Monday, February 27, 2017

Third intern for spring semester

New intern Eliza introduces herself...

Hi! My name is Eliza Gillilan I am one of the new student interns this spring. I am currently a sophomore at St. Lawrence majoring in environmental studies and sociology, but I am originally from a mountain town in Montana. Agriculture is Montana’s largest industry and even growing up in a relatively large town, I’ve always held an interest in the farming taking place across the state. My parents’ were key in helping me foster a connection to local food through involvement with our community food co-op and CSA programs. Some of my fondest memories are school trips to local goat farms and learning how to milk a cow on the playground. When I arrived in Canton for school I expected the local food climate to be similar to that I had grown up with because of the sheer amount of farmland I was seeing; however, what I didn’t realize was the privilege associated with being able to make more ecologically and healthful decisions when it comes to buying food.

My first semester at St. Lawrence I took a class called “The Secret Life of Food” in which we discussed everything from the natural history of staple crops to sustainability and food insecurity and injustice. It was in the class where I was exposed to the fact that St. Lawrence county, despite its agricultural outputs, is considered a food desert because so many of its residents live out of reasonable range of a grocery store. We also discussed the fact that buying healthy foods is most often much more expensive option than processed foods, despite the trade off in health benefits. Ideally, everyone would love to feed their family in the healthiest way, and ideally with food that is grown nearby; however, in reality, this food has become a privilege to those who can afford to pay for it. This injustice is what drew me to choose GardenShare as my CBL placement. I think that the organization’s programs in the community to make access to healthy, local food a right rather than a privilege are so important especially in a rural community like Canton because there is the ability to grow food here. I am excited to see and contribute to the great work being done here at Gardenshare in my time here and to further the progress towards the vision of a community where everyone eats in a way that is good themselves and for farmers.