Amanda Mendes Fernandes - Intern Spring 2020

"Having dedicated most of my career to studying plants in the academic environment, Social Harvest allowed me to develop technical skills in horticulture. During my journey with this enterprise, I've improved skills regarding urban agriculture, greenhouse maintenance, community engagement and customer service, entrepreneurship, and a series of work-related software and platforms. This new skill set has made me a more confident and competitive professional in agriculture.

Interestingly, a workday with the team (and earthworm mates at the vermicomposting bins) never felt like work. Time went by really quickly as we sowed, watered, cared, inspected, harvested, and packed microgreens. We were always testing different ways of growing microgreens, which allowed me to learn so much about these crops and use my academic background on trouble-shooting growth issues.

Our weekly meetings were productive moments filled with brainstorming and creativity. Communication between the team was always clear, open and honest. I felt valued in the workplace as I was always encouraged to make suggestions, ask questions and provide feedback. Also, I was frequently trusted with essential tasks, which made me feel like an important member of the team. Responsibilities were offered to me in a way that made me see them not as a burden, but as opportunities to grow and contribute to a bigger goal.

Besides my love and knowledge of plants being used to its maximum potential at Social Harvest, I was fortunate to be in an environment connected with many different fields. Our contact with colleagues at the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre (RRCRC), as well as the business development aspect of the social enterprise, brought new skills and thought patterns to my attention that helped me become a better professional and person.

At the RRCRC, the positive environment reinforced by supervisors and co-workers fuels all the staff to seek professional and personal improvement and promotes safety, growth and goal attainment. Besides giving me a more diversified skill set and bringing amazing people into my life, this experience showed me that having a positive impact through my work is vital to achieving career fulfillment. It has been an honour to be part of a project that has such a beautiful mission supporting other social service activities.

During my time at the Centre, I also had the chance to support Good Food at your Doorstep, a temporary fresh food delivery service in response to COVID-19 circumstances. My brief period with this project allowed me to learn more about the Centre's different programs, collaborate and interact with other co-workers, get closer to the community, and further understand the food insecurity issue.

I will always be grateful and appreciative of the support and guidance I received from my supervisor Myriam Faucher and the insights and contribution by my co-worker Jessica Souto during my internship at Social Harvest. I look forward to hearing about the success of this fantastic project and the great people involved! Now, I am excited to pursue my career as a Horticulture Technician with a local company."


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