Community Connections Fostered by California Conservation Corpsmembers
CCC members ( right center to left center) Rhonda
McCracken & Robert Mauch and Americorps VISTA members Jordan Serin &
Rafferty hosting a workshop in the CCC’s community garden at the
center in Fortuna.
As part of Cesar Chavez Healthy Communities Project’s Youth Conference
“Own Your Community”, California Conservation Corps and Americorps VISTA
members presented a workshop, “Hunger: What Would Cesar Do?” for 22
regional high school students. The annual event, held at Fortuna’s River
Lodge, brought together 150 students from Del Norte, Humboldt and
Mendocino counties and provided them a forum to learn about local
community needs, explore their personal civic responsibility, and develop
an understanding about the life and values of Cesar Chavez.
Students convened on Thursday, September 25th for breakfast and a keynote
address, then broke into chosen workshops. CCC members began their
workshop with a walk to the center, challenging the attendees to imagine
marching for a cause during the time of Cesar Chavez’ struggle for decent
conditions of migrant farm workers in California.
The workshop presented perspectives on hunger and community solutions and
responsibilities surrounding this issue. Using the garden as the
classroom, participants engaged in hands-on exploration of organic produce
as a means of combating hunger.
The CCC organic garden grows and donates produce to Eureka’s Food for
People as part of a national campaign with local steering by VISTA Sarah
Hoskinson. Known as Plant-A-Row, the program currently enlists help from
11 Humboldt County groups and individuals as well as many people in the
community who bring excess produce directly to the food bank. This year,
the Food Bank has already received nearly 1,500 pounds of fresh produce
from PAR participants and backyard gardeners. They have received over
11,000 pounds of produce from local farmers helping to feed 9000-10,000
Humboldt County residents every month.
California Conservation Corps’ participation in PAR is only a small part
of the organization’s commitment to community. In Summer 2003, CCC members
contributed over 500 hours of their free-time to local organizations and
events including the Fortuna Autorama, Fortuna Rodeo Days, Rio Dell’s
Wildwood Days, the Redwood Summer Games, Habitat for Humanity, Vagabond
Players, and Sequoia Springs Living Center.
Robert Mauch and students planting organic carrots
Corpsmembers wrapped up the hour-long workshop by leading the group in
planting organic carrots, turnips, broccoli, and cabbage. Now just little
sprouts, the veggies will be ready for harvest and donation before the
cover-crop is sown and the rains begin to fall.
Article submitted by Rafferty, Americorps VISTA member at the
California Conservation Corps. For more information, photos, or volunteer
opportunities contact Rafferty or Stacy @ 707-725-5106