Meet Rodrigo, CSG Food Justice Intern

Posted by on Nov 25, 2019 | Comments Off on Meet Rodrigo, CSG Food Justice Intern

Meet Rodrigo, CSG Food Justice Intern

This year we celebrate 10 years of growing, learning, connecting, leading, and healing together!

Ten years ago, when the garden program first started at Buford, I was 8 years old and in the third grade. It wasn’t a few years until I had my first experience in the garden. It was kinda of hard time for me in middle school. Mentally, I was feeling very frustrated and didn’t really know how to handle my emotions. I also didn’t feel very valued or appreciated by many of my peers. And, I would have gone through the school feeling desperately alone if it wasn’t for my time in the garden. Being in the garden helped me to manage my feelings in a healthy way and that is very important to a developing child in middle school.

Since that first time I walked into the garden, the class was accepting and loving. It just seemed like everyone was cooperating and working together to achieve a common goal. At the time, I had never had a garden for myself. So, I liked taking responsibility and ownership in the garden and it made my life feel more at peace and very happy.

Together, we have been growing in the garden for 10 years. It is amazing to look back at the
impact of our collective efforts. Can you make a financial contribution to help City Schoolyard
Garden maintain our growing environments in 2020 and beyond?

It’s not just plants that grow in the garden. When I started as an intern, I never really considered

myself in a leadership position. It just felt natural to look after my peers. We were in the mindset to work and we worked together. We knew we had to get a job done. When we worked with volunteers, it honestly just felt like another language. You know how when you speak another language, you kind of just switch? It just felt natural to be a leader. Working here has allowed me to practice a lot of leadership skills. I can’t think of any specific situation where I had to tell myself “it’s time to be a leader,” because it’s something you just do.

 This program made me feel relaxed enough that it felt like another hobby. But, also serious enough that you know you have to be a leader. The gardens provide the space for us to grow into leaders.

Donations from community members like you make this possible. Please give today! You can feel good knowing that your financial support is growing plants, learning, leadership, equity, connection, and healing for Charlottesville’s young people.

Last month I was at the ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of desegregation of our schools. It was an honor to stand by the Charlottesville 12 members and their parents who proudly worked to make a more just environment in our schools. It made me feel like we were preserving a very important part of history. We designed a sundial to honor them. Personally, I wanted to make a symbol for our students that even though things might look bad now, there is always progress happening in history. Regardless of your age, you can do better things and make history.

There are numerous studies that show the positive impacts gardening has on youth. Being in natural environments has been proven to decrease stress and fatigue; increase creativity, problem-solving and academic success; enhance inner peace and contribute to healthier and happier youth.

It has meant a lot to me and the many students who have grown up with the CSG Gardens, to become interns and then to join the CSG staff. Please join us with your financial support and together, we will grow in the gardens.

With appreciation for your partnership,

Rodrigo Nunez

CSG Food Justice Intern


In our 10th year, CSG is excited to deepen our roots and partnerships. Stay tuned in the early spring when we will launch the next phase of our strategic vision to cultivate growth and community with youth and families.