I learned about Americorps during my service in the Peace Corps (Albania 2008-10), with an understanding that the program is “like a domestic Peace Corps”. It is not! There is an entirely different set of challenges, goals, support network, and lifestyle involved here, which is fantastic because it allows me to learn a new set of skills and gain an even greater variety of beneficial experiences. I chose to apply for Americorps because I have an ingrained sense of community action and activism- I believe we can create a better world for ourselves and it is through the process of making these efforts that we are rewarded.
The project I am working on is with Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, of which I am helping in the creation of the new Demonstration Garden, where families and individuals will learn how to harvest and prepare the vegetables they cultivate. Along with the physical creation of the garden, I am helping to develop gardening and cooking classes that will serve as a resource and teaching tool for the entire community. This will not only help local participants take action to improve their own lives and health, but will further spread healthy habits to their family and friends who witness and become inspired by these changes, like water droplets rippling throughout the community, and even nation. As a passionate advocate of the urban farming movement, I am pleased to be taking an active role in the cultivation of this program, all the while building upon skills that I will apply toward my continuing studies in the field of sustainable agriculture.
Submitted by Courtney Jallo, AmeriCorps VISTA