Resilient Roots Spring Community Farm Workdays. Spotlight: Ashley Pintor
Resilient Roots has just started our Community Farm Workdays! The following is a reflection piece from one of our Assistant Farm managers and former student intern, Ashley Pintor, pictured in the bottom left corner. On the right bottom corner is our first community workday where we built a new bed for a new community grower, Mr. Luis who lives across the street from the Farm. Mr. Louis and his family are excited to grow tomatoes, chiles, and crops from Puerto Rico.
My name is Ashley, I’m a freshman at Stockton University, majoring in Anthropology with a minor in History. My involvement with the garden began my sophomore year of high school. I joined the program in order to learn more about what goes into taking care of a garden and to get help opening up a garden at my school. The experience have been very educational and motivational. I have learned how to be patient, resilient, open minded, and kind. Over the years, I have met people who helped shape my life while working at the garden. The people there helped me become the person I am today.
I have worked alongside fellow students and elders. Whenever the elders came to the garden, they made sure to interact with all of us and teach us new techniques. They would teach us the best ways to build beds and trellis for the garden and why it is important for the enrichment of the plants. Everyday, there was something that needed to be done in the garden which helped us all enact in physical activity. Although, digging up pathways and removing weeds from the dirt may seem pretty easy, it’s actually a lot of work. The garden promotes community physical activity for anyone involved because no matter what day it is, there is always something that needs tending to.
Before working at the garden, I never really thought about my family’s Puerto Rican culture because no one really talked about it. When I started going to the garden I was exposed to a group of inspiring people who did care about their history and culture because it was a part of who they are. The elders would tell us the importance behind the plants in the garden and explain to us that they brought a part of their own culture into the shared community so it wouldn’t be lost. They made me want to know more about my own family history and traditions. Everyone at the garden comes from different backgrounds and cultures and yet we could all come together for a common interest and share a piece of our own culture.
When I started Stockton University I knew that I wanted to keep working with elders and fellow students in the community. That’s why I became a Bonner Leader for the Office of Service Learning. As a Bonner Leader, I have worked with elders in the Atlantic City community, food drives, and I mentor ninth graders. The garden has inspired me to help promote healthy alternatives for food and that’s exactly what I try to do at the food drive. The elders at the garden always had something new to teach us, whether it was about the garden itself or about life in general. That’s why I want to keep working with elders. The reason why I am a mentor for the College Bound Program is because I was in their seats in high school. I got the guidance I needed while working at the garden and I felt like it was my turn to do the same for the next generation. The garden has been a big motivation in my life and anyone involved with it are part of something bigger than just working at a garden. It’s for the people in the community to come together for something amazing.
About the Grantee
VietLead is a grassroots organization that strives to improve health, increase sovereignty, and develop Vietnamese leadership in solidarity through intergenerational farming; youth leadership; health navigation; policy advocacy; and civic engagement. Our Food Sovereignty and community garden program was built from seeing how food is an important part of how refugees practice self-determination.
Cohort: South 2
Funder: New Jersey Department of Health