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FoodCorps Friday- Rooted in Community

FoodCorps Friday- Rooted in Communitydsc_0901

By, Athens Land Trust service member, Kana Miller

Regardless of your political beliefs, who you voted for, or your feelings about this past election, I think we can all agree on one thing – having a sense of belonging and feeling like a part of a community feels good. And right now, my community is hurting.

Throughout our various FoodCorps trainings, we are constantly told to think about the community we, as service members, are serving in. We are told to learn the history of that community, talk and listen to people in the community; to get to know our community. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

While it might seem obvious that getting to know the community (or various communities) we are serving in should be a high priority goal, it can also be easily forgotten or taken for granted. The beginning of my service term was a bright flurry of meeting new people, moving into a new house and city, trying to understand and distinguish the difference between all our community partners, and generally become orientated in my new position. The past two months have flown right on by and while I still feel like I’m trying to get a good handle on things, I was recently reminded of the importance of community in our FoodCorps service.

In my experience so far, the community I am in (and am trying to become more integrated in) plays three important roles.

The first role is that of a platform for learning and understanding. I need to get to know the broader and more specific communities I’m serving in to build solid relationships. These relationships are key in creating any sort of successful service.

The second role plays a part in making Athens feel more like home. I want to (and have started to) surround myself with friends, loved ones, and awesome coworkers/co-service members; folks who support each other in being their best selves.

The last part (for us service members) of forming strong connections with people and feeling like a part of a community, is the creation of a path to successful service and staying power. Solid relationships mixed with a sense of belonging helps us set clear goals that start with the community’s needs and add in my own strengths and resources.

I’ve spent these past two months trying to meet people and LISTEN to those who have been working on Farm to School efforts long before I got here, instead of jumping right in with my own agenda. While it sometimes feels like a slow process or like I’m not doing enough, I remind myself that building a strong foundation is beneficial in the long run.

I have a lot to learn from the Farm to School community here in Athens. There have been a lot of ideas and projects brought up in the past, some very successful and others that need more work or time. I want to learn about all of these ideas and goals, as a way to avoid reinventing the wheel or repeating past mistakes. I’ve met some amazing people who have become key partners in my service, others who make my service site so wonderful and some who fill my heart and have my back. I am so grateful for these people and the community I am forming here.

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