Hello Clark County Food Bank (CCFB) blog readers!
It has been some time since our last post (over a year!) but we are excited to be back to blogging about the events and thoughts that we are having at CCFB! Writing for you today is Lauren Cameron, and I am one of the new AmeriCorps Nutrition Educators. If you aren’t real familiar with our Nutrition Education program, feel free to peruse the information on our official website. This post is all about introducing each of the new AmeriCorps Nutrition Educators (written by each of us so you get an idea of our different and awesome personalities). We are all genuinely excited and honored to become a part of the Nutrition Education team at Clark County Food Bank!
Hi, my name is Lauren Cameron. I lived in Kentucky since the year 2000 and I went to college in Berea, Kentucky where I studied Nutrition and Food Studies and did a minor in Health Studies. I also had the opportunity to become Yoga Teacher certified while going to college and I enjoy learning more about the practice. In addition, I am currently taking courses part time in order to apply for graduate schools to study Dietetics in the Fall of 2016.
I am very excited about working at the Clark County Food Bank and as an AmeriCorps member because it is letting me put into action many conversations I have had with classmates and professors while in my undergraduate study. I know that this job will have its challenges and may not feel rewarding every single day, but I am motivated to learn from every experience I have during this year and find a way to make it benefit the food bank and those we serve here.
Each summer while I have been in college has been quite special for me because of the people I get to spend it with. This summer was not very exciting since I was busy taking Chemistry and Microbiology, but it definitely had its highlights. I got to spend the whole summer with one of my sisters and my grandfather. It was nice to get to do crafts and spend time at the pool with my sister and cook supper (or just eat a very delicious meal) with my Papa.
Hello! My name is Shaelie Harper. I am 24 years old and am from Holland, Michigan. I attended Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and graduated with a B.S. in Nutritional Science with a specialization in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. A couple highlights of my time in college include being an intern on an urban farm for a semester and being elected as the vice president of the Nutritional Sciences Club.
Studying at MSU provided me with a lot of opportunities to get my hands dirty and to deepen my passion for food and farming. I was also fortunate enough to be able to receive my Permaculture Design Certification in Costa Rica in 2013, where I learned a lot about creating dynamic and holistic systems within an environment. I hope to one day be able to use this knowledge to create my own business of an organic farm/bed and breakfast somewhere in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. My interests include hiking, backpacking, camping, gardening, working out, nerding out about science, cooking, and making jewelry and herbal medicines.
I am excited to be an Americorps member as a Nutrition Educator with Clark County Food bank because it allows me to put my passion into action. I love doing anything involving food; from growing it to cooking it to teaching about it. I am grateful for my education and I want to share what I have learned with others in my community in hopes of making it a better, more sustainable place.
This May I went on a 7000 mile roadtrip with one of my friends throughout the entire American west. We took two and a half weeks to travel from Michigan through 11 different states and stopped at amazing places such as the Redwood National Forest, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Arches National Park. It was one of the most adventurous trips I have been on and I am so thankful to live in such a beautiful country!
Hi, my name is Blair Borax. I grew up in Northern New Jersey and graduated from University of Vermont in May 2014. From the Honors College, I received a dual degree in Studio Art and Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. I also received my Permaculture Design Certification through a 4-month study abroad program in Israel-Palestine. During college, I worked as an “Eco Rep” to educate my peers about how they can make healthier and more environmentally-conscious lifestyle choices. After graduating in 2014, I spent a year living and working on an organic farm in Northern California, teaching at-risk high school students organic farming, sustainable living, healthy eating, and character development. I am very passionate about utilizing gardening and nutrition education as a tool to inspire people to make positive changes in their lives and in the world around them. I am very excited to continue to do so, in brand new ways, serving as an AmeriCorps Nutrition Educator with Clark County Food Bank this year.
This summer, I spent a month working at my Aunt’s chocolate store (yum!), enjoying time with my family in New Jersey, and gearing up for my cross-country road trip! I spent two and a half weeks driving across the northern part of the country, visiting a lot of friends and exploring beautiful places along the way. Some highlights includes the Badlands and Black Hills in South Dakota, Gallatin National Forest in Montana, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons in Jackson, and Lake Tahoe in California! One of my most memorable moments was being in the Boiling River in Yellowstone National Park. This is the point at which Mammoth (very very) Hot Springs and the (very very cold) Yellowstone River converge, creating a very unique ecological site and human experience. As you wade through the water, one leg will be burning hot and the other will be freezing cold, but when you find the perfect sweet spot of hot and cold flowing water, it is heaven! It was so relaxing, I fell asleep in the water!!
Hi, my name is Christina Fortin. I am coming to Vancouver all the way from the east coast from the great state of Maine. I went to the University of Maine and received my B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition with a minor in Sustainable Food Systems in 2014. During this past year I was serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Anti-Hunger & Opportunity Corps / Maine Hunger Initiative. I was serving Hancock County in Maine, which holds Acadia National Park, at Healthy Acadia- a Healthy Maine Partnership which empowers people and organizations to build healthy communities. My work focused on increasing food access to lower income individuals through USDA food assistance programs. These programs included: SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program- formally food stamps) for individuals and acceptance of these funds at farmers markets, the Summer Food Service Program establishing summer feeding sites for kids, and supporting various nutrition education classes and gleaning efforts connecting food that would have otherwise gone to waste to local pantries and community meals.
In the few short weeks that I’ve been on site at CCFB I have gotten really excited to serve a new area with nutrition education. I am really passionate about food, nutrition, and teaching. I am really looking forward to meeting more folks in the community and to start teaching!
As short as my summer was I really fit in a lot of excitement with adventures and visiting family and friends. Prior to leaving Maine I kicked off my trip with a weekend trip to Baxter State park and a full day hike of the tallest mountain in Maine- Mount Katahdin. I was able to be a part of a best friend’s wedding and spend my last few days with my closest friends on the coast. I embarked on a solo drive across the country on August 10th and stretched the trip to August 27th. Along the way I visited nine different cities and one national park (Arches). My favorite moment of the trip was in Arches NP. I wouldn’t be meeting up with any friends that day so it was a lot of time alone and in the car. Once I was able to park and walk up to the arches I kicked off my shoes and ran through the sand. The arches are amazing and fascinating, but the feeling of my feet in the sand really reminded me of home and grounded me back to what this trip meant for me.
Hello, my name is Shaili Parekh. I’m from Phoenix, Arizona and studied Anthropology at Arizona State University and minored in Nutrition and Communications. I was the president of Real Food ASU, a club on campus that advocates for food systems issues and celebrates local and sustainable food. I was also a Nutrition Education Intern at Refugee Focus where I taught Nutrition Classes to newly arrived refugee women. My career goals are constantly evolving but I know that I want to continue to do community work surrounding food. Continuing work at a food bank, working at an extension office or going to culinary school are all possibilities! I’m excited to work at CCFB because I know I’m going to grow as an educator and leader in the community, and I can’t wait to get to know all the staff here! Everyone has been so welcoming and I can already tell that CCFB has a great work environment with great people!
This summer, I went to a music festival in California called Lightning in a Bottle as well as several road trips around Arizona to hike, camp, and explore. I visited Sedona, Flagstaff, and Tuscon and had a blast!
So that is our Nutrition Education AmeriCorps for the next year! We will be here until Mid-July of 2016 so feel free to introduce yourself to us and ask us your hard pressing questions via email, phone calls, etc. We would love to hear from you and know how we can help in providing Nutrition Education to the Clark County community.
Author: Lauren Cameron*
*Personal biographies wrote by that individual