Your Gift to Rosalinda: The Power of Nature

December 1, 2017

For teenagers growing up in the heart of a city, a school garden opens up a whole new world of healthy experiences, from encouragement to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables to enjoying peace and calm in nature. In an age when a third of our children will develop type 2 diabetes, changing this life sentence is urgent.

Do you realize that you have the power to support youth in our community to live the healthy lives they deserve? By donating to CUESA, you give nourishing food and connections to the natural world to the kids who need them the most.

This month, we’re featuring inspiring members of our community who are growing the healthy world we want to see. Today we want you to meet Rosalinda Puac, a senior at John O’Connell High School in San Francisco’s Mission District. Rosalinda joined CUESA’s Schoolyard to Market gardening and youth entrepreneurship program last year. Reluctant to get her hands dirty at first, she discovered a sense of purpose and well-being through her journey in the garden.

For Rosalinda, participating in Schoolyard to Market not only introduced her to the natural world and healthy ways of eating, but it has given her confidence that will empower her throughout her life. She courageously shared her story with an audience of 400 guests at CUESA’s Sunday Supper this fall, as she introduced a video featuring her fellow students in the garden. This 17-year-old has some wisdom to share with you:

Gardening—You Serious?

At first when I heard about gardening, I was not so happy. I can just imagine the face I made when I heard that we were gonna start gardening. And I was just saying in my mind, “You serious right now?”

The first day I went into the garden I was in a bad mood. At that time the garden needed some love. So I started pulling out weeds, and at the end of the period I just felt my whole mood change from irritated to relaxed. Ever since that day, I can’t wait for Wednesday to go to the garden. I even catch myself telling [my teacher] Ms. Tessa, “Can we just go to the garden now?”

A New World

Besides going to the garden on Wednesdays, I have participated in two other cool opportunities with Schoolyard to Market. Last year at Sunday Supper, we got to make appetizers using our garden produce and present them ourselves. I also did the farmers market selling our products. I remember when I went to the Ferry Plaza to meet up with the rest of my classmates. I was so excited. Just the thought of selling crops I helped grow was amazing. Just thinking people actually care and are excited that we were doing this made me proud!

Through Schoolyard to Market, I have been able to grow, explore, and just learn new things about myself. Even at home, life has changed. I cook with my mom now and have that time to talk with her and have fun with her. It’s special.

The garden just opened a whole new chapter in my life, like learning how to make products using our school garden herbs, or finding out that I love to work with flowers and create arrangements, and even trying new fruits and vegetables like pineapple guavas. Now I find that I love pineapple guavas. These are things you normally don’t see in grocery stores. You can find all these unique things in the garden and the farmers market. It just opens a new world.

If Every Kid Had a Garden

Schoolyard to Market is just wonderful. If every kid had a garden, life would be so different. You have seen that our society is changing, and kids don’t have time and opportunities to go out and play. We’re on cell phones all day. Everything is based on technology. Teaching kids what a big impact gardening has in society helps us connect with nature.

I’m excited to share this video with you. It includes some of my classmates and me and pictures of the garden, so you can see how special it is. Thank you for supporting Schoolyard to Market, so students like me can have experiences in nature, and opportunities to grow and be healthy.

Give today so that kids who grow up in the city like Rosalinda have opportunities to be healthy, explore nature, and feel a sense of pride that they will carry throughout their lives. Build the foundation for a healthy food future. Make a tax-deductible donation today.

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