Aaron Ney’s parents gave him a great vantage point from which to view serving the community. First, they (and his faith) showed him that it could and should be done by example. Second, his mother demonstrated the amazing creativity that must be tapped and the fun that could be had in service. Third, his father showed him that some parts of service weren’t exciting, but that those moments grinding away on budgets or filing paperwork were essential.
From Grassroots to Edible Roots
Aaron Ney’s journey of social justice and local food
His parents, and Aaron’s mind eager for education, also provided him with an understanding of his own privilege. While answering our questions, one of the first points he offered was, “I am keenly aware of my own privileges; as a male, as a Caucasian, as an American, etc. I feel not only appreciative of these elements, but also a strong pull to make the benefits of these universal to others.”
Aaron attended school in Iowa, his home state, and then relocated to Denver where he taught for a year in DPS, before finding a position in a restorative justice program. There, Aaron felt fulfilled, combining his passion for education, social justice, and physical activity. In 2008, Aaron worked as the Southwest Regional Campaign Manager for Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign through which he rallied 40 or 50 volunteers, planned events and honed his skills
In 2009, he entered the field of local food by joining the Founding Team of Ekar Farm, a cause that spoke to his faith, his passion for social justice, his passion for hard work outdoors, and his love of Michael Pollan. In 2011 Aaron transitioned to Ekar staff. As Program Manager, Aaron did a little bit of everything, tapping into the creative skills he learned from his mother, and the sleeves-rolled, under-the-radar necessities he learned from his father. In 2012, he became Ekar’s Executive Director.
Through his long and varied life of service and social impact, Aaron Ney has made good on his passion to bring justice to people in all walks and worlds. He teaches kindness and dedication, a connection to the land and to each other, and he even gets the honor of showing some kids their very first real, live vegetables.
If each Ekar volunteer, team member, and visitor takes just a tiny bit of Aaron’s exceptional compassion and heart with them throughout life, the future will be very bright. And green. And healthy. And loving. And fair.