The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies  ~Gertrude Jekyll

There are plenty of interns out there who have to get coffee for their boss and do mindless paperwork. Needless to say, interning for Grow Appalachia is not like that. I have truly enjoyed working here and am so blessed to have had the opportunity.

Somebody asked me what exactly my title was while working here and I chuckled a bit. I was never assigned one specific job, other than spearheading the crowdfunding project with Growing Warriors. Aside from managing that project I have been doing seemingly random jobs that somehow all connected in the end. I made sure all the blogs were tagged (if you don’t understand how to tag your blogs please email Candace Mullins). I helped Candace keep up with social media and do grant research. I was lucky enough to do some grant writing as well, which was an enriching experience. I was never bored and always had something exciting to work on. Recently I have been working on collecting demographic data from the whole Grow Family, which was interesting to review with Mr. Cooke. And of course I worked in the community garden! I fell in love with tomatoes, cucumber vines and eggplant flowers.

So, no I didn’t have a title but I think in the long run it doesn’t really matter because I know the work was good and I know I learned something from it. My organizational skills were strengthened (I make the best to-do lists) and my writing skills improved. I learned to differentiate the writing tone of a blog compared to the tone of a grant proposal. I learned how to work with a team of colorful individuals, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Coming together to work on one project was always very inspirational. I learned how to interact with different people and how to emphasize their strengths to get the job done. I will miss the team as they move on with the project and I go off for my last year of college.

I learn by doing, by using my hands and my brain to solve a problem, which is why I enjoyed working in the garden so much. Oh and did I mention I learned how to can? There where a lot of firsts in this internship. My first time canning, my first time pressure canning, first time petting a hog, first time eating okra off the plant, first time making fried green tomatoes, first time breaking beans, first time eating tomatoes like they where apples (I hated tomatoes before this summer!). The list goes on but you get my drift.

As I wrap up these last couple days here I look back on all the good times we’ve spent here at the office. I am especially sad to leave Mr. Cooke and Candace as they have both become good friends of mine. They have taught me an immeasurable amount and given me good advice on just about anything from what tools to use in the garden to how to interact in a conference. Thank you Mr. Cooke for your patience and you laughter. Thank you Candace for your kindred spirit and your enthusiasm.