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Placemaking with a Purpose

Today was the big day I led a victory garden in Cary. It was a busy morning, but it was tons of fun. Everything went smoothly, and I think the garden turned out well. Katherine seemed really excited about it. I’m excited to go back in a few weeks and see how everything looks. It’ll be a nice end to what has been a great learning experience. Victory Garden Network’s mission is to mentor students in learning soft-skills to increase job marketability. Throughout the entire process, I worked with Shamsa (who was a wonderful mentor!) to learn leadership, fundraising, and event coordinating skills. I enhanced my leadership skills today when I had to coordinate each group and make sure that each group was on task, and I learned event coordinating skills when I had to make sure that everyone was in the right place at the right time. Fundraising skills were the hardest thing for me to learn. I’m not big on social media, and using social media to fundraise is a skill that I had to learn.

Shamsa Visone (left) Jennie Wagner (right)

Overall, I think the biggest lesson I learned throughout this whole experience was remembering that it is okay to ask people for help. I’m a little bit of a control freak and I have a hard time delegating tasks. The installation today forced me to delegate. I was more of a supervisor and walked around answering questions and problem-solving as opposed to actually doing the tasks. That was a new experience for me and forced me to ask for help from everyone, as I couldn’t do everything myself. It reminded me that sometimes it’s okay to ask for help and that I don’t always have to have perfect control of everything.

I have so many people to thank for today! I owe Shamsa Visone a huge thanks for her patience, guidance, and help putting everything together. Thank you to Katherine Loflin as well for opening her home to us and for being so helpful and patient throughout this entire process. I’m so glad we got to give you a Victory Garden! Thanks to my parents for providing so many of the vegetable transplants and for giving gardening advice. Y’all are the best! Shout out to Justin Vance for taking pictures - I can’t wait to see them all! Thanks to Dr. Patterson for lending us his tools and van and for sending the volunteer opportunity out to his classes.

Lastly, thanks to all the volunteers - from NC State Campus Farmers’ Market, from Dr. Patterson’s classes, and from Haven House. You all did a great job and we couldn’t have done it without you! Also this project would not have come to fruition without donations from Esther Loflin, my mom, Kathy Davis, Leah Wagner, Janie Styers, and Francesco Visone. Every little bit helps. With your donations in addition to soil, we were able to buy a net to keep the deer, coyotes, rabbits, birds, and squirrels from eating Grace's vegetables. Hopefully the greenhouse will help the carrots form roots. I am grateful for this intense, but wonderful leadership experience. I look forward to graduating in June and using my soft skills in both my personal and professional life.

-Jennie Wagner

Victory Garden

Student Leader

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