This week was the first week of the Bountiful Brookline Teens Grow Food pilot program. I was one of the three chosen to be in the program, and since it was the first week, I didn’t know what to expect! My name is Jamie, and I’m going to be a freshman at Brookline High School this fall. I really wanted the spot in this program because I got to help shape it, work with a garden, and help the community. When I was accepted in to the program, I was excited, and also ready for the challenge of waking up early in the morning on the days I had work. On Monday, I met the two other people I would work with, along with our leader. We started off with a tour of the garden. I was immediately interested and wanted to harvest some of the plants already. First we worked with compost. We had to clear out two bins of old compost, so we could add in fresh compost bought from another farm. While we worked on this, we encountered 3 red unusual-looking spiders, which I had never seen in my life. Working on this also included the four of us getting our hands dirty and our nails caked with mud. Usually I don’t like working with dirt and soil, but after seeing what we had accomplished, I knew that working with compost, spiders, and other unexpected bugs was a small price to pay. We also planted a whole bed of eggplants, and it was great to see the plants saved. The next day included our first harvest, where we picked scallions, carrots, tomatoes, and some herbs to bring to the food pantry. We also worked on a sign we would post in front of the building on Webster Place, to inform others who passed by about the Teens Grow Food program. My favorite day was on Thursday, when we picked some plants from the garden, and cooked a dish for the food pantry – Couscous with summer squashes, red beets, and other vegetables and herbs. This was a lot of work, and a challenge. One of the other teens doing the program named Pema, and I were under 16, so we weren’t allowed to work with knives. This left Marianna and Dexter, another teen in the program, to do the cutting, while Pema and I cooked in the kitchen. I didn’t know how the end result would be, because I had never had a dish like this. I also didn’t know many of the ingredients that we put in, but when I tasted the dish in the end, I was surprised at how good it was. It also felt good to donate so much food to the pantry, and to see all our hard work go to a good cause. Within the first week, I already did a lot of things that I really liked, such as planting new plants, harvesting vegetables, and cooking! I also got to learn a lot in the workshop we had about the differences between fresh local food versus industrial grown food. Even though it has only been the first week of the program, I can’t wait to get back to work on Monday.