|Resource Specialization||Nutrition & Sustainability|
|Region Specialization||The Americas|
|International Experience(s)||Volunteer, CEDRACC with Vivamos Mejor, Guatemala|
|Hometown||Alma, United States|
"I have felt uplifted and inspired by each of my peers and I think that this is something truly unique to our program."
Why did you choose the GRS specialization that you did?
I have always been amazed at the power of human nutrition in preventing illness and maintaining health and well-being. Yet, I have come to understand that there is a strong interrelationship between “environmental” health and human health, where the two cannot be viewed in isolation of each other. The environment that influences our health includes both the natural and built environments that surround us. The access and availability of food is highly dependent upon these environments. Through the GRS program, I have been able to weave together my passions for human health and the growing need for caring for planetary health. This process of relating human nutrition and health to the engagement we have with our environments has allowed me to begin to explore the roots and connections between our health as we exist in this world. In an ideal world, when we nourish our environment, it too will nourish us. With my degree, I hope to work with others to inspire people to engage with the environment in a sustainable way.
What was your international experience and what did you learn from it?
My work involved creating a seed saving reference for seeds specific to CEDRACC’s agroecological vegetable garden—including harvesting, drying and storage requirements. The purpose of this work was to aid CEDRACC’s goal of developing a long-term seed bank that can be used for exchange and crop diversification within the community. Additionally, I collaborated with Vivamos Mejor in the designing and implementation of an evaluative, participatory workshop for their Nutrition, Health and Agroecology program.
This amazing opportunity to have these learning experiences taught me so much. I found the detailed processes involved in seed saving to be fascinating, while also deepening my understanding of the need diversification. I loved learning about the immense nutritious value of many of the native species, such as chipilin, chaya and amaranth. During my time at CEDRACC, I was also able to reflect a lot on the considerations and priorities of the community. My past experiences in combination with my time in Guatemala highlighted the importance of agroecology and climate adaptation strategies to be very place specific.