About me. I was raised in western Wisconsin on a small beef cattle farm with a huge organic garden, and currently live less than an hour from where I grew up. Throughout my teen years, I became more and more interested in learning how to live self-sufficiently and in tune with nature. Since then I have become an avid gardener and poultry steward, an apprentice herbalist, a tailor, knitter, and so much more. I have also become increasingly interested in social and environmental justice and advocacy. This led me to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Field Biology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies in May 2016. Struggling to find my calling somewhere between Biology and Sustainable Agriculture, I found MN GreenCorps, an opportunity for me to combine my interests and develop my skills in ecologically sound urban agriculture.
About my service. I am a member of the Green Infrastructure - Local Foods track serving with The Food Group, a food bank in New Hope that partners with over 200 hunger relief agencies around the Twin Cities area. I am a part of the Produce Programs, which strive to increase the amounts of locally grown nutritious produce going to partner agencies. Some of my projects include helping community organizations build giving gardens or orchards in order to donate the produce to local food shelves, and providing support through their first year to ensure the sustainability of these gardens. I am also developing educational materials to teach youth (and adults) about sustainability and urban agriculture. Additional projects include designing composting systems for urban environments and building relationships with local farmers and establishing processes that allow them to donate excess produce to hunger relief programs and divert food from the waste stream. In the first month and a half of my service, I joined volunteers and Produce Program coordinators in harvesting more than 40,000 lbs. of fresh produce from local farms and orchards.
Why I serve. I believe that members of a thriving society have an obligation to be civically engaged within their local community and larger social structures. Serving others always pays the service member back far greater than any sacrifices they make during the course of their service, in addition to the invaluable assistance they are providing others. This is one way of rebuilding vital relationships within humankind and being a part of creating the compassionate and collaborative world that I think most people want to live in.
My favorite place to visit in Minnesota. I love to explore public protected lands such as state parks and national wildlife refuges. There are quite a few state parks close to where I live in Wisconsin, and an inexpensive yearly pass means I can stop for a quick hike or to bird watch whenever I am in the area. On the other hand, national wildlife refuges are a less well-known option for wildlife viewing and hiking in minimally human-influenced environments. I love visiting Minnesota Valley, which is actually in the Twin Cities metro area! The next refuge on my list is Glacial Ridge in northwestern Minnesota, where I hope to finally see a Greater Prairie Chicken, which is like a domestic chicken, but cooler.
GreenCorps member shares her experience working with the Food Group (New Hope). The food bank acts as a warehouse and distribution center, partnering with hunger-relief agencies such as food shelves and meal programs.