Kaley Necessary

IWU graduate 2014

Biology major

Food systems intern at world hunger relief, inc.

Alliance Garden Intern., Indiana Wesleyan University

While I was a student at IWU, I had many opportunities to discover what the field of Biology had to offer. For a good portion of my time at IWU, I was able to work with Dr. Miller as a research assistant studying the antibacterial effects of Moringa. I was also able to be a TA for her Crops & Society class. The classes I took at IWU along with the conferences I attended as a student helped ignite my passion for international agricultural development.

For the past year, I’ve been working for World Hunger Relief (WHRI) in Waco, Texas as a Food Systems Intern. WHRI is a non-profit organization committed to the alleviation of hunger in the Waco community and around the world. My AmeriCorps funded job is multi-faceted. As an intern at a working farm, I participate in farm duties such as milking goats, feeding livestock, working in the market garden and selling the produce at the local Farmer’s Market.

I have also learned a lot of farming skills and techniques that are useful in a developing context. In addition, part of my job requires me to manage volunteers and lead educational activities related to local and global poverty and food distribution. I help develop and maintain educational facets of the farm including a rabbit breeding operation and a children’s play garden. I’ve also had the great opportunity to practice writing grants. Last summer, I was able to successfully write a $2,000 grant for school gardens in Waco.

As a Food Systems Intern, I am responsible for managing two school gardens in Waco. My students get to work in the garden at their school and learn about where their food comes from, how to grow vegetables, and how to make healthy life choices. I love working with the kids and watching them discover the joy of growing the food you eat! This school garden allows the students to have a unique place they can explore and learn during the school day. As a school garden coordinator, I have also been able to train teachers to use the garden as an outdoor classroom.

While at IWU, I minored in International Community Development. I have had many chances to put into practice what I’ve learned in my classes. Last January, WHRI launched the Veggie Van, which sells fresh produce from our farm in neighborhoods the USDA census tract labels “food desserts.” Food desserts are urban or rural areas that lack access to fresh, healthy and affordable food. It’s been a great opportunity to learn about the successes and challenges that come with working for a non-profit.

I would highly recommend IWU students who are looking for a way to put a Biology degree in action in the agricultural field to look into an internship at World Hunger Relief. I am thankful for the preparation and guidance I received as a student at IWU. Until next time, happy farming!