It is officially gardening season here at the Clark County Food Bank! Every day I seem to hear about plant starts growing at Heritage Farms, development in our Learning Garden (more to come on this!), and the enthusiasm of participants in our Seed to Supper classes.
To add to the excitement of warmer temperatures and sunny days is our newest AmeriCorps member, Lauren Krug! Her official title is “AmeriCorps Vista Local Produce Coordinator” and there is a lot that is involved with this position. So, to jump right into it, I will stop chatting and let Lauren answer some questions about what she does and why she is so excited about this position!
Give a brief overview of what you do:
I am working on developing the Farming & Gleaning program at the Clark County Food Bank (CCFB). My goal is to rally enthusiastic, dedicated activists in the community to give back by participating in various projects aimed to achieve local produce acquisition and redistribution to our partnering agencies and their clients. This includes growing our own food to donate to foodbank bank clients as well as developing systems and breaking down barriers to increasing their access to healthy food from other local growers.
What experience and/or knowledge do you bring to facilitating your activities?
Upon graduating from University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Entrepreneurship I interned on a small scale, organic, mixed veggie and berry farm in Mt. Hood-Parkdale, Oregon for the 2014 and 2015 farm seasons to get a hands-on education in sustainable farming practices and small-business ownership/operation. There I led volunteers and assisted the farm owners in key ways (i.e. planning crop rotation, creating seeding and watering schedules, educating volunteers about soil composition and suitable amendments for optimum quality in plant growth). This experience inspired my desire to take on the Farming Coordinator position at Clark Count Food Bank. My goal is to take the knowledge and skills I’ve gained about sustainable farming practices and apply it to the CCFB local produce acquisition efforts to increase both quantity and quality of food going to those in need.
Why were you interested in working with the AmeriCorps program?
I was interested in working with AmeriCorps VISTA to develop my professional skills, challenge my weaknesses, fine tune my strengths and employ my activism and advocacy to promote the local food system movement. I believe growing your own food as well as supporting local growers and producers will systematically improve quality of life for community members resulting in many social, environmental, and economic benefits.
Whenever you are done with your term, how do you think working with at this job will make you a more experienced and knowledgeable individual about the work you plan to pursue in the future?
When I am done with my service term next year, I think/hope I will be extremely well equipped at recruiting volunteers, managing resources, generating support and enthusiasm, and empowering people to be the change they want to see in their community.
Feel free to add in any more information that you think it would be important for others to know about you and why you are excited to work on the program you are focusing on and other projects you plan to work with.
I’m working to develop the Farming & Gleaning program and wanted to get the word out about various upcoming and ongoing volunteer opportunities we have to offer here.
I’m trying to rally a team of 15-20 enthusiastic and dedicated individuals to take on key roles as lead volunteers. I’ve named this team the ‘Farm Squad’. I envision these passionate leaders to be whom I can call on to help with our 3 main projects we plan to focus our energy on this season:
- Gleaning produce from farmer’s markets in Vancouver, Camas, and Salmon Creek,
- Growing food for our underserved community members at Heritage Farms on 78th Street, and
- General spontaneous gleaning projects that pop up around Clark County in people’s gardens, orchards, and farms, especially when local produce is in its stage of highest production.
Sounds fun, yeah!? If you feel inspired to get involved with our Farming and Gleaning program, contact Lauren Krug by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling her at (360) 693-0939.
We have been breaking ground here at the Clark County Food Bank – literally! Fun photos, information, and planning details will be coming to you all very soon about our Learning Garden.
Blog Post Author: Lauren Cameron, AmeriCorps Nutrition Educator 15-16