It is so hard to believe that we are already in our fourth week, our midway point, of the program. In some ways it feels like we have been here for a lot longer and in some ways it feels like we just moved in.
The things I have learned these past weeks are too numerous and varying to recount on this blog post so I will list a few that stand out. I have learned a lot about what the cities of Alameda and Oakland have to offer, from shops and restaurants to entertainment and diversity. I have fallen in love with the city of Oakland mainly because I have come to learn and experience just how much culture and life there is in its streets. Through working on the farm, I have learned a lot about urban farming, more than I ever expected to learn. I have learned a lot about what it takes to run a non-profit but it still feel like this is something I could learn more about in the coming weeks. Talking with Doug, Phyllis, Evan, and others who work at APC has definitely given me insight into the administrative and background work of a non-profit.
I have learned a lot from the readings we have completed for the educational aspect of the fellowship. Some ideas and concepts are new and thought provoking and others are listening to another person put into words some of my thoughts and beliefs. Through connecting the work I am doing to the readings we have been completing, I have been given a more personal view of the topics we discuss like racism and poverty. This experience of reading and then going out an experiencing the reading in the work I am doing has given me a stronger passion for working toward social justice.
I have also learned a lot about myself; specifically I have come to the realization that I need a social justice/ service role in my life. I don’t know if this means as my career or as a commitment I make in addition to a job. There is something so fulfilling and intriguing about this kind of work. It is mentally challenging and is soulfully satisfying. This program has allowed me to explore the idea of working for a non-profit and learn a lot about how the system works. I have learned a lot about self-reflection and reflecting on the environment and circumstances I am in. Being able to have a chunk of time where reflection is one of the main focuses has helped me adopt a lot of skills to properly reflect. I want to incorporate these reflection techniques in my personal life and continue to use them to reflect on the service aspects of my life and other social justice work that I do.
Within my program I feel I have made a lot of progress and still have a lot to accomplish in the short time we have left. Even working on the farm, I can see short term goals to help the program being completed on a daily basis which feels very gratifying to be a part of. Within these four weeks I have seeded plants in the greenhouse and watched them sprout. I have weeded, composted, tarped and planted several beds that I have planted the seedlings in and watched them grow further. In the office I feel like I have made some headway with establishing spreadsheets for the accounting aspect of the program and have done some work toward new marketing ideas for the farm. I feel like the work I have been doing these past weeks have made an impact on the Farm2Market program. I feel like having an established marketing and accounting procedure done will be extremely beneficial to the Farm2Market program because when I am gone others can continue to manage it.
In these next couple of weeks I would like to brainstorm ideas of ways that I can take what I have learned from the program, specifically the connections I have made with the readings and my personal experiences in the program, and translate it someway when I return home and to school. I don’t want to lose the passion I have for social justice as soon as I leave the program. Through my travels, interests on campus, and this fellowship social justice has been such an important focus for me that I don’t want to lose sight of its importance when I get caught up in the whirlwind of school. To accomplish this will take some personal reflection time and creative thinking. I also want to take more time these next weeks to ask about and listen to the stories of the people- like Phyllis, Anita, and Vincent- I have grown close to these past weeks. I don’t want to leave the program wishing I had made stronger connections with people so talking to them these next weeks is important to me.
With only four weeks left, it feels like we still have a long way to go but I know the program will be over before I want it to. However, it is still enough time to make an impact. I look forward to what this next month brings.