Julianna Lord '13

Gardening the Community - Springfield, Ma
Major: Economics

The streets of Springfield are crowded with buildings and many are littered with trash, and yet, nestled in its urban environment stand four robust, green gardens.  These gardens are just the seeds of the grassroots organization I interned with this summer, Gardening the Community (GTC). Gardening the Community, a youth-led food justice program, strives to create change in their community through urban agriculture, sustainable living efforts, and promoting healthy and equitable communities. Some areas of Springfield struggle with poverty and health, so our attentions to these issues are important. During my internship with GTC I helped organize and supervise the summer youth program and helped manage their new farm-share program, GTC EATS. This project distributes fresh, organic vegetables to thirty community members—trying to make healthy food more accessible, to more people.
Working with such a civic-minded organization was inspiring. I learned the importance of giving to your community and, in turn, receiving.  I also gained great exposure to urban agriculture, the local, organic food movement afoot, and food justice issues. My experience this summer has further shaped my ideas about a community’s health and how so much of it is connected to the food we eat. Changing the food system to be more equitable is something I would like to continue to work on during and post-college.  My work this summer has also motivated me to take more courses that explore topics of agriculture, community development, and social entrepreneurship.