Finally Breaking the SLU Bubble

by Jenna Levandowski

2017

Over the past seven weeks I have experienced more people and places within St. Lawrence County than I have in the last four years. The projects I have been responsible for have put me into contact with people I never realized were a part of our North Country community.

 

For my first write up, I spent almost two hours engaged in a conversation with a local mushroom farmer about why he chose to focus on such an interesting food group and why he sees them as fascinating. I have been a volunteer at Campus Kitchens where I was able to help and interact with a variety of different community members and students. I tabled farmers markets in Massena, Potsdam, and Hammond, and continue to spend afternoons traveling to meet local farmers. I also have been able to help promote and plan GardenShare’s Hunger Action Month 5k. It has been a rewarding and challenging task to spearhead and has given me a deeper understanding on all of the behind the scenes work put into fundriasing events. All of these projects have allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of the people GardenShare helps while learning about the accessibility of local food that surrounds us within St. Lawrence County.

I came into this internship because I have always been interested in our food system and how that is interconnected with agriculture, socio economic class, and geographic location. This involvement with GardenShare has not only presented me with more knowledge on these topics, but has further ignited my interest to pursue this line of work. Working on a local level has given me a perspective on this issue that is often absent from the pages textbook.

 

This constant exposure into the lives of new people and fresh areas of upstate New York also correlates to my experience at the townhouses. One of the most unexpected and rewarding aspects that has come from this summer internship has been becoming a member of the on campus summer St. Lawrence community. I have become friends with people who were in my grade for the past four years that I never crossed paths with, and current students whose excitement for classes to start in the fall already make me envious and nostalgic. This small and diverse collection of Laurentians have become an eclectic little family over the past two months. It is an experience that has taken many out of our on campus social circle bubbles and I think we are all very fortunate for that.