Friday, July 15, 2011

Stories from the Field: Veggie Fest

Here's the latest update from the AmeriCorps NCCC team currently serving at SAGE. Through this series of blog posts (each written by a different member of the team) we hope to provide you with an inside look at AmeriCorps NCCC and the service experiences the team is encountering at SAGE, the Corvallis Environmental Center, and with our 11 partner organizations in Benton County. Our third service story comes from Christine Beste, originally from Delware, who is one of seven members on the team and also serves as the Project Outreach Liaison on the team:


"My Russian Teacher always told me I belonged in Oregon. After spending about two months here, I am not ready to leave. The community has been so welcoming and supportive of everything the team has done while in Corvallis. When Blue Six was presented with our fourth round and last AmeriCorps project I remember how excited everyone was for Oregon, variation in our daily projects, working outside, and getting to hang out with kids. That initial passion and enthusiasm has continued to show and grow in every team member throughout our stay.

In preparation for a new community and project, teams do research and set goals they want to fulfill during their stay. My personal goal was to put together a community day this round. I approached Rachel with the idea and thus Veggie Fest was created. The build up to the day was tough but so much fun. I want to thank Rachel for sticking it out with me and listening to my caffeinated rants about every little detail each chance I got to talk to her. There were a lot of firsts that came with this community day for me, such as: approaching businesses for donations, making posters and flyers, talking to strangers about how great the festival was going to be, and trying to track down every single piece involved in the day and putting them neatly together. Sometimes it felt like my head was about to explode just thinking about my ‘to do list’. However, every time I felt overwhelmed my teammates were there for me and kept me going.

After however many long days of plotting and planning, Veggie Fest has now come and gone. It was exhilarating picking up all the donations, setting up the S.A.G.E garden, and waiting for those first arrivals. My stomach was in knots in the beginning. As the day continued I did not stop smiling. There was face painting, veggie stamps, tons of food, an epic band, a water fight, a giant carrot, and ghost stories. The garden was alive with every walk of life. Even though no work was actually done in the garden, the day could not have gone any better. I hope people took with them an appreciation for the S.A.G.E garden and how much Pam, the interns, the CEC, weekly volunteers, and so many others put into the garden every single day."

Thank you to Blue 6 for all of your accomplishments in Corvallis this spring and summer! You built up the soil, weeded (and weeded, and weeded), planted veggies, moved the Food Bank, turned the compost piles, helped install irrigation systems, painted signs, harvested greens, cooked meals at Stone Soup, and you made a big difference for our community. On top of all that good work, you were fun group of individuals to have around. We will miss you!