by Adra Klopfer, Work & Travel Placement Coordinator

My face and brand new Greenheart t-shirt are sticky stained with golden cherry tomato juice, Turkish “gorusuruz” (see you later!) is the latest member of my foreign vocab arsenal, and I raked a dusty potato field side by side with our very first female participant from Jordan.  The 2011 Going Greenheart Tour is in full swing.

CCI's first female participant from Jordon

CCI’s first female participant from Jordon

Second stop on CCI’s Going Greenheart Tour is with Kings Dominion employees at Shalom Farms in Virginia.  Together we picked 46 pounds of golden cherry tomatoes, harvested 110 pounds of corn, and raked and weeded until our sunscreen melted off.  The food will go off to Richmond, Virginia neighborhoods that do not have access to fresh produce in their grocery stores.  Our elbow grease will go straight to bicep strengthening… fingers crossed.

Being around all of this fresh, fresh food got me to thinking… what has happened to Americans doing their own farming?  What would I actually eat if I buried my own seeds, watered them daily, and plucked those fruits and veggies right out of the dirty earth?  You certainly can’t dig up a pepperoni pizza with a garden ho, shovel it into a wheelbarrow with a pitchfork, and cart it off for cooking.  There’s so much appreciation that comes from seeing where your food is born.  Do you know where everything you ate today came from?

Our J1 International Work and Travel students politely tell me that they love our American food (Salt! Grease! Sugar! Oh my!), but they also confess that they miss the fresh food that they eat back in Turkey and Jordan.

And just now I’ve decided that I miss fresh food in my diet and I have a new personal dare: for the next 7 days, I will only eat fresh, unprocessed food.  What will I do without Trader Joe’s frozen burritos and Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast sandwiches?  I am not quite sure.

What I am sure of is that if I didn’t get out to the farm today and volunteer, I would not have this deepened fresh food appreciation or this new personal challenge.  Get out there and volunteer and see where it will take you!

Our Shalom Farms Volunteers

Our Shalom Farms Volunteers