Monday, August 26, 2013

Meet Our Youth Farmers

It is a pleasure to introduce you to Althea Bourne, who is about to start her junior year at the High School for Public Service and plans to apply for the Summer Youth Leaders Program again in 2014.  “My greatest success in the kitchen recently is having made a pizza from scratch – sauce and all!  I was on Cloud Nine,” says Althea.  “But I’ve also burnt rice badly if we’re going to be honest here.”

“I’ve burned an egg!” chimes in Shane Thompson, a 2nd-year program participant who’s about to start his freshman year at SUNY Buffalo in the fall.  “It’s so embarrassing to admit that.  In general, I try to stay out of the kitchen as much as possible.  My mom is my favorite cook.  I’ve tried other people’s food, but I always come back to my mom’s.  She makes a great Jamaican-style curry chicken and white rice.”

 “My favorite cook is my Great Aunt.  She has a variety of skills and she can prepare a full meal: meat, starches, and vegetables,” shares Althea.  “She actually encouraged my love of carrots and I thank her for that.  One of my favorite dishes is also curry chicken Guyanese-style, but I like it with roti instead of white rice.  Roti is a Caribbean-style tortilla dish; it’s delicious.”

Both Althea and Shane want everyone to know that our farm food is tasty and fresh.  "Heirloom tomatoes are so unusual and pretty!” exclaims Althea. 
“You just can’t go wrong when you eat organic,” adds Shane.

When asked how working on the farm might affect what they eat for lunch in the fall, Shane shared that he avoids school lunches after experiencing food poisoning when he was 11 or 12 years old.  “It was so painful.  I now regularly pack Subway sandwiches.  I have been very moved by the Food Inc. videos we’ve watched this summer and I have loved our nutritional discussions.  I am uncomfortable with the way we treat chicken and meat in general in the USA.  I am strongly considering becoming a vegetarian.”

“I love to pack callilloo soup for lunch,” states Althea.  “I plan to add more vegetables this year.  And I’d like to pack more sandwiches, too, and add some raw veggies.  I am always watching my budget and I am grateful to receive school lunches at no cost to me.  It is very hard to study when you have to skip lunch.”

Shane plans to study Engineering in the fall and run track.  “Nutrition is key and vital to my success at SUNY Buffalo.  The farm has taught me what I need to eat to succeed.  I plan to focus on more greens and less meat.  In general I tend to avoid beef and pork and I prefer good carbohydrates.  My current favorite vegetable is broccoli.”

Althea plans to be a social worker in the future.  “I really enjoy seeing other points of view and putting my pride aside.  I strive to be a good listener.  There are a lot of strong personalities among the youth on the farm and I have learned to carry myself better and get what I need without being too forceful.  I love working with Shane and I often pick him on Wednesday’s shout out.  He has a great work ethic and he finishes tasks quickly.  He is known as Compost King after all!”

“I also enjoy working with Althea, but I have loved working with Kumar,” states Shane, “because we work well together.  He is so funny and makes time move faster.  I’m really going to miss him.”  

“If I am invited back to work on the farm next summer,” says Althea, “I want to do a variety of work and be encouraged to do tasks that I may not be good at yet, like irrigating.  And I will make sure that the radio works so I can listen to it while I’m weeding!”
SHANE THE COMPOST KING! Watch the video about Shane and Compost