Practicing Gratitude




“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”

– Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden



I believe that showing appreciation and kindness to others is one of the most important and influential acts that a person can make. Gratitude is everything. As a FoodCorps service member working in a low-income, minimally-funded community, gratitude keeps my program running. During the day, I funnel all of my energy into getting my students to learn how to eat healthy foods and grow their own, but at the end of the day, my second job is to give thanks to those who make it possible.

Seeing these K-8 kids succeed in becoming happy and healthy human beings is my greatest hope for this work. I have gratitude for every kid who tries a new fruit or vegetable — no matter how funny they think it looks or smells. I have gratitude for my family, who raised me to show love and respect to all people, myself, and my body, through the act of eating well. And I especially have gratitude for all of the community support I receive in my service.

Jenneve and Zyon showing off their freshly harvested purple carrot at the Lincoln Elementary School garden.

In order to express my deep thanks for this generosity, I interviewed 9 people who all play a role in my service. These people are dedicated, skilled, hard-working and genuinely care about their work. Without them, I couldn’t do what I do everyday (or, maybe I could…just not as seamlessly and it definitely wouldn’t be as much fun!)

Allee Steinberg, Two Bites Bakery, Prescott Farmers Market

Greatest Passion: Local foods!

Secret Superpower: Quick Thinker. “My brain is filled with useless information, that comes in handy sometimes. Customers at the market ask the strangest questions. It’s good if you can come up with a fairly believable answer.”

Hope Wilson, Family, Consumer and Health Sciences, Cooperative Extension

Greatest Passion: Learning and teaching new things.

Secret Superpower: Strategic. “ I love coming up with new ideas as part of a group. Being strategic helps me think about how actions now might impact goals and objectives in the future.”

Group Shot
From left to right: Kelley, Sharmel, Elena, Rebecca, and Katie, showing off the voting board after a local radish taste test at Taylor Hicks Elementary School.

Katie McDaniel, Health Educator, Yavapai County Community Health Services

Greatest Passion: Education.

Secret Superpower: Kindness. “As much as possible, it’s so important to be warm and understanding with both kids and adults. Showing kindness oftentimes is undervalued.”
Kelley Villa, Market Manager, Prescott Farmers Market

Greatest Passion: Food Justice.

Secret Superpower: Strength. “I get both mental and physical endurance from my hot yoga practice. It’s super handy while balancing two jobs and keeping a smile on my face!”

Taylor Hicks Taste Test  10-27-15
From left to right: Kelley, Elena, Katie, and Kathleen, serving up local spinach at Taylor Hicks Elementary School.

Pamela Liuzzo, Nutritionist, Humboldt Unified School District

Greatest Passion: Family and Community Health.

Secret Superpower: Wellness. “It’s a way of life. Students are more likely to listen to what you have to say if they know you practice what you preach.”

Paul Katan, Grants Director, Prescott Unified School District

Greatest Passion: Healthy Food Access.

Secret Superpower: Chef! “My secret superpower is being able to cook for a lot of people, it’s true! Having done this through social services, restaurants and for family events, my superpower helps me connect with others through the cultural language of food!”
Rebecca Serratos, SNAP-Ed Program Coordinator, Cooperative Extension

Greatest Passion: Sustainable, local foods.

Secret Superpower: Chameleon. “No really, it’s true! I have the uncanny ability to be able to fit in and flow with a variety of people and situations.  In order to see any of my dreams and goals realized I need to be open to who I come in contact with and conscious of how I treat them.”

Rebecca and Katie - Aguilar Farms
Rebecca and Katie join Mr. Aguilar in showing off his beautiful radishes. These radishes were used in two school-wide taste tests during the month of March.

Sharmel Jordan, Health Education Coordinator, Yavapai County Community Health Services

Greatest Passion: Supporting local farmers.

Secret Superpower: Practice what you preach. “I personally believe in what I teach about nutrition and believe in supporting health prevention, I think we are responsible for our health and living a balanced life keeps us happy and healthy.”
Tami Hitt-Wyant, Director of Food and Nutrition, Humboldt Unified School District

Greatest Passion: Student Health.

Secret Superpower: Budgeting for Health. “I don’t know if it is a super power, but being a working Mom gives me perspective. I have always had a passion for child nutrition, but having two of those children as my own really makes it personal.”

Several people who responded are members of the Prescott Farmers Market Board of Directors and others are members of Yavapai Seasonal Harvest, a collaborative effort to promote fruit and vegetable consumption and local agriculture in Yavapai County. Thank you all for your passions, secret superpowers, and making this community a great place to serve!

Trevor, planting at the Mile High Middle School garden.

What are you grateful for today?

A radish flower.