Big Brain Update: Natalie Morris

​In preparation for this year's Big Brain awards, we're checking up with a few of last year's winners. Know an emerging creative who could use $1000? Nominate 'em right here before March 14.

Today we're checking in on last year's foodie winner, Natalie Morris.

The past year has been la dolce vita for ulinary school grad and Slow Food advocate Natalie Morris, who parlayed her work with Community Food Connections (the non-profit behind the Phoenix Public Market) into a master's degree in food and communications at University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra, Italy (an elite program connected to Slow Food International).

What does that mean, exactly?

365 days of eating, studying, eating, traveling, eating, practicing Italian, and eating. Morris was one of 25 students from 16 different countries.

"I didn't think it was possible to eat that much food," says Morris, who just landed in Phoenix this week from her new home in Brooklyn, New York. "You just sit there and they keep bringing more."

Currently, Morris has a three-month contract, and is finishing a project for Wicked Delicate Films called Truck Farm, a documentary about urban agriculture. More specifically, the Truck Farm is a 1986 Dodge pickup truck whose bed was transformed into a mini-farm.

Morris is working with Patti Emmert, executive director of Slow Food Phoenix, and Duncan Family Farms to create a Truck Farm for the Valley, as part of the film's national outreach. It will debut this fall.

"It's been a really fun way to get urbanites and kids thinking about where their food comes from and we currently have established 24 across the country," she adds.

What's next for Morris remains to be seen, but don't be surprised if she ends up in Washington, D.C., challenging lawmakers to improve working conditions for food workers around the globe.

"I would love to work in food worker justice," Morris says. "It's where I feel I could make a difference."

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Michele Laudig
Contact: Michele Laudig