VG Net's First Student Leader: Roshan


Roshan Patel is a 9th grader at Broughton High School. As a part of his internship, he led a Victory Garden installation at his family's home. Here in his project reflection, Roshan describes his project and the experiences leading up to it.

April 9th Installation

Project Reflection By Roshan Patel

Date: 3/30

I am slightly nervous about this project, as I have not...really done anything like it, and was not expecting to do it. As the time counts down to the day the project begins I become more nervous, though I know I will get over it and accomplish the task at hand. I cannot wait for the results.

I am learning quite a bit about making a garden almost from scratch. I am also learning about how to carry out a leadership position in a group. This is not the first time I have lead others, but is most definitely the most amount of people I am leading at one time. I learned it helps a lot to be involved with a lot of different people, because I know most of what we are receiving is of the kindness and generosity of others who have materials at their disposal. On top of that, this will be a very important time to be courteous and to work well in groups. Coordinating a project such as this is no small task for me, but I am happy I received it and am excited to begin.

Probably the most exciting thing for me is to harvest all of the vegetables and fruits that we will plant, and finding different and new ways to cook them into something delicious. My family and I are vegetarians. We are excited to learn to improve soil quality by composting, planting according to a guide, taking care of our own areas in the yard, learning about what we can grow our zone and of course cooking together. I know this will be hard to believe, but I cook also. Sometimes I even cook three meals a day. Last week I baked gluten free bread for my mom.

There must be at least 20 different plants and vegetables that will be planted and all of them will make the garden look amazing. They are:​

Date: 4/8

There’s still a week left before we plant and I have been taking care of the seedlings. I provide the plants with a plentiful supply of water and water them every other day. I leave them in the sun throughout the day and take them in at night depending on how low the temperature gets. My cat Nala loved the lemongrass. We had to take it away from her.

Date: 4/8

It’s the night before. Mrs. Visone just stopped by to tell us what to expect tomorrow. My parents were going to go to Fayetteville for a Holi celebration, but they are not going. They said this project is too important for them to miss. We are expecting about 15 - 20 college and high school students. There will be projects going on. We are all assigned a project. I am in charge of getting the picket fence painted. My mom is in charge of the wildflower area. My dad will need to watch a few videos on YouTube to learn how to plant some trees. My brother, who is 12 years old, is in charge of taking photos. We are expecting Haven House youth, Service Raleigh students and NCSU SEEDS group. I have to get up extra early tomorrow to take before photos.

Saturday, April 9th

Installation Day!

Date: 4/10

About 18 people came yesterday, 11 youth and 7 adults (including the Papa John’s pizza guy). My dog Simba was there too. At the start, there were three people working on the fence, 7 – 8 others were working on the part right beside the fence, and another 4 – 5 people were taking out the long grass and digging up the soil. There were some other people working on around the front of the house planting the trees. In the beginning Mrs. Visone assigned all the youth a letter and then assigned the same letters to the college students. Then we had to team up with them.

That’s how I got my fence painting team. The fence was supposed to have 5 different colors. The best way to not confuse everyone, I wrote A, B, C, D, or E on every panel. Then A, B, C, D and E on the paint cans. The colors were to be painted in sequence. So no one gets confused and messes up the color scheme. Everyone who was working on the fence used a paintbrush, and at one point I needed a hammer to secure the fence properly against the horizontal plank. Everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun painting the fence. I did forget the paint the gate, which I will have to paint myself. Oh I also recruited my friend Gilbert from school to join the project. He had a nice time.

Mrs. Shamsa Visone thought the fence would be one of the shorter projects to complete that day, but it was actually the project that took the longest time to finish. By the time everyone else was done, the fence was only half way, so my dad ran inside to find more brushes. He found 5 more and 5 more people began to work on the fence.

Other teams planted the trees and prepared the soil. People working around the front used shovels to dig up the soil and plant the trees. They didn’t know what they were doing, so John helped them. He knew a lot about trees. People who were preparing the soil for planting used hoes, wheelbarrows, and shovels. The project leader for the college students, Abhilash Kusam first organized his group, and then assigned projects to everyone. He met with the students in a circle before starting.

People I met as a part of this project were the student leader Abhilash Kusam, David and Karen Guy, who donated the compost. Dr. Bob Patterson who drove a big blue van on Friday full of lots of tools and then came back on Sunday to see the finished projects and drove the van back. That was a really big van. He also gave us gloves.

Donations: The vegetable plants were donated by Grow & Share, the sign was donated by North State Sign shop, the flowers plants, paint brushes, stepping stones, and post for the sign was all donated by Francesco Visone. He said Sherwin Williams gave him a big discount on paint and paint brushes because they are so nice. Last but not least, the compost bins were donated by Mrs. Shamsa Visone. She will help me learn about vermiculture. I’m starting to collect egg shells and food scraps.

The next step in completing my internship is to do a presentation. I think I will ask my classmate Gilbert if he wants to present with me.

Thank you for reading my reflection piece on my Victory Garden journey!

#StudentReflection #Intern

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