Rheannon Fultz has been a seasonal member of Project GROWS since 2018, and today we would like to highlight the important role she plays on our team. We have the pleasure of having her on the team again this year, and Rheannon will be with us for a few more weeks before starting a new journey studying biology at Bridgewater College! Her passion for agricultural work and her bright attitude have been an endless source of happiness for the Project GROWS team both on the farm and remotely during COVID-19. We are so thankful for all the work she has done for us, and we are so excited that we will get to continue working with Rheannon for the rest of the summer! Below are some words from Rheannon describing her time at Project GROWS:

Farming. This is something I never thought I would be interested in. However, when I began working at Project GROWS, I was introduced to a whole new perspective on farming. I discovered Project GROWS as a rising senior of Fort Defiance High School when I volunteered during the summer of 2018. I was blown away by the passion of the community and wanted more. When I began working as a Summer Youth Staff in June of 2019, I knew nothing about farming. I am thankful that Project GROWS places a special focus on young people, encouraging them to learn and explore. Where does our food come from? How is it produced? How can we benefit the land during the growing process? All of these questions pushed me to look further into farming and agriculture. I began to discover how to recognize local veggies, weeds, animals, and pests. As I became more absorbed into the world of farming, my perspective continued to change. I became aware of the importance of smaller farms, such as Project GROWS, and how they are able to reach and connect to communities in ways that larger farms struggle to. I even began to learn about different farming techniques involving pollination, crop rotation, polyculture, and permaculture, and how these techniques, which fall under the umbrella of sustainable agriculture, can be utilized in ways that help the planet. Project GROWS allowed me to see that sustainable agriculture should not be thought of as a sacrifice, but as a better way of living! 

Each week, I enjoy working at Project GROWS performing general farm maintenance such as seeding, transplanting, weeding, and prepping beds. I harvest and prepare food for our CSA program, schools, restaurants, and our partner organizations. I can say with confidence that I witness my work impacting the community daily. There is never a day when I don’t learn something new! As the end of 2020’s August rolls by, I’ll finish my second year as a Summer Youth Staff. I am excited to continue my education at Bridgwater College, where I will be studying Biology. I am then planning to enter the College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS) at Virginia Tech, where I hope to increase my knowledge of plant and environmental sciences. I am thankful to Project GROWS for creating this spark in me. I am thankful to Project GROWS for motivating and grounding me even in uncertain times. Most importantly, I am thankful to Project GROWS for helping me become a leader, an achiever, and a veggie fanatic.