A big welcome to Stephanie Turco, summer apprentice in the Community Gardening Leadership Training!
Stephanie is helping grow food for the food bank at the Good Cheer Garden, Langley Middle School Garden, and Whidbey Institute Westgarden. She brings a wealth of information and insight from her previous gardening experience.
Here’s Stephanie in her own words:
I am originally from Littleton, CO but moved to Eugene, OR 5 years ago to study environmental science and biology at the University of Oregon. During that time, I completed an internship working at GrassRoots Garden, a 2.5 acre food bank garden that grew over 60,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables for Food for Lane County.
Both the internship and my studies sparked my interest in food security. This apprenticeship gives me the opportunity to discover more about garden management and community outreach, and puts me on the path to using backyard and community gardening as tools to create healthy, cooperative communities that foster well being in all residents.
Though I’ve only been here for a short while, I have already started to enjoy island life. The wonderful people of Whidbey Island further solidify my belief that the Pacific Northwest is one of the greatest places to live. If you see me enjoying a cup of coffee or biking around town, feel free to say hello!
Update from Stephanie,
After finishing the CGLT I decided to fully immerse myself in our food systems and moved North to work on a 3.5 acre diversified vegetable farm on Orcas Island. The vegetables weren’t enough for me so I traded the lush PNW for the mountains of SW Colorado where I spent a season at 7,00ft learning the art of animal husbandry. The farm raised vegetables and eggs but also broiler chickens and Thanksgiving turkeys which we processed on site in Colorado’s only certified on-farm processing facility. It was hard work but that is still the best chicken I’ve ever tasted.
In fall of 2013 I found myself bitten by the travel bug and went to Central America to WWOOF. The trip was a very eye-opening experience and taught me a great deal about privilege and human kindness. It also helped me rediscover my passion of using food as a means for social change.
In 2014 I started work with an urban agriculture company in Denver, CO and now care for three farms on Denver Public School property that grow vegetables for the cafeterias and provide jobs to low income youth. It’s been great to once again work with a company at the intersection of food and social justice.