By Myeasha Taylor
The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty.
Once you have real, it’s hard to go back to fake. All around the nation, small farms, edible schoolyards, farmers markets and gardens are popping up. People are eating food that did not travel miles and miles away but food grown right down the street or at least 20 miles from their homes. Some places bring real food right to your community like Real Food Farm, a project of Civic Works Inc., an organic and sustainable farm in the heart of Baltimore, MD.
Through AmeriCorps, I’ve seen high school students graduate from being an intern, growing their own produce, and learning about making healthy choices to joining AmeriCorps and selling the produce right in THEIR community. Customers flock to the mobile market almost as if it was an ice cream truck to buy strawberries, cucumbers, and snap peas on their break from racing around the Montebello Lake.
I didn’t join AmeriCorps because I wanted to be a farmer, I joined because I wanted to help others. Through my experience I grew passionate about nutrition and getting fresh food to people who never had produce grown without chemicals. I wanted to teach youth what I didn’t learn so that they knew how to read a nutrition label way before they become adults.
Since joining AmeriCorps, I established a thriving Young Farmer’s Club at a local community center in Baltimore City where children 8-14 grew their own vegetables. I facilitated farm-to-table and nutrition lessons to more than 400 people through the high school internship program, farm tours, and the mobile farmer’s market.
Now, of course, everyone doesn’t favor extremely hot temperatures, buzzing bees, and long, sweaty days but, the fruit of our labor was always more rewarding. I’d love to pay homage to all the AmeriCorps members and volunteers who started seeds and harvested to make sure that healthy foods were affordable and accessible to the people in our community. No hands or sweat are in vain.
Growing fresh food is fun and healing! I’ve had many memorable experiences just through farming, teaching, and working with volunteers. After all, there is no culture without agri-culture.
Fresh food is just as important as air and water, without it, you’d probably be having a hard time reading this. Love yourself and eat real food!
Myeasha Taylor served as an AmeriCorps member from 2011-2013 at Baltimore’s Real Food Farm, a project of Civic Works. March has been designated Healthy Futures month for the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary celebration. To learn more about the celebration, visit the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary portal.