The Strength to Inspire

My name is Nadia Haile, I am a Michigan native and first generation Ethiopian-American. I grew up in a culturally diverse household that instilled a love and understanding of the importance of food in me at an early age. I graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Food Industry Management. My options post grad were mostly corporate positions, which were great opportunities, but I felt that I wanted to pursue something more community focused. When I stumbled across FoodCorps at my local career fair, I instantly felt the desire to be involved with the organization. FoodCorps has given me the opportunity to learn more about food, gardening, and nutrition all the while working with amazing students and teachers in a very connected community on the West Side of Detroit. My service site, Drew Farm, is a 2.5 acre urban farm, owned and operated by Detroit Public Schools Community District-Office of School Nutrition. Other than being a supplier of fresh, locally-sourced food for the school cafeterias, we host cost-free field trips for classes from across the district. The joy the students express after trying something new and then being able to teach their fellow classmates about food related topics that they feel passionate about is one of the most amazing parts of my service.

The Strength to Inspire

The sun beating down
Bright red peppers scattered on the porch
Grandma hunched over her chairs
Sifting through the drying rows
I play with my cousins
But stop to watch her
This feels like home.

Seasons change
Years pass
I am busy planning my week
The growers in the fields
Sifting and planting little cream bulbs
I stop to watch them
This feels like home.

Grandma, a strong Ethiopian woman
The Growers, strong Detroit women
All strong Black women
Grandma taught students cooking
The Growers teach students gardening
All deeply care for their communities

Grandma inspire her generations
The Growers inspire FoodCorps generations
All reasons I applied to FoodCorps
All reasons I am proud to serve at Drew Farms.

-Nadia Haile