarized world, food retains a universal power that can, at least for a time, transcend perceived divisions and bring people together.”
As the new assistant manager at Hulings Rice Food Center, Simpson manages the day-to-day operation of the gardens and the Larson Food Lab and led the initiative to make Northland College an official refuge for pollinators. He was recently elected to the new Ashland/Bayfield County chapter of the Farmer’s Union alongside fellow alums Todd Rothe ’10 and Evan Flom ‘14.
He has been hired by UW-Extension to trial five varieties of broccoli, green beans, carrots, and potatoes. The position is funded by a USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant and covers two research seasons.
“There is also a profound joy that comes from being a part of the process that feeds another,” he said. “From nurturing plants and animals, to presenting the fruits or vegetables of your labor to an appreciative eater at the market, to thoughtfully preparing a meal with intention and care, all of these experiences nourish our bodies, minds, and souls.”
Follow Simpson and his food adventures on Instagram @grassfedsass.