This story is part of our #FandMInspires series. #FandMInspires is our tag for uplifting stories that show Diplomats of all ages improving themselves, encouraging others and affirming ideals that strengthen society.
“I think that’s what I find most fascinating about nutrition—learning about how food impacts your body.”
This fascination has been leading Sarah Waybright ’06 on a nutritious—and delicious—journey. After graduating from the neuroscience program at Franklin & Marshall College, Waybright followed her passion to Drexel University, where she earned a master's degree in human nutrition, to Washington, D.C., where she created a business based on nutrition education: Why Food Works.
“I thought it would be powerful for other people to have that connection in an environment that actually shows you how to cook and prepare food,” Waybright said of her business idea. “It’s one thing to give someone a meal plan and another to explain why and how that meal plan works.”
Since this documentary, Waybright’s vision for Why Food Works has shifted; her ultimate vision for this business now includes a farm.
Farming is a steady stream that has flowed throughout Waybright’s life. She grew up on a dairy farm in Gettysburg, Pa., then found herself back in the saddle when she began helping out at a farmer’s market stand in D.C.
“I never would’ve thought that I would want to be a farmer,” she said.
Waybright felt drawn to farming as a platform for education. After all, with her nutrition and farming backgrounds, it seemed like the perfect fit. So in 2018, Waybright started Gathering Springs Farm with a partner, Pamela Jones, after discovering they both wanted to create a place where food was the means to the end of meeting people, creating community, and sharing in good health.
“The vision of wanting to do interactive food education is what brought me to farming,” Waybright said. “The farm is the way to loop me back into the private, intimate, more personal setting. The hope is that I can play up Why Food Works as a piece that complements the farm.”
The farm was entering its second season when the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the nation. Waybright described this as a blessing in disguise as she and her partner have been using this time to continue building infrastructure for Gathering Springs Farm and get their feet under them. And though the pandemic prevented them from attending their usual farmer’s market in May, they bridged the gap with a small business grant from their county and a surge in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members, something Waybright contributed to low stock in grocery stores.
“The only downside is that one of the reasons I started the farm was to transfer (to the farm) the platform of events and education—the concept I started with Why Food Works—and we haven’t been able to have any events,” Waybright said.
Despite the obstacles COVID-19 has thrown Gathering Springs Farm, Waybright and her partner are navigating the hurdles with grace.
“I’ve been approaching it as more of a ‘what do I do now’ challenge,” Waybright said. “You have to be flexible, adaptive, and think on your feet. Don’t just look at the barrier; see the possible solution.”
Sarah Waybright '06 featured on F&M Alumni Master Class, April 2020