MacKenzie Brown


Current place of residence

San Francisco, CA


What is your current occupation/work?

I work for a school garden organization called Education Outside. I manage eight full-time instructors who teach science lessons in elementary school gardens.


When and where did you work with Maurice?

2010-2011 (1 year) Ohio


What kind of work did you do when you worked with Maurice?

Maurice led a number of community trainings that I attended; these included several garden builds. He also took me with him on trips around the region and introduced me to various community leaders. I would sometimes ride with him as he went about his daily work and we would chat in the car as I got to get a taste of what his day-to-day work consisted of.  We also went on food runs to Amish country, and took a trip to Detroit with my interns. I also recall him being available to just chat when I needed to process my work and the difficulties that came up for me.


What kind of growth/transformation happened for you (and/or for the people you served) because of your work with Maurice?

I think back to my year with Maurice as the most pivotal, influential year of my life. He has influenced me greatly, and I still refer to him as my mentor even though we haven't lived in the same place for five years. He exposed me to such a broad range of people doing vital work around food and community, and those experiences significantly widened my perspective. As his intern, I always felt deeply trusted and respected by him. In my current job, I am still working with plants and youth, and feel like my time with Maurice gave me a richness and ability to intuit the interconnectedness of ecology and community.


How has working with Maurice benefitted you and/or uplifted you?

During our time together, I started an internship program for high-school students, and I remember how nervous I was on the first day I was to suddenly be the boss. He was there, and I wanted him to swoop in and work his magic so the first day would be as incredible as I knew he could make it. He gently supported me, but stepped back. He gave me exactly what I needed to step into my own power and refused to rescue me. As a result, I had to lean into my nerves, and began the process of trusting my own leadership potential and inner power. This to me is true empowerment in action. It makes me recall the whole teaching a man to fish saying, because Maurice was more invested in my being able to grow as a leader than him being able to get to be the star.


What would you say to someone who is interested in working with Maurice in the future?

Maurice absolutely changed my life. He's magical. I wish I still lived close and we could work more closely. I can't think of anyone who's doing more important work with more vision and integrity.


A Few Words…

Maurice has the ability to build coalitions of people, and do so in a genuine and inspiring way. His ability to see food systems as truly holistic relationships between land and people is more intuitive and nuanced than most people I know. He does NOT give lip service to the idea of community but lives it. He cultivates networks of leaders as well as vegetables.


Anything else?

Maurice is amazing. If there's something more specific that would be helpful to share I'd be happy to follow up.