Hi to everyone reading this!
My name is Lauren, I’m 23, I graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz in June with a degree in Literature and Creative Writing, and I need a little help with what I hope to do next!
I was just accepted into the 2018 CASFS Farm and Garden Apprenticeship. CASFS has reserved a spot for me until March 1, but unless I come up with the $2,000 tuition by then, I won’t be able to take it.
During my last year of school I had the opportunity to intern in the Chadwick garden. The short time I spent working on the garden was so lovely and beautiful that it made me want to just set up a tent and move in there forever, but that’s not the only reason I want to do the apprenticeship.
Working in the garden and being around people who were involved with CASFS and the apprenticeship got me thinking for the first time about our relationship – and lack thereof - to food. My time there made me start investigating where my food came from and it made me want to be able to educate myself and others about agriculture and what we put into our bodies.
After I graduated, I worked with a conservation organization called American Conservation Experience where I got to spend more time with my hands in the dirt working with other people who cared about and who wanted to connect themselves with the earth and the land. Working with ACE was special because I learned how quickly people who care about/are working towards the same thing find the best ways to work together, and how much more can be done with a community. The work was hard and exhausting and taught me how much my body can do, but I found myself all the time wishing that I was putting that energy into cultivation instead of trail work.
After I finished working with ACE I travelled in South America. I worked for a little over a month in small jungle town in Peru that was very connected to their land and grew most of their own food. Because of that, pretty much everything we did had to do with food. We spent most of the day gardening, harvesting, feeding ourselves and feeding the animals. Those days felt really complete. It felt really good to be self sustaining and sufficient but I also realized, since I spent the entire month I was there doing only that, that it’s a fulltime job in and of itself, but a fulltime job that I really love doing.
In Colombia I volunteered with an organization called Futuro con Futuro who (among a lot of other really cool things) are working to re-educate their community about farming and cultivation and about the importance recycling and repurposing because even though most of the people here live and work on fertile land, knowledge about cultivation has been lost to a few generations.
This apprenticeship will not only allow me to further my knowledge in agriculture, but will give me a chance to meet people from diverse backgrounds with different experiences, knowledge, and ideas. The apprenticeship would allow me to learn about, and develop a better relationship to food by working with and learning from a community doing exactly that. I hope to spend these six months learning more about agriculture and food, and understanding the reality of the physical and emotional labor necessary for the production of food.
This is an incredible opportunity that would enable me to learn and grow personally, and in turn share the experiences, relationships, and knowledge gathered in my work after the program.
This opportunity is coming at a time where it could make a positive difference in the way that I do the work I want to do. I would be incredibly grateful if anyone would be willing to donate to help me reach my $2,000 goal. And anyway thank you so much for reading!