My name is Rachael. I am brand new to the Farm and Food System program at GCC, but certainly not new to GCC. This is my first blog, ever.
I feel the best way I can track my journey is to summarize how I ended up where I am now. For several years now I have been struggling with being a single mom and dealing with PTSD. I am a survivor of violence and rape, with the help of NELCWIT, I haven’t had to feel completely alone, not that I didn’t feel it from time to time. I have had a difficult time caring for my children with limited hours of availability because cost of after school care is too expensive. Also being under educated Limits the jobs available to me. I knew that my potential was being neglected so I vowed to do whatever I could to improve my family’s and my situation. I enrolled in GCC in pursuit of a nursing degree, an honorable job with good pay and job security. I excelled academically, but still had an empty feeling. Between school, work, raising two kids, coaching their sports team, going to counseling, I was busy enough, but I was lost.
I am at heart a child of nature, so whenever I could I was hiking, snowshoeing, hydro climbing (don’t ask) or doing anything that involved being outside. I only found true inner peace when I was connected with nature. I always had to have lots of plants in my home and always had to have a garden. Even when I lived in an apartment building with no yard, I had huge pots growing veggies near every sunny window. Anything I read, that wasn’t school related, had to do with gardening, nature or farming. But, I didn’t put the pieces together until one semester when I was one credit short to meet the terms of my financial aid. I chose a class that simply fit my schedule that unknowingly would change everything. The class was, Mushroom Cultivation and Foraging. Not only did I learn a ton about mushrooms (yes, I am currently growing shiitakes at home). But, opened up the idea that nature is all connected, in this class through mycelium networking. This got me thinking about all the other ways nature connects, forms intricate symbiotic relationships, and webs into a great cycle. The idea was magnificent and really spoke to me, but I was shaken by the fact that humans are breaking these cycles and killing the beautiful system that sustains us. We simply take, but do not give. So, I am motivated now not by the need to have a job that makes a decent wage, but the need to spiritually connect with nature and others and gain the tools necessary to do my part in leading us (human beings) to a better sustainable future.
I already feel a fire igniting my spirit forward, only in the first two weeks of starting school in a new field. I am not sure on where I will be lead, but I am positive this path will lead me to my potential and to a place where I am meant to make a difference.