For those of you who are just tuning in, I’m Chris, an intern for Seattle Tilth, and I have a confession to make. Despite working for an organization that seeks “to safeguard our natural resources while building an equitable and sustainable local food system”, at the time I applied to Duke Engage, I really didn’t care all that much about the environment or about food issues. To me, environmental scientists were the people I always saw fooling around in the Nicholas School lobby as I made my way to my chemistry lab in the basement to do “real” work, and with the exception of a brief stint with vegetarianism (more as a test of will than for health or ideological reasons), I never paid too much attention to my food or where it was coming from. I got involved with Seattle Tilth’s Youth Garden Works program for the youth development aspect, having accepted that delving into environmental and food issues was the price I’d have to pay to get to work with the population I wanted to serve.  

I’ve recently noticed some changes though, aside from my sweet farmers tan. I’m still more excited by youth development than food, but after five weeks of tending to the various plants on our farm, they’ve kind of grown on me (pun absolutely intended). I’m much more appreciative of their unique appearances and the special care that each different type requires. Those who have strolled through Wallingford with me have likely been (un)fortunate enough to witness me freaking out about the different varieties of kale planted in a homeowner’s garden or how beautifully their beets are coming in. I’ve never had anything against eating vegetables, but the cooking aspect of the Garden Works program has shown me just how good a meal prepared with nothing but fresh, organic veggies can be. More importantly, my work has also convinced me that that’s the kind of meal that everybody should have access to if they want it. I’ve added terms like food system, food desert, and food justice to my vocabulary.

 I feel very lucky to have stumbled across a new area of interest. I’m curious to know if the other interns have either uncovered a new interest, reinforced an established one, or become less interested in something they previously found exciting. 



08/06/2013 10:10am

Great post, Chris! I had a very similar experience with vegetables and homegrown produce. I still don't know that much about how to garden or food justice issues, but this summer has really shown me the importance of eating a balanced diet of veggies and protein. I think that for students it can be very challenging; our stipend isn't very conducive to farmer's markets and organic, locally grown produce. Case in point: I've been living on the chewy bars and coffee at the office. But these past six weeks have instilled in me a new found appreciation for local agriculture and healthy living.

10/14/2013 9:19am

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.


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