New Roots Intern, Dejon Day (left) and friend, Taylor Ryan (right).
I had just returned home from my internship with New Roots, Inc. I carried a big bag full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Corn on the cob, green beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, potatoes, peppers, onions, Kale greens, squash, zucchini, eggplant, fresh frozen grass fed, and free roaming chicken were spread on the kitchen table. My friend, Taylor, and I brainstormed on what to cook and how to cook it. I mean let’s be real, as college students who grew up in poverty, we had never been able to eat freshly grown foods without preservatives and other additives that are common in processed foods. This is why being a part of this internship is such a blessing for me. Every Thursday I know that I will be able to get at least 15 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fresh meat at a low rate.
There is a level of peace that comes with being able to meet one’s needs. Certainty that securing food will not be an issue leaves me with a very positive outlook on life. It also helps me realize how big of an impact New Roots can have on a family. Sometimes I think people take for granted how important our diet is to our overall health, not just physical health but also mental and spiritual health. When these three components become healthy, we become better prepared to be productive citizens in our communities. This is a goal worth any level of work, compromise, and cooperation.
Taylor and I decided to sear the chicken, bake the corn in the oven, and cook some frozen spinach on the stove. Needlessly to say the food was amazing but there was something more. As I ate the chicken I was amazed at the difference of texture and flavor in comparison to what I was accustomed to eating. The meat itself was tougher and more whole. I was so shocked by these differences that I bought some chicken from the grocery store just to compare. The difference was sickening. It was almost hard to believe that on a daily basis for almost the entirety of my life, I had eaten this meat that was soft and slimy, that was stuffed with steroids to add girth to my food, and that contained substances that had negative or unknown effects on my body.
Long story short, at this point I only purchase meat from the Fresh Stop because it is of a greater quality and is pocket friendly. As I interact with the people we serve, I now feel more comfortable and motivated because I know for a fact that if I convince someone to participate in a New Roots Fresh Stop, I have convinced them to do something that will help sustain them and their children by offering a diverse selection of healthy foods for them to eat consistently from week to week. New Roots is a blessing in the communities that have adopted its Fresh Stops.