Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Viola Fisher



Honored November, 1992

Viola Fisher

Think globally, act locally is sound advice. The reverse is valid too; it's just more difficult to manage. Viola Fisher has done it all. As a UN public health nutritionist she combated hunger across the globe. In Santa Fe, she's done great things for her Cerro Gordo neighborhood.

She grew up on a farm outside Post Falls, Idaho. When her parents bought the place, "the cash crop was Delicious apples. Later my father raised sweet Spanish onions. My mother had a route where she would sell fruits, vegetables and eggs.

She attended a "little country two-room grade school a half mile from the house. High school was in Post Falls—three and a half miles if you followed the railroad tracks—if we walked, it was four." At the University of Idaho in Moscow she majored in dietetics.

Work as a hospital dietician left her dissatisfied. "So often, you see a patient, and then they leave. I became very interested in how you prevent illness. I decided to go into public health." The war intervened. She served at military bases in several states, then earned a master's in public health nutrition at Columbia University.