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Sam McDonald had an Internship. by Sam Scalice

December 16, 2018
  • Sam and other gardeners working in summer 2018
  • Island harvest food bank garden

This summer I had the experience of interning at Island Harvest Food Bank, located in Hauppauge, Long Island. Island Harvest is the largest food bank on Long Island where 95 cents of every dollar received is put directly into hunger relief in local communities. My boss and I spent the summer tending to plants, growing fresh produce that was distributed all over the Long Island community to those facing food insecurity. Additionally, we provided environmental and nutritional education for children of various ages, as well as volunteers ranging from children to adults.

Boy, working on a 2 acre farm is hard work! Each day after working I would spend the following day sore and tired, and overall looking to stay the heck out of the sun, but it was worth it when I thought about just how many people were benefiting from the food that came out of the farm. We grew everything from squash, eggplant, and corn, all the way to broccoli and even watermelon (plus many more!). It was super interesting for me to watch the various seedlings and how they differ in appearance as they grew. It was great when I was finally able to start harvesting some of food we grew as well; My favorite to harvest were the potatoes, which got pulled right out off the dirt! Occasionally, I got to talk to the people who were picking up our vegetables and they were always so grateful to have access to fresh and organic produce. Produce foods are some of the most nutritious and also some of the most limited items at food banks and food distribution sites.

I really enjoyed getting to spend time with local children at their schools and teach them about the importance of nutrition, self sufficiency, sustainability, and just science in general— because heck yeah science! The kids were able to plant their very own community gardens and always reacted so well to the activities. I loved having my mind blown everyday I went to a school at how smart the children were, especially at a such young ages. To me this internship was a lot of fun because I felt like I was making a direct impact on people’s lives and futures.