Going into GardenShare this summer, I knew I would learn a lot, but I did not quite know what it would be that I’d learn. The answer to that is everything. Between the farmers markets and the office and everything in between, I polished old skills and developed new ones. I got more comfortable talking to not only people, but strangers. I got to take the lead on projects and shoulder the responsibility of the tasks I was working on. I got involved with every aspect of GardenShare, from the smallest to the biggest. I saw the care and passion the people involved feel for what they do, and I hope to take all that they have taught me into my future endeavors. My internship at GardenShare, though short, was incredibly meaningful and impactful.
One of my most memorable challenges was my Family Fun Days because this program put me at the center of one of the biggest projects I have done. It was not just a school project I got a grade on and forgot about, it was something entire communities would interact with and potentially replicate in the future. This was a lot of pressure but really, I feel, improved my skills in organization and planning.
My favorite skills I developed through the summer were interviewing, film making, and graphic design. These had been sort of on my periphery of interest for a long time, but I never had a reason to learn them, and this summer gave me that opportunity. They were not exactly in my job description either! I loved making the graphics, flyers, images for Facebook, or anything that I had the opportunity to do. This unexpected duty was something I feel passionate about and hope to explore it some more at school.
An added bonus of this internship was meeting the staff at Lazy River, a local small family farm in Hermon, NY. Mike Watkins offered me a job blueberry picking and working with them is such an amazing opportunity. I have not ever been able to be so close to the food I eat. I loved directly eating the berries off the bush and seeing the whole process. I ate plums, squash, radishes, kale, and so many other foods/produce that I had never had before. Between Lazy River giving me left-overs at the end of the days I was at the market, and learning more about my options, I am confident this is the most comfortable I feel about food and vegetables.
One of the ironies of working at GardenShare is I didn’t eat a lot of vegetables or know how to cook them before. But now I can say I do—well somewhat. Not only did I learn more about local and healthy food, but I was given the ability to help others receive that same opportunity.
I am proud of what GardenShare does and the chance to help them with their honorable work. I plan to keep helping out with Lazy River through the fall, but GardenShare will leave their own mark on me as they were able to broaden my opinions, and palate too, to new ideas, the issues in the county, and how to eat and prepare Carlene’s famous rhubarb cake.