Meet Shannon Tivona

When it comes to food, I would say my primary skill set definitely lies in eating it. However, I wasn’t always a great eater. As a child, my mom used to line the table with bowls of various dipping sauces, and I would have to try a new food in every single one until I found one I could tolerate. From there, I had to make sure there was no food touching on my plate and had to eat with my eyes closed because I didn’t like the look of many foods. Bless my dear sweet parents for putting up with my nonsense. Thankfully I have developed past my picky eater days and now pride myself in the fact that you can put anything in front of me and I will eat it. I have eaten my way across the world through exciting travel, I have eaten my way through many family gatherings, and now it seems I have eaten my way right into my dream job.

Focusing on food sustainability was never my intention (see above childhood aversion to anything that was not cheese). When I left the foothills of Fort Collins, CO, to attend Eckerd College I had every intention of becoming a marine scientist. However, my skills as an eater soon prevailed. For the first time in my life I could choose what I wanted to eat for every meal. Pretty soon I started following my food. I wondered where it had been before it got to me and where it went if people didn’t eat it. My freshman year I founded the Food Recovery Network chapter at Eckerd College. Well, after that I was hooked. I changed my major to Environmental Studies and started my path to food sustainability. I conducted research on life-cycle assessment for food products, I worked to create a campus farm plan, and as intern for the Office of Sustainability and Director of Culinary Relations worked closely with Bon Appétit to implement sustainability projects.

All of this work has prepared me for this position as a Fellow, where I get to encourage others to follow their food. I am proud to say that not only have I followed my heart but also my stomach.