2017: Member - Anika Hager

2017 GreenCorps member Anika HagerAbout me. I was born and raised in south Minneapolis, growing up closely connected to the Twin Cities and appreciating the emphasis on maintaining nature within our urban environments. I attended Southwest High School, where I participated in the “Green Team” environmental club and found a passion for the environment. I was able to refine my interests during my undergraduate experience at St. Olaf College, earning my B.A. in Environmental Studies and Sociology/Anthropology. I became increasingly interested in the interconnections of environmental and social justice issues throughout my college years, highlighted by an internship experience with my local farmers market. Following graduation, I spent a summer in Seattle teaching environmental education at a summer camp for elementary aged kids, and then found myself in MN GreenCorps, seeking to pursue my other interest in the nonprofit world.

About my service. I am a member of Minnesota GreenCorp’s Green Infrastructure – Local Foods track and am serving at The Food Group (New Hope, Minn.), Minnesota’s largest independent food bank. The Food Group works with over 200 hunger-relief partners statewide providing free food, access to bulk food purchasing, and formalized food drive programs. I am serving under the Produce Programs, which specifically focus on bringing fruits and vegetables into hunger relief programs for those in need. The produce programs include produce donations from local farms, harvesting from local fruit trees and orchards, and harvesting from The Food Group’s onsite farm. My projects for this year encompass generating more volunteers for our on-farm harvesting, developing education materials for youth programming on the farm, and organizing community education and meal events.

Why I serve. I believe in the importance of strengthening our local communities to build resilience, equality, and environmental health. MN GreenCorps is a way for me to do just this, and is a pathway for enacting environmental stewardship. There is a sense of like-mindedness among GreenCorps members, all of us with varying interests but working toward the same goal of protecting our environment for future generations.

My favorite place to visit in Minnesota. I associate Minnesota summers with canoe trips through the Boundary Waters, my absolute favorite place in Minnesota. I find so much joy in spending long days paddling and portaging, feeling small surrounded by the big wilderness. Life up in the Boundary Waters is easy and simple. My favorite Boundary Waters memory is from a family trip five years ago. I was portaging ahead of the rest of the family, my dog Coco leading us down the trail. All of the sudden Coco and I came upon what at first looked like someone else’s dog, but turned out to be a wolf standing about ten feet away. Bailing out of her guard dog duties, Coco high-tailed it back towards the rest of my family. I was quick to follow!