1. There is a positive side to a long commute.
The farm I work at is in South Park, a neighborhood (predictably) south of the University District. Marra Farm is 11.7 miles away, which equals approximately 90 minutes of travel by bus (or 20 minutes by car, which I don’t have). I travel the city north to south and back again four times a week, and am more familiar with the city because of it. Although sometimes I think about the extra minutes of sleep I’d get if I was at a different placement, the long rides are a built-in opportunity to experience the city.
2. Experience enhances knowledge.
Reading about food justice and acknowledging disparities in access to fresh, organic produce is important, but actually harvesting that food and distributing it at food banks has been invaluable in contextualizing a complex and urgent issue in America. Lettuce Link deals with these issues partly by sending the produce from their plots on urban farms straight to food banks in the area. This experience so far has grounded the information I’ve read about in a way that makes the issue unignorable. Who grows your food? Who doesn’t have access to healthy food?
Two of my days on the farm also involve working with kids. Solid Ground has children’s programming at their farm sites to teach children about the way fruits and vegetables make it onto their plate. Part of the lesson plans involves preparing a healthy snack from the produce they harvested. We use the phrase ‘bravery bite’ with the kids to encourage them to give their food a try, even if they think they won’t like it. And for the most part, the children we work with seem to really enjoy the food they eat at the farm.
4. Sort your trash.
The presence of a third garbage bin is entirely new to me. Composting. I find the everyday nature of trying to be more environmentally conscious that’s present in Seattle to be amazing. I’m used to recycling being second nature, but prior to this trip composting has seemed like a good, but very distant, idea. Maybe since we throw all our food scraps at the farm into worm bins, I feel more connected to composting now, since I have a pretty good picture of how it all goes full circle.
I’m excited to add more to the list in my remaining time in Seattle!