Alyssa joined the Teens for Food Justice volunteer team last year as a senior in high-school, and now she is one of three TFFJ ’14 graduates who have rejoined us as young adult mentors to this year’s teen team. In addition to her monthly service work with us, Alyssa spends three afternoons a week performing vital maintenance and data management tasks in the New Beginnings classroom farm, employed by us through her school’s Federal Work Study program. She is also a co-instructor of the school’s after school Green Team, helping to teach 6th and 7th graders sustainability advocacy and guiding them through the process of crop maintenance.
Alyssa came to Teens for Food Justice already passionate about farming and earth science, and being able to engage with and witness the community impact of her work in the TFFJ program resonated with her deeply. She herself aspires to contribute professionally to the growth of sustainable urban agriculture and food justice education in our cities.
“My favorite part about gardening is watching the transformation the plant goes though. You get feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment when a plant you tend to reaches maturity and is able to bring life to another living being.”
Through the experience of hands-on work in the greenhouse this year, she is able to share her curiosity and enthusiasm for plants with Green Team students, as well as the influences that this work has had on different aspects of her life.
Alyssa was originally drawn to farming by an elementary school project involving sprouting a bean with a wet towel and a paper cup. She recalls:
“After this, my dad took notice of my many plastic cups on the window and started bringing home plants that would actually survive. Soon after, we had our first tomato plant growing in our backyard. I believe that gardening has brought my family closer together and I enjoy every moment of it.”