Tag Archives: food justice

Get the Dirt on Katie, Our School Gardens VISTA!

From the Worcester Regional Environmental Council …

For those of you that I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Katie Rozenas and I am serving my second year as the [the Regional Environmental Council’s] School Gardens AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).

My job is to provide technical garden support and educational resources to 27 school and educational gardens throughout the city of Worcester.

People often ask me why I chose to become an AmeriCorps VISTA. The answer is simple. After graduation, I wanted to be an advocate for food justice and work with an organization whose mission is very close to my heart.

Farming is an integral part of my family heritage and there is no doubt that I have farming blood running through my veins. Growing up, I had the privilege of going to my grandparent’s farm in Oxford to get fresh fruits and vegetables directly from the farmers that grew them. I eventually worked with my grandmother for over 5 years at the Worcester and Holden farmers’ markets.

Between working at the farmers’ market and getting funny looks from my college classmates for eating raw green beans, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers in class, I soon realized that many people, especially young people were unaware of where their food comes from, and the importance of eating fresh locally grown food.

Being part of the “REC Food Justice League,” (as we affectionately call ourselves) has been a unique and rewarding experience which has fueled my optimism for future generations.

It has been an honor to have the unique opportunity to teach garden-based educational activities to students ranging from pre-school to 12th grade. Over 2,400 students and 240  teachers have taken advantage of their school garden and the resources offered through our network this year. 
This past April at Tatnuck Magnet Elementary School, I and three volunteers led a school-wide educational activity called I Can Eat a Whole Plant. The activity highlighted the various plant parts that we eat. To begin, each student shared what their favorite vegetable was. Some of the students responded by saying, “I’m allergic to all vegetables,” “I heard that vegetables are bad for you,” and “I don’t like any vegetables, they are gross.”

I asked every student to try a bite of a vegetable sample as part of our activity, thinking that some might spit it out but hoping for the best. I was shocked but overjoyed when every single student in the school sampled all the vegetables. Many even asked for seconds!

During the spring when I feel the most overwhelmed by all of the work that I have to do, I remember Margaret Mead’s quote: “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

I immediately feel empowered, and reassured that the work we are doing is important and meaningful to thousands of students throughout the city.

I love coordinating the School Gardens Network and the experiences I’ve had working at the REC have been invaluable and truly memorable. I am thrilled to work with an amazing and dedicated Food Justice Staff, devoted volunteers, thankful teachers, and inspiring youth.

Katie Rozenas is REC’s School Gardens Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA

Main South: Order your YouthGrow Thanksgiving pies today!

YouthGrow Thanksgiving pies!

These pies are beautiful, delicious ad made with lots of food justice love!

Buy one for Thanksgiving dinner and one to just to have…because they’re that good.

Get your Thanksgiving Pie from your favorite Food Justice organization!

Organic, local apple pies made from scratch available for order now!

Pick up or delivery of unbaked apple pies on Monday, November 24. You bake it fresh for Thanksgiving morning! All-butter crust or vegan on request for the low price of $20 per pie. Email youthgrow@recworcester.org to place your order today!



Tuesdays and Fridays 2:30-5pm:

Harvest, Overwinter, and Help put the Farm to Bed @ Oreanic Farm (63 Oread St.) now through November 18!


Celebrate Food Day, Worcester!


Food Day is October 24! Worcester is celebrating!  Tonight at the Woo City Council meeting check out what Liz Castro has in store for us! And … Support REC’s work in Worcester: the REC mobile farmers market van (pictured above with a future Worcester leader! ); the REC Oread Street community garden; REC’s Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays farmers markets in Main South and across the street from Foley Stadium. Check out the REC website to learn so much more about food and food JUSTICE and to get the schedules for all their farmers markets – click here!

Learn to eat good food … SEE the politics behind food! The brutal factory farms that supply most Americans with their meat. The way the factory farms destroy their workers’ souls, right along with the animals’.

Diet…high in fat when you eat meat…no matter what the source…= HEART DISEASE, HIGH CHOLESTEROL

Global warming exacerbated by all the factory farms…

Inner-city folks and their lack of access to supermarkets where fresh produce is sold 24/7 at much lower costs than the neighborhood Honey Farms, which is basically stocked with canned food! (Death to all Honey Farms stores! Bring back the local mom and pop markets!)

To learn all about FOOD DAY, check out this great website! CLICK HERE!

From Woo’s REC – Earth Day clean up and more!


The Regional Environmental Council (REC) has organized Earth Day events for than twenty years in Worcester with the help of Community Organizations, Youth and Local Agencies coming together to care for, and ensure our neighborhoods are clean and safe.

You can participate in different ways.

Become a Site Coordinator for a site you want to see picked up, or just join a group to help out. For further information or interested in becoming site coordinator, please call Koby or Benito at the REC on 50875323003 or 508-799-9139 or email earthday@recworcester.org

Please come join the over 1,500 volunteers!

Become an Earth Day Volunteer

Become an Earth Day Site Coordinator

Become an Earth Day Sponsor

Want to get more involved in the REC’s Work?

Food Justice Internships:

Are you looking for ways to get involved in the Food Justice Movement in Worcester?

Do you believe that everyone has the right to healthy, sustainable affordable, culturally appropriate food?

Do you have an internship requirement or community service hours or a desire to volunteer and get involved in your community?

The Food Justice Team at the REC is looking for interns for the winter, spring, summer and fall of 2014 to help shape, lead and move our important work forward. Internships may be flexible and we encourage people interested to contact the appropriate staff to customize a schedule or project to meet your interest or needs.