"When I first started with the Food Project, I was 14 I think, and I was looking for a summer job. I was on the waiting list for a while. I got mad. But they called me and I didn’t have anything to do so I just decided to join. I wasn’t interested in it at all. I was just interested in the money aspect of working. But after that, you tend to get attached to it.
What surprised me is seeing how it can change the people around you. Being able to grow collards and bringing them to your neighbors, you’re like, 'oh, any collards today?' and you can see that excitement on their faces. Or walking home with a bag of raspberries, I’ll stop by the park and kids are like, ‘What is that? Let me get some of that!’ Being able to bring vegetables home, it’s very different than just going to the grocery store. You actually know like, I worked hard to grow it and harvest it.
The way it’s running right now, the greenhouse is really part of the community. When you’re here you just tend to blend in with everything. You know everything. You know who’s coming in, you know what time they’re coming in. I just met a group of people. Working in the greenhouse, you see little kids coming through and you tend to get attached. I could walk around like, ‘oh hey, how ya doin’, how was your day?’ When you see ‘em around, little kids will introduce you to their family, like ‘hey, that’s my friend at The Food Project.'
It’s like you create a new family within the old garden environment.
Felix was my little buddy during the summer. He’s like 10, 11. He would come help me when I’m working. He’d come through and help harvest tomatoes and put ‘em in boxes. He was just like my little assistant. The assistant’s assistant. He’d be here everyday, right on time. He’s not getting paid for it, but it’s just the experience of having someone you can look up to and like having someone you can talk to. I’m like, a relaxed person, so it doesn’t matter how old you are.
Food plays a big role in everything. Living in this neighborhood for a while, I walk around and see people standing looking at a garden, just, like, admiring it for a second, or they wanna know, ‘what is that?’ Me, knowing the knowledge, I’d probably stop by and say what it is. Seeing all these vegetables growing around, people wanna know what it is and how to be a part of it. I like growing food and being part of a community of people, and starting to change things around.
I went to Tuskegee University last year. I transferred to Bunker Hill, and now I’m just planning on doing the Marines, going about that. Sometimes you just gotta try something new. Boston’s just too small. Going to Alabama, it just made me open my eyes and want to experience new things and I think the Marines is a good way to experience new things. You never know, you might meet somebody from Texas or someone from out far. You could always talk about food. It goes back into everything. It’s just always something you can talk about every day."