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Posts Tagged ‘McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm’

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This week, I finish up with the McLaughlin Grows crew…

How long you guys been working here?

Michael:  “6 to 8 weeks.”

You guys like it?

Shaquille: “Yeah, it’s cool.  Teaches us life skills.”

How did you get this job?

Michael:  “At the pocket park, they had something going on, on a Saturday.  I went up there to help, and Michael Espinoza told me about it, that they had a summer job program going on, and would I be interested.  I said yeah.”

Shaquille:  “I got the job because I live in the neighborhood.  Trying to help out the community.”

Just for the summer, for you guys?

Michael:  “Yeah.  They’re trying to work it out so we can stay longer.”

And what do you think of Teri?

Michael:  “She’s laid back.”

Shaquille:  “She’s nice.”

Michael:  “She’s strict on us just enough.  Tells us a lot about the plants.  Most of us didn’t know anything about plants; we just know about the food.  And she told us the different plants, and what they do.”

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Is there a lot to learn?  I don’t really do gardening…er, farming, myself.

Shaquille:  “There’s a lot of work.”

AJ :  “A lot weeding.”

Michael:  “Leveling off the beds even.  Watering.”

AJ :  “Turning them over.”

Michael:  “After we got past the hard stuff, all we really do is weed and plant and water.  That’s all.  The first couple weeks were hard.  We had to turn the dirt over, then make all these beds.  Then we had to plant them all, and they cut the tree down.  That’s where all these wood chips came from.  Instead of picking up all the wood chips, we decided to just make a path out of them.”

What do you guys think about the neighborhood in general?  Do you like living here?

Michael:  “It’s a pretty good neighborhood.  Pretty decent.”

Now, are you the football player?

Michael:  “Yeah.”

What position?

Michael:  “Safety.”

What are your plans for the future?

Michael:  “I’m going into the criminal justice field.  Corrections officer maybe.”

Shaquille:  “You’re gonna see me; I’m gonna be a famous lawyer.”

So what are you working on today?

Michael:  “We’re planting these tomatoes we got from the prison.  Those ones we planted are diseased.  Blight, I think it’s called.”

Shaquille:  “And they got bronchitis.  Couple of them have AIDS.”

So what’s your favorite part about working here?

AJ :  “Getting money.”

Shaquille:  “Helping out the community.  Making it look much better than it did.”

Michael:  “At first it was just an empty lot.  There were glass bottles, trash.”

AJ :  “You could get cut out here.”

Michael:  “I used to cut through this yard, then one day I was walking and there was a fence up.  I was like, when did they put a fence up here?”

How about your least favorite thing?

AJ :  “When it’s hot.  Too hot.”

Shaquille:  “Yeah, you gotta weed.”

AJ :  “And the sun’s about to kill you.”

Michael:  “Other than that, it’s pretty fun.  Everybody gets along.  A lot of people pass by and ask what’s going on.”

AJ :  “Sometimes they drop us off something.”

Shaquille:  “You get little kids that walk up and down that are excited about what’s going on.”

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I stopped back at the McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm to catch up with Teri’s crew.  I interrupted them replanting some tomato plants, and so as not to shut down the entire operation, I only interviewed half the crew at a time.  And since it’s ladies first, here is my interview with Darcelle, Tiana, and Porche.

How do you like working out here?

Darcell: “It’s really fun.”

Tiyanna:  “The neighbors come past and compliment it a lot.”

Darcell:  “Something to do for the summer.”

Porche: “Something positive.  Making a difference.”

Darcell:  “Helping our neighborhood.”

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How did you get this job?

Tiyanna:  “My mom told me about Bethany Housing hiring and Mike Espinoza put us in the groups he thought would fit us.”

Darcell:  “My coach helped me.”

Porche:  “Well I go to Bethany church.  Most of the people at Bethany are involved in Community EnCompass.”

What sport do you play?

Darcell:  “I play basketball.”

What’s the worst part about working here?

Darcell: “There is no worst part.”

Porche:  “If it’s too hot or if it’s raining out.”

Tiyanna:  “Well, sometimes it’s better if it’s raining, but then mosquitoes come up.”

Darcell:  “Besides the sun, there is no worst part.”

Does everyone get along pretty well?

“We’re okay.”  “Love/hate situation.”  “We get along good.  We might have our ups and downs, but you know.”  “It’s girls against boys sometimes.”

Have you learned a lot working here?

Porche: “I have.”

Darcell:“I learned a lot.  I didn’t think gardening was like this.”

Tiyanna: “I appreciate farmers more, honestly.  I don’t know how they stand out there in the sun and do this all day, no breaks.  Shout out to all the farmers; I love you guys.”

You like working for Teri?

Tiyanna:  “Yeah, Teri’s a cool boss.”

Darcell:  “She’s real nice.”

Porche:  “She tolerates us.”

Darcell:  “A little too much.  But she helps us a lot.  She puts up with us when she really doesn’t have to.”

Porche:  “And she makes gardening easy.”

Darcell:  “She’s not hard; she doesn’t boss you around.”

What do like best about working here?

Tiyanna:  “I like the laughter.  The work environment.  It’s not like one of those jobs where you punch in and can’t wait to leave.”

Darcell:  “It’s fun because we all get along with each other.”

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What do you hope to see for this place in the future?

Tiyanna:  “I hope to see it filled with younger people than us.  Instead of hanging out on the street, they can be in here, making it better.  We can hopefully open up more beds and stuff.”

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