Community Engagement AmeriCorps Member
Steve Irwin was total shock and awe to my eight year old mind. Who was this lunatic Australian jumping on the backs of 1,600 pound beast and grabbing venomous snakes by their tails? Why was he doing this? For the love of nature? In the name of science? Yes. Steve Irwin was able to shoot charisma and catchphrases through some of the slow, sometime monotonous tasks in research biology. I didn’t understand that back then. At that time, I just thought “this guy is crazy! He has an exciting life and I want to do what he does.” So I started reading about animals and paying more attention in science class. I even dreamed about having my own nature TV show where I could be as fearless as The Crocodile Hunter. I identified with the show so much because of my love for the natural world and desire to be a communicator. Steve Irwin wasn’t the most accomplished herpetologist but he did become one of the most audible advocates for conservation in the world. Somehow he was able to connect wrestling reptiles to recycling and while I loved seeing the former, I learned a lot about the latter and I think that was the whole point. Steve Irwin’s persona was tailored to reach a new audience and introduce them to things they may have never heard of before.
Often times, the voice of a long standing practice like research biology or farming can become stale to generations that have not experienced these things or become distanced from them. I didn’t grow up farming but I did grow up with a respect for nature, and now, serving with Civic Works Real Food Farm, I have more of a respect for farming than I ever did before and feel empowered to share my feelings and what I’m learning. As the Community Engagement Assistant, my goal is to enlarge and enhance the circle of awareness and influence the farm has on people’s lives. While farming and food access may be a paramount issue in some circles, I’m interested to see what ways I can come up with to reach those potential allies who are not as aware. I love music and think it could be a great point of entry for the farm; so incorporating live music and DJ’s into our events will be something I’m excited to do. Athletics are another avenue I’d like to explore in the same way. For example, we have a smoothie bike we like to use at events. Some people don’t immediately make the connection between a farm & a fruit smoothie but when they work with fresh seasonal fruit to make their own smoothie and meet the person who grew that fruit a little bit of the food industry may become clearer to them. We can initially shock and awe someone with a sweet treat and sprinkle in education on urban agriculture kind of like Steve Irwin.
That’s one of the things I’m most excited about, is the freedom Real Food Farm gives myself and other AmeriCorps members to develop our skills in the areas we’re interested in. I want to provide opportunities to help connect the dots of our food system for people and I’m ready to see what comes of my year long term of service with Real Food Farm.
Kyron began his term of service in October 2016 and will be assisting with farm outreach (including this blog, social media, and events) so be on the look out for more from this AmeriCorps member over the next year.