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Empowered in Action: Moving into the Senior Fellowship

By Anna Tracht, Phase II Fellow

One month into my Senior Fellowship, I’m finally starting to get my feet under me. Working as the Highland Center’s Food Programs Coordinator, I am taking over projects that last year’s Senior Fellow, Thea, started, as well as introducing several new programs. Shifting from the first phase of the Fellowship to the second phase is a transition from learning to action. During the Farm Fellowship, we work at the AMI farm developing our farming skills, and participating in workshops. Then, while working with different organizations in the Senior Fellowship, we can put that knowledge to use and have an impact on the food systems in our communities. I’ve been adopting this approach, this shift into action, both at work and in my personal life.

Coming back into a non-profit setting, after six months on the AMI farm, was a tricky transition. At first, I was given a level of autonomy that was a little intimidating. But if there’s one thing I learned through my time at AMI, it’s that it’s ok to dive headfirst into these projects, and to feel empowered to make decisions, make mistakes, and try new things. At work, this has meant taking the lead on developing a new internship program. At home, it’s meant embarking on a variety of projects. This past week, I tapped my first maple tree! After much deliberation, research, and asking around, I decided it was time to go for it. Fully realizing that I didn’t quite know what I was doing, I jumped on in. I’ve learned that the best way to learn is to do, even (and sometimes especially) if I make mistakes along the way - and I’ve been able to apply that both at work and at home. Hopefully, I end up with some sweet successes, whether that’s a new program or a quart of syrup.

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