I feel my internship at Red willow has been one of the best learning experiences i have had so far in this lifetime. From the start of this internship to now , i feel i have gained an abundance of knowledge surrounding, my community, agriculture, the land , and my ancestors, i feel planting has defiantly brought me closer spiritually to my ancestors , which inspires me to keep working with the land and giving back to our earth.
Some of my main projects that i have worked on at Red Willow during my internship was a soil restoration project, senior bag making , healthy eating project.
The soil restoration project was done in our big commercial field in the back of the farm, the soil was starting to loose its nutrients so we covered the top with mulch, leaves and woodchips then we covered it and let it set. It supposed to be covered for a year or two, what that does is it lets all the nutrients break down, it also lets all the bugs come in and they eat all that stuff , then poop out nutrients which makes the soil really healthy. The main challenges i came across while doing this project was just the hard work it took, and the dedication it took to finish the project. It took us a good week to put the mulch in the back of the truck then drive it to the field then dump it out and we repeated that for every layer. The successes and final outcome of this project will be, in a year from now the farm will have healthy soil to grow an abundance of nutritious food for the Taos community.
During the winter me and staff members made goodie bags for the community seniors in Taos Pueblo. We put things in there from blue corn to weaving looms and coloring interactive things, along with local food products. I feel the only challenge i came across was deciding what to put into the senior bags, also i wish i would’ve been able to help distribute the bags but since COVID i was not able to. The successes and final outcome of this project was the senior got a bag with so many cool awesome things! and they community was happy. The senior were so happy and thankful for red willow putting together something like that for them.
I recently created a heathy eating project, which i created so my community to get into eating more healthy meals utilizing what we have at Red Willow farm. So what i basically do is when we have are market on Wednesdays, i usually make some kind of meal, mainly using the food we grow on the farm and i sell it to the community members , along with a little paper that includes the ingredients, steps and benefits of what i used. So they get an idea of what i did and that they could also make it for themselves. The main challenges i have came across so far is making a food that people don’t like so i don’t sell much, another challenge i have came across is realizing how much work it takes it prepare a make food when selling. The successes and the final outcome of this project was the compliments i got on the food and people telling me that they try making what i did at home because “it was so good” honestly makes me so happy. I’m hoping the final outcome will be people buy more produce from the farm so they can recreate the meals i made, with the hopes that the community gets into better eating cycles.
The ways i achieved my 3 goals in communication, leadership and professional network expansion goal is just really education myself and really coming forward with ideas i had and speaking my voice on anything i saw. I also spent time on working with my community and figuring out what problems are there and how can i as a individual help these problems that are slowly starting to arise. Also looking out for outside resources to help along the way. i feel i have made so much progress and i want to inspire youth like me to help their community and fix problems that have been here for far to long.
Jennifer G. Kaasa