Greetings: A New Hopeful Intern
September 25, 2015

Greetings Ogallala Community!

I would like to take this time and space to introduce myself, Ana Gabrielle Perez, as a new member of the Ogallala Intern program with the Gonzales Healthcare System in Gonzales, Texas. I will be working closely with a Registered Dietitian, Cynthia Green, and the Gonzales community to develop a community garden on a two acre plot of land behind the hospital.

This is the 2-acre plot. It looks like an overgrown, slightly neglected field, but can you see the potential? We can!
This is the 2-acre plot. It looks like an overgrown, slightly neglected field right now, but can you see the potential? We can!

I am a recent college graduate hailing from Austin, Texas! I grew up in the 78704 area code, just south of down town, and graduated from William B Travis, home of the Rebels. After graduating high school I moved to San Marcos to attend Texas State University. I earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and Food (Dietetics) with a minor in Chemistry. During my time at Texas State I became enthralled with urban agriculture, community gardening and grassroots projects aimed at empowering individuals.

This is a photo from my undergraduate days gardening with the Student Nutrition Organization at Dunbar Community Garden in San Marcos, Texas. This particularly weedy plot was maintained by all the gardeners to provide produce for the Hays County Food Bank.
This is a photo from my undergraduate days gardening with the Student Nutrition Organization at Dunbar Community Garden in San Marcos, Texas. This particularly weedy plot was maintained by all the gardeners to provide produce for the Hays County Food Bank.

I am very interested in water conservation, restorative gardening/farming and community building. It seems to me that all aspects of the internship can offer me experience in leadership and strengthen my confidence in the technical skills that only sharpen with time and practice. I have a lot of experience with community and personal gardening, but I look forward to taking on more responsibility and ownership through my efforts to manifest our vision of a Gonzales community garden.

Although I have only met Cynthia earlier this year, I am already inspired by the dedication and motivation she brings to her workplace. She initially got involved with the Ogallala intern program in the past as an RD with WIC (Women, Infants and Children) in Gonzales. She and her previous intern, Katie Trischt, were able to build an impressive and interactive educational garden for the mothers of WIC, but she didn’t stop there. She works tirelessly to continue raising the standard of progress in Gonzales, and I am thrilled to learn from such a compassionate, ambitious individual.

I aspire to build a career uplifting individuals and communities through dietary choices and lifestyle changes. I have a great understanding of anatomy and physiology, the nutrients required to sustain life, nutrient content of foods, and barriers individuals face. I think this internship will give me better foundations in agriculture and the tools necessary to make the dream of a healthful, sustainable lifestyle into a reality for myself and the communities I am lucky to be a part.