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3501 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC, 20002
United States

202-245-2709

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Blog

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Where are they now?

April Martin

Arielle Balbus

Arielle Balbus joined the WYG team after her freshman year of college as a summer intern. Working at WYG inspired Arielle to search out other organizations that help and enrich communities, to work and volunteer for throughout her college years. During her time as a student at Brown studying International Development Studies, Arielle worked on a climate justice movement with WE ACT (West Harlem Environmental Action), was a caseworker with Health Leads, and taught/coordinated for Brown’s Generation Citizen group, which teaches semester-long civics and activism workshops in under-resourced public schools.

We were excited to catch up with Arielle, and learn of the great things she is up to:

“After graduating, I worked on the Climate Outreach team at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and focused particularly on environmental health outreach to Latino communities. I am currently in a psychology doctoral program at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA, and plan to work with children and families in schools, community clinics, and the justice system. I have the fondest memories of my summer with WYG and am extremely grateful for the inspiration I received from Kaifa and other staff, and the amazing children I got to know there.”

Thank you Arielle for your contributions to WYG, and your continued work to make the world a better place!

Where Are They Now? Andrew Plotsky

April Martin

Washington Youth Garden has been around since 1971, and we are lucky enough to have had many amazing interns work with us over the years. To learn more about our past, we are launching a project, “Where Are They Now?” On a monthly basis, we will try to reach some of those interns who have made a lasting mark on WYG and see what they are up to!

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Meet Andrew Plotsky. Since his internship with WYG in 2010, he’s gone on to do some awesome things. Here he is: 

I Just bought a farm in central Vermont, where my partner and I will grow diversified vegetables and raise merino sheep for fiber and meat, among other things. I’m founder and principal of Farmrun, an agrarian creative studio. After my internship at WYG, I moved to western Washington state, where I worked as a Meatsmith for 3 years and towards the end of that stint, started Stitchdown Farm (which mas migrated with us to VT and will be the enterprise on this here new land), which we operated for 2 years before relocating here. 

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WYG played a central role in allowing me to concurrently develop my interest in growing / educating / creatively producing. I was given the opportunity to write for the blog and design collateral for events etc… alongside working in the classroom and garden - the combination of said activities were the albeit nascent but unavoidably profound foundation to the business that I’ve created with which I now provide creative services to the underserved community of innovative and sustainable agrarians.

Check out Andrew’s studio, Farmrun: http://farmrun.com/

Stay tuned to this project, there will be more interesting stories coming up soon. Thanks Andrew!

Having Fun in Class!

April Martin

Ms. Ewing’s Pre-K autism class is unlike any other class that I teach at John Burroughs. The lesson plans are less structured, and our students come out of the lesson time a little messier. 

This weekly twenty minute class is a great opportunity for both the students and me.  The students are able to touch fruits and vegetables while exploring their creativity while we made food print paintings.  

They have also played in dirts using Dixi cups as shovels to bury their giant plastic insects. 

The opportunity to teach these younger students has taught me to meet my students where they are in each moment. With most of my classes we talk more in-depth about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, or how to plant a seed in the dirt and watch it grow, but in this classroom, our main goal is exposure.  Through exposure, the students become more desensitized — dirt is no longer gross or scary, and vegetables are no longer foreign objects.