While advancing from volunteer positions with Soil Born Farms in Sacramento, to guiding collaborative projects as a senior apprentice and agri-tourism ambassador at the world renown Manresa Restaurant's Love Apple Farm in Santa Cruz, Andrew continued his travels as an independent scholar across Western Europe (England, Scotland, Wales, Holland, France, and Italy) studying community food systems for two months on a shoestring, and finally returned stateside to a vermicomposting farm in Sonoma. Inspired to invest in formal education again after waiting tables in Sacramento and Davis, Andrew has modeled engaged scholarship far beyond curricular requirements throughout his tenure as a UC student. Prior to joining forces with Valley Vision & LIFT Economy, Andrew served on the Board of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis while earning his degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, pioneering original research as a McNair Scholar with departmental honors. The UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean's Circle, the UC Global Food Initiative, and USDA-NIFA have each awarded Andrew funding to speak at conferences nationwide (UC Davis/Berkeley/Santa Cruz, Harvard, North Carolina State University, Ohio State University, etc.). Prioritizing solutions-focused leverage points for systemic change that elevate collective health, justice and sustainability in the dimensions of agro-ecology, food systems, and cooperative economics, Andrew cultivates a praxis of values-based systems thinking rooted in the pursuit of economic autonomy, self-determination, and cultural healing.