Introducing our 2014 Interns (Part 3)

Reblogged from Growing Food and Sustainability


Ranondo ranondo

Hi I’m Ranondo. I want everyone who reads this to know my mom is a single parent who has been taking care of me my whole life and she’s the person who’s been there through good and bad times. She been right by my side through everything. I want my mother to be proud not that she already isn’t proud of me working and having my own job but I appreciate her doing everything she could do for me. She’s the only one who’s been providing for me for the longest and I wanted this internship so I can return the favor. Something I want you guys to know about me I work hard I work for what I’m getting paid for. This job is something I would do next year as well because I like this job and the people here are pretty nice I also wanted a job so I can meet new people. Back then I wasn’t the best kid on earth but I’m trying to turn my life around and do something positive.

I like to spend time with friends and family when I do have free time but I like spending time with my mom too and if my grandma still were living she would be so proud too. At my last job I just stop going and now I know hanging out with your friends all the time isn’t worth it sometimes. I like going out to eat, to the movies, laser tagging, the mall, go carting, and paint balling. I like everything that comes to mind. I hope everything goes as planed: get paid and buy stuff for the house and stuff for my mom. People have been telling me lately get a job for myself but really it’s for my mom and my mother always gives me anything I need so when I do get paid most of it is going to my mom. She comes first before anything.

I really like this job a lot. I like growing and weeding stuff and I’m learning new things. Back then I couldn’t grow a tree that was already grown. If I get a long term job farming and growing I would work there most definitely.


lisaLisa was born in Columbia, Missouri and moved to Connecticut before finally moving to Madison, WI. She recently graduated from Middleton High School and will be attending UW-Madison this fall. Although she is undecided about her major, she is considering pharmacy school.

In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, taking afternoon naps, buying too many clothes, and spending time with friends and family, especially her dog. In this internship, she hopes to learn more about gardening and to educate children about growing food and various aspects of our ecosystem.


Hello! My name is Anna and I’m heading Annainto my senior year at Middleton High School. For the past semester, I went to an environmental semester school called Conserve School in northern Wisconsin. There, I met tons of amazing people and learned so much that I can’t wait to share about social and environmental issues and how to make a difference. I also recently returned from a month-long program called Conservation Corps Minnesota, where we traveled around the state of Minnesota doing natural resource work like pulling invasive species and doing trail work. Both of these experiences were amazing, but it’s good to finally be home. I can’t wait to get started learning about sustainable agriculture and get involved in the local community.

The First 3 Weeks of our CSA…including recipes!

Reblogged from Growing Food and Sustainability

We just finished week 3 of our very first CSA (Community Support Agriculture) program ever!  Take a look at what our 11 CSA members have enjoyed so far this summer, plus recipe ideas for you to try at home!


Week 1: green onions, a garlic scape, red russian kale, chives, red onions, and salad mix (lettuce and pea shoots)




Week 2: kale, purslane, garlic scapes, salad mix (lettuce, beet greens, and baby swiss chard), and cilantro.  Cilantro was generously donated by our friends at FH King Students for Sustainable Agriculture, the UW student farm that our program director, Natalie, also works for!


3Week 3: kale, garlic scapes, lettuce mix, Swiss chard, chives, snap peas, broccoli greens, and mint


  • One of our CSA members recommended this Garlic Scape Carbonara recipe.
  • Never eaten broccoli greens before?  Cook them like you would collards or try-out this recipe for Sauteed Broccoli Greens.  Let us know what you think!

Enjoy your eating 🙂

The Youth Farm Team


Introducing Our 2014 Interns (Part 2)

Reblogged from Growing Food and Sustainability


Peter is from Rockford, Illinois. He is a recent graduate of Edgewood College with a Biology degree with an environmental studies minor. When not at the GFS youth farm he is most likely cooking at New Orleans Take Out on Monroe street. In his free time he enjoys biking, cooking, and growing food.  He hopes to learn new sustainable farming skills and how to better inspire kids about farming.




Hello everyone, my name is Frank Hessel and I am a youth farm intern this summer and a student at Middleton High School.  In my free time, I like to play golf, run, and spend time with family. My goals for the summer are to better understand how plants grow and how to harvest plants properly.





I was born in Patchogue Long Island New York and I
grew-up in Southwest Florida. I am in the process of completing my masters degree in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. I will receive school credit toward the degree from this Youth Farm Internship. My ultimate goal is to one day work for a city planning commission and incorporate urban farming and support locally grown food into my policy making and project planning. In my free time I love to go out dancing with my friends whenever I get the chance. I LOVE to dance. I also figure skate. I also love hiking, bonfires and BBQs. I love to do pretty much anything you can do outside. My favorite place to visit is anywhere I’ve never been, but my favorite place I’ve ever visited is definitely Curitiba Brazil. Its this sustainable city in Brazil that inspired my career choice. My goal for this summer is to learn as much as I can about how a garden project like Growing Food and Sustainability works under the law, in hopes of applying what I learn to my professional work later.

Introducing our 2014 Interns! (Part 1)

We just wrapped-up the second week of our internship program, and we have a great team in the making! 9 wonderful interns will be working with Growing Food and Sustainability this summer. Meet 3 of our new interns below!


(Youth Farm Intern)

Hey I’m Sara and I was born and raised in the Cross Plains/Middleton area. I currently attend UW La Crosse and will be starting my senior year this fall. I’m majoring in community health with a minor in nutrition. In my free time I enjoy hiking, biking or swimming. I also love concerts, especially outdoor ones in the summer. My favorite place to visit in the summer is Minocqua, WI with family and relatives. I love my two dogs and when I’m not out doing activities I love napping 🙂 My goal for this summer is to have a better understanding of sustainable agriculture, mainly focusing on learning how to manage and run a vegetable/fruit garden that includes CSA boxes. I’m also interested in composting and keeping food local.



(Education Intern)

Sam is from Annandale, MN and she is about to start her senior year at UW-Madison studying zoology. In her free time she loves to read, hang out with friends, travel, and be outside. Her goals for this summer are to learn more about sustainable farming and to hopefully to get kids as excited about the environment as she is!


(Education Intern)

Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Michelle is now a third year student at UW-Madison. There, she explored a variety of her interests, including geology, astronomy, and religious studies, but ultimately, she pursued a more focused passion for environmental sciences. Michelle spends her free time walking down the lakeshore path, eating Babcock chocolate peanut butter ice cream on the Terrace, and playing with puppies. This summer, she hopes to learn how to grow a sustainable garden of her own while cultivating excitement within the community to work toward a healthier future.

Summer Draws Near

Cross-posted from Growing Food and Sustainability

Our latest bout of rainy weather here in Wisconsin hasn’t kept us from moving steadily toward the sunny days of summer!

The greenhouse is brimming with seedlings. Our babies our growing up and in two weeks they will be ready for you to take home and plant in your own garden! Don’t forget to join us for our annual Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, May 17th from 9am-noon and Sunday, May 18th from 1-4pm (while supplies last!) This is an important fundraiser for us and a way to help you start your own vegetable garden!

DSCF1644This year we’re offering 4-pack variety packs of tomatoes, in addition to eggplant, broccoli, basil, peppers, and more!

We are still enrolling campers for our 3rd summer of Garden Camps! It’s not too late to sign-up to join us in the garden this summer. We’re in the process of adding a new outdoor kitchen and project area at the Youth Farm which promises to make this summer better than ever! Registration information can be found here.

Our summer intern team is taking shape! We are in the midst of our final round of intern interviews. Five amazing new interns are already signed-on to work with us this summer. We’re so excited to welcome them to our team and to involve them in a transformative summer full of farming, education, and community building!

Apply for a Youth Farm or Education Internship!

Reblogged from: Growing Food and Sustainability

Spring is in the air!  Even though it feels spring is miles away, this month we have a made leaps and bounds in our summer planning.

Our summer internship application is LIVE! This year we have TWO separate internships: youth farm interns and education interns.

  • Youth Farm Interns will launch our NEW CSA, manage all farm maintenance and projects and run BIKE POWERED compost pick up and produce deliveries.
  • Education Interns will DEVELOP curriculum for multiple age groups from ages 5 to 13, LEAD summer garden camp activities and ORGANIZE group bike rides to the Middleton Food Pantry.
  • Also, all of our interns will PARTICIPATE in weekly INTERN CLASSES on organic farming practices, curriculum planning, the green economy, environmental justice and anti-oppression.

If you are interested, check out the poster below to learn how to apply!


Continue reading

Reflections and Insights for the New Year

Last month, Robin, Gabrielle, and I (Program Leaders for Growing Food and Sustainability in Middleton, WI) attended the annual Grand Aspirations January Gathering in Roger’s Park, Chicago. (Though it tried, we did not let the polar vortex stop us.) Basically, January Gathering is a time for program leaders from all over the Midwest (Middleton, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, Highland Park-Detroit, Chicago, and Lexington) to come together to share skills and knowledge that help us run awesome programs, like green infrastructure projects, youth garden camps, and youth-run worker cooperatives.

We also get to hang out and make revolutionary frirends! Anthony (program leader in Chicago) taught us how to make a gif at the No Talent Show.

We also get to hang out and make revolutionary friends! Anthony (program leader for Lets Go Chicago) taught us how to make a gif at the No Talent Show.

This was Gabrielle and my third January Gathering (hard to believe!), so we were thrilled to have Robin attend for her first time as a new program leader. (Unfortunately our fourth program leader, Emilee, was too sick to make the trek with us, but as you can imagine, she has heard ALL about it.) Gabrielle and I both remember how transformative our first gathering was and hoped Robin would come away feeling empowered and excited for the year ahead. Read her reflection below to hear how the gathering impacted her:

January Gathering grounds and energizes programs. January Gathering is a time to reflect and to look back over the year to search for success and evaluate failure in order to find solutions. To begin, it is important to look at the core values of Growing Food and Sustainability and Grand Aspirations: Justice, sustainability, prosperity, and community. Looking back at our core values, there were some that we were making progress toward, and others we had hoped to do better. Evaluating our progress allowed us to become grounded, to look forward and make important changes, such as improving our intern curriculum. To improve your program, you have to improve yourself. The gathering allows time to remember why we do it. When walking into a training session there is energy that fills your body. You feel hope and joy fill your soul. While in sessions you begin to grow as you self reflect. In Grand Aspirations energy and passion are recovered to make a change. You finally can feel one with yourself and a serene sense of freedom comes over you. When sessions are finished, you feel empowered and you begin to realize that it is not just about your program. It is about every program around the country and the amazing work we are doing as a whole. The work we do today will eventually change the world by solving the problems, one garden, one solution at a time. One garden may seem too small to have an impact, but when we all come together and work towards the same goal, something much greater is born.

Even though it was my third January Gathering and fifth gathering in total (including two National August Gatherings), I came away with tons of new insights and perspectives on our work including…

  • Leverage existing institutional resource flows to grow the green economy. Or in other words, we need to focus on creating new, sustainable systems that meet needs within our community.
  • It’s all about the ripple effect. If you don’t have the ripple effect, it’s not enough.
  • “Morph the system while winning within it” – Lynn Hinkle
  • Anti-oppression needs to be central to every part of our work. Every time we make a big decision or build a new project, we need to have anti-oppression at the center of our conversation.
  • Growing food with kids is sweet and cute, but the work we are doing is also “deadly serious”.
  • The systems we’re trying to change are huge and intimidating (the industrial food system), but are also very intimate (the food I can grow for my neighbors).

Since we’ve been back, we’ve had some great discussions reflecting on the history of our program and where we are going from here. We’re all itching for spring and are eager to put our plans into action!

Look how excited we are to get to work!

Look how excited we are to get to work!

Stay warm, Natalie and Robin

Our First Two Years and Growing Strong

By: Gabrielle Hinahara
Location: Middleton, WI

Around this time two years ago, my sister Natalie and I hatched the idea for Growing Food and Sustainability. It’s amazing to see how far our program has come since then, when it was just words and a vague vision in our minds.

Our first year taught us so much: we kept a garden alive in a record drought, learned that 9 weeks of continuous summer camp is too much, discovered how to form a close-knit team in three months, and found out that working 55+ hours per week all summer ends up burning you out before the fall harvest. We met amazing kids, ate delicious produce, got a darker tan than ever before, and tried so many new things. It was exhausting, exciting, hard, inspiring, and we knew we wanted to give it a go for a second season.

8Campers Last Year Continue reading

Food and Discovery

By: Allison Guertler

Location: Middleton, WI

Coming from a student that just graduated from college, the world is a scary place. I took three years of Food Science before I decided it was not for me and graduated with Community and Environmental Sociology. No longer did I want to work in a food lab and create food for companies, but instead I wanted to get my hands dirty and work with those that make it happen. Growing Foods and Sustainably has given me this chance and they offered me what one of our little campers likes to call it: Farming School.

Campers at "Farming School"

Campers at “Farming School”

With only two weeks left of our summer, I have learned a great deal and have a better picture of what I want to do after this. Continue reading