Throughout my time as an intern at the Red Willow Farm there were many opportunities for community service and there will continue to be many opportunities after as well. 10 hours seemed like too few once I started engaging in various projects around the farm. Once covid restrictions lightened up we began to be able to make more of a presence onsite at the farm which is located on the reservation.
I spent a day with the farm crew harvesting and collecting wood from local donors to keep our greenhouses warm using heat from the wood burning Garn furnace system. Throughout the winter a rotating schedule of all employees and intern’s was implemented for evenings/weekends to ensure the communities’ greenhouses and vegetables were warm throughout the cold nights. I also was able to re-plumb a rooftop water collection system which was designed inadequately (to help combat foundational problems for the building) and is now up and functioning collecting water for plants as I write this very post. I was able to volunteer with helping repair and maintain some farm equipment including the tiller and solar panels/system.
I was also fortunate enough to spend a lot of time harvesting with the youth and farm crew getting produce ready for market days and just sharing knowledge with everyone. Most recently we spent a morning collecting trash on a specified road section on the Taos Pueblo reservation in honor of Earth Day, I was amazed at how everyone came together for a greater purpose and at how much garbage we collectively removed.
In all honesty the most challenging part of the 10 hours of community service for this internship was just picking one way of volunteering. There are so many volunteer opportunities within our community I had to dabble in as many as I could to get the full experience at the farm. I feel like all of the volunteer time impacted me in a positive way and reminded me to reflect on the blessings that are constantly around us. I started giving more freely and selflessly throughout my internship and the community service parts of the internship definitely demonstrated mutual benefits to both myself and the community just maybe not at face value inititally.