CFS Program: Field Studies in the Modern Workplace
I have had the pleasure of interning with The Yellow Tractor Project this summer. They are a local non-profit organization that promotes health and wellness. A few of Yellow Tractor’s partners include: The Child Care Center of Evanston, A Safe Haven, and Curt’s Café. The Child Care Center of Evanston grow beds and beds of vegetables that they then incorporate into their meals and snacks for the children, A Safe Haven helps veterans with addictions and integrating back into civilian life. Lastly, Curt’s Café, a local business in Evanston, employs and trains formally incarcerated non-violent offenders. Yellow Tractor works to educate and empower all people to grow their own food, and to lead healthier lives. I have had the opportunity to participate in a couple 1Day2Change digs, where the Yellow Tractor team, myself included, worked with community members to put together gardens. Just one day spent building and planting gardens with a community has even left me feeling empowered by my own ability to grow healthy foods.
I have enjoyed learning about sustainable living and everything that gardening can do for a community. A couple weeks into my internship I even started by own container garden in my backyard. I do not have enough space for a full garden bed so I replanted my vegetables in individual Tupperware containers. So far my plants have been growing well. I have developed the need to share my newfound respect for gardens. Even small gardens, like the 4’X4’ foot garden beds that Yellow Tractor sells, are capable of growing pounds and pounds of food each season. In Chicago today, there is an incredible need for easily accessible fresh produce with such high rates of poverty and the existence of food desserts.
My CFS class required that I do a bit of research into the history of Urban Gardening. In doing such I learned that urban gardening was no new concept. Since the late 1800s people have depended on local and community gardens during tough economic times to feed the mass public. However, in the past forty years people the social implications of gardening changed. Gardening is no longer just a source of food for the poor, but an outlet for expression, relaxation, local activism, and environmentalism for people of all ages, races, class, and religion. Yellow Tractor has helped bring nutrition, education, and empowerment to hundreds of people in the Chicago land area. I am proud to say that I have had the opportunity to do the same. I strongly hope that gardening and sustainable living will continue to be a part of my life and I will continue to educate others.