Enny Munthe grew up in a farming community in rural Indonesia, where she developed a deep knowledge and appreciation for farming and nature. Here she writes about her experience volunteering with Growing Veterans Farm, her new found love of volunteering and how she will bring this practice back to her community with a focus on organic farming. Enny is a Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) student at Whatcom Community College and is studying hospitality and tourism.
Growing up in a farming family and farming community has made me who I am today. Farming is the main livelihood in my hometown because North Sumatera is located in the highlands. Most people will have two or three garden fields with many kinds of plants. All family members are required to work at the farm to help their parents after school. We do not know places for hanging out like cafés, cinemas, or malls. Every day we just hang out in the farm with family and refresh our mind with fresh air, quiet places and beautiful view of plants.
I wanted to learn about how the farming system in the U.S is different from Indonesia. Also, I like to do outdoor activities. Therefore, last quarter I completed nineteen hours of volunteering at the Growing Veterans Farm in Bellingham, WA. This organization has a mission to empower military veterans. The Growing Veterans Farm’s goal is to provide job opportunities for veterans on the farm, to help provide food, and to make good relationships with communities through farming. The veterans come to volunteer and help with the courses on the farm. They also support the farm by supplying the farming tools. The main goal of Growing Veterans Farm is to change the local sustainable agricultural by planting organic plants. They have built two greenhouses for vegetables such as tomatoes, collard greens, green onions, and many more. Working in the greenhouse is my favorite thing. Every season Growing Veterans Farm has different kinds of organic plants to be distributed to markets in Bellingham and Seattle. The staff are so friendly welcoming us and helpful when we have questions.
Before I came to the United States, I did not know about volunteering. In my country generally any kind of job is paid per working hour. By visiting Growing Veterans Farm I absorbed a lot of things about volunteering. For example, many people have a willingness to do any kind of job; no matter if old or young, people are excited to work in the farm.
Through my farming experiences in the U.S. I learned about how an organization is willing to develop the community and to honor the veterans in the U.S. In addition, I meet with new friends, share the food, and we can take home some of the organic plants. Volunteering at the farm is also really helpful for exercising our bodies after a long school day. I learned about many kinds of organic plants, about the farming system in the U.S and I improved my farming skills that I brought from my home town. I will definitely share all these experiences with my family when I go back to Indonesia. I would like to open their minds that local organic plants can save our world from negative impacts of globalization.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by the student bloggers.