Caitlin Arens

Caitlin Arens


Pronunciation: Kate-Lynn

Title: Food Education Fellowship Director

As the Food Education Fellowship Director, Caitlin oversees the Food Education Fellowship, including its professional development and evaluative impact. Additionally, she works alongside Fellows to develop partnerships within their school and local communities with food professionals, community leaders, and organizations. She also serves on Pilot Light’s DEIA Committee. She is passionate about advocating for food sovereignty, environmental and food justice, and food waste/rescue. Caitlin believes that building capacity within and between individuals, especially teachers, is key to building a more equitable and sustainable food future.

Throughout her career working in hotels, restaurants, cooking schools, and farms in Chicago, New York, and abroad, she set out to make food accessible to communities by working to connect folx (young and seasoned) in the education, farming, and food spaces. She holds a B.S. from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, an AOS in Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute of America, and was a member of the inaugural 22-23 LEAFS Fellowship run by Mercy for Animals.

When she’s not figuring out how to use up an ingredient in her pantry or fridge (or canning a seasonal goodie), you can find her playing guitar, gathering around a table with friends and family, or spending long days outside exploring and camping with her dog, Carrigain, and her partner Sam.

Favorite Food Education Standard: FES #2: Foods Have Sources and Origins. 

Not surprisingly, I have a fondness for all of them, but I have a particular love with FES 2: Foods have sources and origins. In college, I took a class on Cultures and Cuisines in which we had the unique privilege of debating “authenticity” and looking into how foods and people have changed and combined and moved across the globe over time. I find this endlessly fascinating and curious because identity is so connected to place and space and the people, plants, animals, and cultural traditions that are associated with a space and place. How food moves and has moved historically – to our best knowledge but also in oral tradition – tells a story and allows us to connect with generations past, present, and future.

A favorite food memory or recipe:

My mom was a working mother and despite the busy-ness of three children’s schedules, her and my dad always found a way to share a meal together even if it was at 9pm. Recently, on a camping trip to Door County with my parents, dog, and partner, after a long drive north and with the gratitude of my coworker Taylor Meredith’s willingness to pick up fish for us weary travelers, we made a campfire meal of freshly caught whitefish (thank you Henrickson’s, peach/radish/pea/herb/pepita and goat cheese salad (with veggies and greens from my parents and the market, and in true Wisconsin fashion, a meat and cheese board with favorites from my fridge and the local shop. There’s nothing better than a homemade meal when camping, but it felt so lovely to be under the stars and around the fire on a summer evening with loved ones.

Reach me: On LinkedIn

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