By: Rachel Stewart, CitySprouts Program Intern
My two biggest passions throughout my whole life have always been sustainable food and working with people. For so long I didn’t know how I could do both until I found CitySprouts this summer. I was so happy to see all the great work they were doing and jumped at the chance to help out. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many schools CitySprouts has partnered with and only wish I could have had a garden like this in my elementary school!
I got involved with CitySprouts in September and am completing a semester long internship for college-credit. As a human services major at Lesley University I am required to partake in three internships upon graduation. So far CitySprouts has been an amazing experience and I feel lucky to be here and partake in true hands-on learning. This work provides me with so many new opportunities while allowing me to participate in a cause I’m truly passionate about.
Each week I am supporting two garden coordinators at Cambridge elementary schools. At these schools I am prepping, planning and co-teaching students in the garden. We have multiple classes coming out each day and they are learning something unique based on their classroom curriculum. A typical day could consist of one class making salads, one coming out to find erosion and one coming out to learn all about bees. It’s been fun watching the students try new vegetables and encouraging to see them actually enjoying it. I don’t think I even knew what arugula was until a couple years ago!
Currently I’m participating in the four-week long cider pressing unit and working at the various partner schools throughout Cambridge and Boston. This has been a new experience for both myself and many of the students we work with. When we press, we separate the classes into three groups for the tasks that need to be completed. We have a washing station, a cutting station and my personal favorite, the mashing station. I have been taking on one of these each day along with helping the new volunteers. My favorite part is hearing the class “cheers” with their cider cups before tasting their hard work! The students are always shocked when we tell them that we didn’t add any sugar and that it’s all just apples.
My time here the past few months have been really special to me and it’s so encouraging to see how this program is impacting the students involved. CitySprouts exposes children to so many new experiences and the gardens are such great tools for supporting and encouraging learning. I’m incredibly happy to be apart of this team and continue my time here.