PFP Internship Leads to Change of Plans
By Ellie Marble, Education Intern
If anyone had asked me a year ago what I was planning on doing after graduating from Vassar College, I would have laughed nervously and changed the subject. After a year of interning with foster care social workers, I felt stuck on a path that did not feel genuine to me. The truth was that I had no idea what I was really passionate about. I hadn’t considered the possibility of changing my mind, not going to grad school for social work, and doing something altogether different…. Then, last semester I saw that there was an opening to be an education intern at Poughkeepsie Farm Project. When I saw this, I realized that I had been itching for the outdoors and to work with kids in more constructive and fun ways than I had been for the past year, and so I jumped at the opportunity. I am so unbelievable grateful that I did.
I have learned so much during my short time with PFP about the Poughkeepsie community; being an educator; the connections between food, community, and justice; and of course, myself. This is what I am passionate about: being a part of a community that works together to nourish each other’s bodies and minds. Working with PFP has deeply influenced how I have decided to finish my time at Vassar. My focus has shifted to taking classes that discuss issues of environmental racism, accessibility and equitable education. I still tremble slightly when the question of post-college life comes up, but I am much more confident today than I have ever been that I am on the right path.
I am currently a senior Educational Studies major and am in the process of writing a thesis that examines food justice in Poughkeepsie City School Districts. What I hope to bring to the discussion of food injustice in America is a case study of how food and education can act together to promote a more community-based and equitable society. Through the framing of just food and education as human rights, I plan to investigate how Poughkeepsie City School Districts and community organizations are working together to promote positive community cooperation, sustainable models of health, and secure and informed relationships to local food. I plan to challenge the history of food politics in the United States to examine the reasons why the food system is enmeshed with the intersections of multiple structural oppressions and how community members and grassroots organizations can work together to reclaim the environmental and food sovereignty that was systematically stripped from them. In looking at Poughkeepsie Farm Project and other local organizations working to promote a just food system for Poughkeepsie, I will assess the tensions that operate to promote and prevent the actualization of just food practices in public schools in order to discover ways to strengthen togetherness in the fight for everyone’s right to nutritious, affordable, and fair food.