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A reflection by student volunteer, Claire

I was very excited when I found out that my World Populations and Food Prospects class was taking a field trip to volunteer with the Victory Garden Network in effort to plant a garden for a family in Southeast Raleigh. I learned that “victory gardens” or “food gardens for defense” popped up during World War I and II at private residences and public parks all over the United States. VG Net wants to connect young people like myself to a community where we learn by doing.

As a student, it can be hard to give back to society, so we were all very thankful for this opportunity. Shamsa, the Program Manager for the garden installation, presented our class with an organized game plan in order to maximize our time and effort spent. This allowed us to be prepared to start right when we arrived. Even with a few challenges due to rain, we managed to plant a garden and create a composting area in a family's backyard. Dr. Patterson provided transportation and tools for the installation. I served on a team that painted some cylinder blocks surrounding the garden, and this added color and curb appeal. I was really proud of how our class and the other volunteers worked together on this project. It was a joy to see the smiles on the faces of the two kids who lived at this home; they were incredibly eager to help and work alongside us. This project was very inspirational because of the impact we made on the family by helping them. Now, home gardens can spread through their neighborhood and provide a more sustainable lifestyle for everyone.

-Claire Veeder Exploratory Studies Student

Claire (right) with other student volunteers and Shamsa (most left) in front of the new Victory Garden

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