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Author: Levi Brown

Levi Brown / Author

Levi is currently an Antioch College student of Political economy in the class of 2022. His interests include, History, Political Science, Sociology, and Psychology. From 2013-2015 I ran a music festival to fundraise for my counties local homeless shelter. Between 2018 and 2020 I was instrumental in designing the Rural Action Rural Renewal program where I secured an operating grant for them to place AmeriCorps VISTAs with surrounding charities. Finally during my tenure with the Oral History of the Liberal Arts Program with Brooke Bryan I helped restructure the website to host significantly more student and faculty projects. Links to all can be found in the document under my "My Work" Section.

Find Me


Levi types between 60-80 words a minute, is proficient in Microsoft office, excel, google drive, some web development, and has experience in both physical labor and desk work. Is at a B2 level in German, and a A1 level in French and Spanish. He has an interest in Lacanian Psycho-analysis. He is currently working through a graduate reading list on Political theory, and German Idealism in his free time. During my year working for the Oral History of the Liberal Arts program as a digital archives coordinator I aided in redesigning the website. From 2013-2015 I ran a music festival to fundraise for my counties local homeless shelter. Between 2018 and 2020 I was instrumental in designing the Rural Action Rural Renewal program where I secured an operating grant for them to place AmeriCorps VISTAs with surrounding charities. Finally during my tenure with the Oral History of the Liberal Arts Program with Brooke Bryan I helped restructure the website to host significantly more student and faculty projects. Links to all can be found in the document under my "My Work" Section.

My Work


Gallery I

Gallery II


Rural Acton: Brown ’22 Revitalizing Appalachia in Chesterhill, Ohio

Apr 18, 2022

For two years prior to coming to Antioch I worked as an AmeriCorps Vista for Rural Action in their Sustainable Agriculture department. The financial aid offered through the program and the OEFFA conference is what allowed me to come to Antioch to finish my degree in the first place. Rural Action was originally an organization of rural activists working to preserve the regional environment, history, and economy of south eastern Ohio, its founder Carol Kuhre turned it into a more sustainable long term non-profit concerned with a myriad of local issues from the Ohio Stream Restore Corps, their environmental education programs, and other means of helping a historically economically disadvantaged community become self sustaining and preserve its rich history.

The sustainable agriculture departments page reads : “For the past two decades, our Sustainable Agriculture program has worked with local farmers and a network of partners to build the food and farming economy in the Mid-Ohio Valley of Ohio and West Virginia. Each year we engage with hundreds of small, diversified farmers and landowners in order to understand their needs and provide the tools they need to increase food production while reducing risk, enhancing profitability, and restoring local ecosystems. At the same time, we’ve expanded a regional network of shared use infrastructure that helps bring beginning farmers to market, including the Chesterhill Produce Auction in Morgan County.”

The office I worked out of was beautiful, it used to be the Foreman’s house of an old company town.  For those who don’t know, Appalachia was once dotted with towns founded, run, and populated entirely by for profit corporations. The mayors were hired positions, and employees of the mines, logging camps, what ever resource extraction the town was dedicated too, were the only citizens. They would rent their houses from their bosses, and were paid in a company script only redeemable at company owned stores. Rural Action Renovated this former eclipse company town foreman’s house, and made it into their main office, powered it with solar panels, and started a garden outside, staff were free to take time off to work in the garden or go for a stroll around the hill. It was a beautiful location.

My day to day work would consist of helping the director of sustainable agriculture write grants for various projects, data input from the Chesterhill produce auction, occasionally-ride-alongs for deliveries of produce to local food hubs, and on those special Mondays and Thursdays I was actually in the moment working with my hands at the Produce Auction, helping people unload and load produce, running the cash register, and getting an intimate connection with the Chesterhill community. There I learned a great deal about Anabaptist theology, which lead me in part to various anarchist political philosophers like Peter Kropotkin, and I even got to practice some German with the local Amish community as well.

Every year the team attends the Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Associations annual conference in Dayton. An association dedicated to Sustainable Agriculture, it was there I met several Antioch Grads who were also serving in AmeriCorps and they spoke to me about the schools progressive history, and unique Co-op design. With the $6,000 education award I had received for completing my two years of service in AmeriCorps I became curious and was astounded at the full tuition guarantee of the school, so I used my education award to cover my room and board expenses which, wouldn’t you know it were just cheap enough to be roughly around $3,000 a year!


Learning to Listen and the Importance of Being in the Background: Brown ’24 at the Oral History in the Liberal Arts in Yellow Springs, Ohio

Oct 06, 2021

In 2011, a mass of protestors joined together in Zuccotti Park just outside of the Wall Street stock exchange with one major thing in common: the goal of fighting the 1% and calling out the people on Wall Street for controlling our lives. The news of the original protests spread across the nation and, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Americans and people throughout the Global North picked up the imagery, tactics, and message. They were plastered all over social media and the impressionable freshman in high school that I was became enthralled.

Having been founded by anarchists, the movement that became known as Occupy Wall Street had no leadership and was regularly accused of having no direction or specific message. In reality, it had a collection of messages and I remember watching the live streams in the middle of the rain where the founders were running soup kitchens and tent cities for the homeless as protestors elevated their community members’ voices together. Everything from David Graeber promoting his then-new book Debt: The First 5,000 Years, to liberating Palestine, the origins of the BLM movement, opposing Monsanto’s GMO patents, and controversies of the Iraq war were all messages I was exposed to through Occupy.

One tactic they used that always stuck with me was how they elevated each others’ voices during meetings. A person would volunteer to not speak and instead only watch for hands to raise. They would then ‘stack’ these people in order to decide who would speak first on a topic and the surrounding community (composed of the several thousand people living in the Zuccotti Park tent city at the time) would collectively repeat each sentence the speaker said to work as a makeshift megaphone for the entire park to hear. This is how the Occupy movement would voice their opinions to journalists, make decisions on when to fall back to the police, and decide how to raise funds for food and shelter.

When someone is interested in politics and activism, I think they all spend a good chunk of time imagining themselves as some kind of hero on the forefront of a mob of people, leading a message or directing a movement. Unfortunately, I don’t think enough of us—and I am certainly included in this—ask ourselves how to elevate the voices of the unheard and build group cohesion. We spend too much tie wanting to argue or disagree or put our own spin on a topic. We think of ourselves as a part greater than the whole, which is why oral history is so important.

The Oral History in the Liberal Arts (OHLA) program is a division of Antioch College dedicated to taking advantage of our most recent technological achievements to document as extensively and accurately as possible for future historical records the personal accounts of as many living people as possible. As described on their website, OHLA is “an undergraduate research framework for community-engaged teaching and learning using oral history and digital scholarship.” They support digital projects across the Great Lakes Colleges Association and Global Liberal Arts Alliance, curate tutorials and resources, and offer training.

Being able to document an individual’s first-hand account without any rephrasing or manipulation by the interviewer has to be one of the single most important innovations in history since writing. Because of the age of information, YouTube, cellphones, voice-to-text programs, etc. we have the ability to preserve perfect windows in time and almost completely isolate and account for any possible second-hand bias. Through oral history, the individual can have their exact phrasing perfectly preserved for generations to hear regardless of if they’ve been taught to write, read, or code. The interviewer will have their expectations and biases saved as well. This is what the Oral History in the Liberal Arts is all about: creating these time capsules of all kinds of groups of people and events both big and small by getting the most detailed and accurate accounts of what is happening in the world as we live it. Think of all the different nuances in speech, phrasing, specific emotions used, and slang that can be conserved and reviewed for generations to come.

Through my time at OHLA, I’ve been privileged enough to hear a wide range of interviews from across the country with many varying perspectives. Learning how to elevate these voices as a form of behind-the-scenes activism has been both humbling and a pleasure. We can all find ways to fight the good fight without trying to be the only voice in the room and by spotlighting the unheard. Doing this co-op has led me to teach myself some minor bits of coding and a great deal of WordPress, has improved my grammar by leagues, and most importantly has helped me develop better abilities to educate myself.

My job is to index and transcribe these interviews to then be posted to the OHLA website and stored in a database where they can then be accessed as sources by anyone and everyone, whether academics or hobbyists. Topics have ranged from Antioch students protesting racism and seed preservationists across the country to quilt-makers in West Virginia and exploring indigenous Mayan textiles in Chiapas, Mexico.

I’ve definitely learned a lot from listening to these projects, but what I’ve valued the most is learning the importance of listening.

Photo credit:


Interview with Matias Cheistwer

May 03, 2021