Let’s Build Garden City!‘s huge citywide workshop series How to Make A Million While Selling Your Crops in the Hood is the gift that keeps giving! Here’s our Q&A with Bridgeport-based educator & activist Milan Anderson! Stay tuned for more gem-filled interviews with farmers in your area! See you next Spring ^_^
Who are you?
Milan Anderson, [I] apprenticed at Living Roots farm in 2016, worked for Urban Canopy as market manager and farm hand, obtained a Master of Urban Farmer Training with University of Illinois Extension summer of 2018, hosted weekly garden workshops for kids at El Paseo Community Garden summer of 2019 and have been an avid forager in Chicago the past year, making medicines out of what most people consider weeds 🙂
What’s some advice you have for students starting out as a professional in the agriculture industry?
You might need to volunteer and intern first go get your feet wet and later use that experience to apply for paid positions. It might take a season or two of volunteering low key for a garden, but it could pay off in the long run. For instance, I was a volunteer gardener at El Paseo and when I found out they wanted a kids garden program, since I was already a contributing member, the garden directors were happy to fund the kids workshops I created. You never know where your involvement might lead so just put yourself out there!
Do you have any words of encouragement for someone just looking for a fun service learning project to do?
Try and be present, really in the moment and think through the different tasks you are doing (what could make it more effective, or make it easier on others) so you can make the most of the experience.
What’s the secret to students treating each other right?
Be kind to yourself, and apply that kindness to people around you.
Anything else you want to talk about?
Learn about permaculture (aka permanent agriculture or growing food forests), it is awesome to use this to your benefit and the ecosystem’s benefit. A lot of organic farms already use some of these practices to sustainably grow, but could add more. With climate change, it is even more important to learn about these practices that stem from indigenous people’s ways of growing in harmony with nature.
Can we share your social media?
Yes! ecocentric_gurl is my insta.