You’re reading Young & Green, the group blog written by participants of GrowNYC’s Youthmarket. This network of urban farm stands is operated by neighborhood youth, supplied by local farmers, and supplies communities throughout NYC with fresh fruits and veggies. Pretty cool, huh?
THIS WEEK'S MARKET SUPERSTAR: Kristal Morales, age 21
“June 2012 was my very first time working with people my age, and they were total strangers to me. I worked in four different community gardens in the Bronx where we did so many different things... We maintained the gardens, cooked healthy food, and worked at the Youthmarket. I learned how to be organized in my workplace, and that helped me always be ready for my nutrition presentations. I loved everything I did except the thing I feared the most—public speaking. I was so nervous, but Mr. David, Miss Kori, and other members helped me be comfortable when I practiced, and gave me the courage I needed. For me, this was more than just a summer job.”
Which market did you work at? For how long?
I worked at GrowNYC’s Learn It Grow It Eat It for two consecutive summers.
What’s the funniest or the most interesting thing you’ve overheard at the market?
The fact that many people I worked with at the market did not know mint was a plant.
Has the market changed what you eat? In what ways?
Yes! It definitely changed my eating habits. Now that I know vegetables don’t have to be boiled and look boring, I sautée them and mix them with other vegetables to make my meals more delicious and healthy at the same time.
Do you cook at home?
I stay on campus when I am at school, so I do not have any other choice but to eat what is available. I try my best to eat my greens when I can. When I come back home for vacation I do cook at home.
If so, what’s your favorite easy meal to make and how long does it take?
I love sautéed sweet corn with green peppers. It takes me about 8 minutes to make it.
Do you cook for your family members? For whom? How often?
Yes, I cook for my grandmother. She also loves to cook, but when I come home I cook for her almost every day.
What do they think about your cooking?
Even though they are not used to having vegetables on the table, they are now more open to eating them, especially when they are sautéed with dried organic seasoning. The vegetables still taste amazing.
Has the market affected your future job plans? How?
I worked with Fresh Air Fund, which is a summer camp where kids learn about many things, including healthy eating. I was very excited to find out Fresh Air knew about the Greenmarket. I told everyone about my amazing experience working with the Youthmarket.
Or school plans? How?
It has. I am now interested in the human health, and want to be a nurse. I want to help people with their health.
If you’re in school now, has the market affected how you interact with teachers?
Yes it has. When I started working with the Youthmarket I had difficulty with language and my strong accent. Interacting with different people improved my English and my relationships with teachers in school.
What about classmates?
I made friends at the Youthmarket, and even though they were already my classmates we got to know each other better while working together.
What have you learned about dealing with nasty weather (super hot or cold or rainy or windy)?
The weather taught me to be more responsible. Sometimes we have to do what we need to do to be become responsible people, no matter what the circumstances are.
What’s the most important question you think customers at the market should ask?
Where do our vegetables and fruits come from?
What’s your favorite fruit or veggie that you tried for the first time while working at the market? How about one you're not so crazy about?
Definitely kale. Not so crazy about eggplant.
What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about working for Youthmarket?
Even though it’s an amazing experience you have to be very patient and consistent.
Do you have any hobbies?
Yes, I love to write.
KRISTAL'S FOOD DIARY
ALL PHOTOS: GROW NYC'S YOUTHMARKET