Interviews: A Taste of Hope Gardens

Interested in Hope Gardens, but want to learn more?

Check out what these what these awesome gardeners had to say about the freshest place in Chapel Hill.

Interview with Lindsey Terrell

Q: Hello! First, can you tell me a little bit about your major and career aspirations?

A: Sure! I’m currently a senior double majoring in Global Studies and African American studies with a minor in Anthropology. Currently I’m considering going to grad school to get my master’s degree in Public History because I really love history and enjoy sharing it with others. I love going to museums, national parks and other spaces of public history and having the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom.


Q: How did you first get hear about Hope Gardens?

A: I had heard about Hope Gardens through my involvement in the Campus Y my first year. In the spring of 2014, I joined the TEDxUNC organizing committee and met Cade, who was a fellow Marketing and Publicity team member. I found out that he was a member of Hope Gardens and so I asked him about it. I came to the first organizational meeting later that year at the beginning of the fall of 2014 and loved it! Up to this point I had heard about Hope Gardens before but didn’t really know what it was all about, but the more he talked about it, the more interested I became. Shortly after, I came to my first meeting and was hooked! I’ve been involved ever since.


Q: What do you think sets Hope Gardens apart from other service-related organizations?

A: I really enjoy how Hope Gardens focuses on a problem that’s really relevant to the Chapel Hill community – food access. Hope Gardens directly addresses this problem not just by spreading awareness about food access, but also by going directly into the community garden and making a difference. I really like that we directly interact with members of the community as well, like our community gardeners and people from local shelters. It’s really cool to be part of an organization where you get to interact with people besides just other college students.


Q: What subcommittee are you most involved with and why?

A: Ever since the beginning, I’ve been the most involved with the Outreach committee. Like I mentioned before, my favorite aspect of Hope Gardens is getting to know the community, and this interest aligns really well with the mission of outreach. I definitely appreciate and enjoy the roles that Urban Farm and Food Access & Education play as well, but my interests and strengths connect me more to the Outreach committee. My main responsibility as part of Outreach is trying to get as many people involved in Hope Gardens as possible. A big part of this is spreading the word about HG through social media (posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), and making sure that Hope Gardens is always a fun and welcoming space for anyone who wants to get involved. We love getting new student members, but where we’re really trying to move forward is getting more non-student community members involved. One way that we do this is through our monthly community picnics.


Q: What is your biggest dream for Hope Gardens?

A: I would say that my biggest dream for HG is to see students, community gardeners, people from shelters, and people from all over the Chapel Hill community getting involved in Hope Gardens. I would love to see this already amazing organization grow to become a community in the true sense of the word – a diverse and close-knit group of people united for a common goal.


Q: What is your spirit fruit and why?

A: My spirit fruit is the strawberry – I love strawberries so much that I could probably eat my weight in strawberries! I also love the Beatles song Strawberry Fields Forever.

Interview with Madison Alexander

Position: Co-chair

Year: Senior

Major: Economics (religious studies minor)

Q: How did you get involved with Hope Gardens?

A: My spring semester freshman year, Catherine, whom I was friends with, told me about Hope Gardens and told me about what Hope Gardens was trying to do. I was interested and so I went to their first meeting of the semester and thought it was really cool. So then I started going to work days. I loved being able to get outside and stuff. Then fall semester sophomore year I became a full-fledged member, coming to all of the meetings and everything. It was sort of like a progression in that way.

Q: When did you become involved on the leadership team?

That spring, my sophomore year, which was 2014. I was treasurer.

Q: Had you ever done anything related to hope gardens before that, garden or non-profit related?  

A: Before Hope Gardens, I had never gardened. I didn’t really know anything about food access or food access issues. Basically in every way I was completely new to the whole idea. I had never worked in depth in a nonprofit organization. I was pretty new to the whole deal.

Q: Were there, or are there, any challenges to running a nonprofit?

A: So the summer after my sophomore year I was the summer garden manager, and we had a full staff, a full summer staff, which would have been six people. We were trying to do everything that we do during the rest of the school year but there were just six of us. And I was running it so there were a lot of responsibilities that I had never had before. So it was exciting but also kind of terrifying at the same time.

So between that summer and the time I’ve spent as co-chair I’ve learned a lot. I think the things that I didn’t really expect to learn has been making connections with people- with students and also with people outside the university. And learning that I have the ability to coordinate those kinds of things and have meetings with important people. I’ve never really been the “idea person,” but I think I've gotten pretty good at taking an idea that someone has had and making it happen. And I think that’s the coolest thing I’ve learned while helping this organization.

Q: What are you goals for Hope Gardens?

A: That’s a tough question. I’ll give you my simple answer. One of the things I like a lot about Hope Gardens is that because of the turnover of students we have every year, we get to introduce a lot of new students into the organization and into the issue. We also get introduced to a lot of new things, like a lot of new ideas and projects that we can do. So it’s hard to know exactly what this is, but I think the thing I want for Hope Gardens is for that to continue.

One of the things we hear when we meet with the town, the parks of rec, or board members, is that when this started, when they were introduced it, they were like “it’s a great idea but won’t last long because of the nature of the organization and the nature of student life.” But it has for eight years already. So my vision- my biggest goal for the organization- is to continue growing to continue building on campus and community- and getting better and better, always getting better at what we are trying to do.

Q: If it does, how does this organization relate to your studies/interests?

A: It hasn't really directly related with my studies. But it definitely relates to what I want to do in the future. It has actually kind of affected what I want to do in future, given me a better idea. I want to work in nonprofits, and specifically I am really interested in outdoor education and want to get involved in one of those organizations, and hopefully at some point help run one. And i think everything I’ve learned in Hope Gardens has significantly prepared me for that type of future.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Hope Gardens?

A: I like getting to see what we as humans are capable of doing. And that is everything from planting a seed and seeing it grow into a huge plant with lots of food that we can share... Anywhere from that to being us as a group doing what we’re trying to do. And seeing its impact is really really cool.

Q: What is your spirit animal and why?

A: I have never been able to figure this question out. The closest answer I have is a black bear- specifically a black bear- because black bears are typically known as crafty and creative and will get things done however they need to get done- as in they can figure out ways to get food. They are generally kind and sweet until something they care about is in danger. And then they become super feisty and protective. And I’ve been told that’s a characteristic of mine.

Q: What is your spirit vegetable or fruit and why?

A: I’m gonna go with a citrus of some kind - a tangerine… I don’t have as extensive reasoning, but what I’m thinking is that I’m somewhat tough on the outside and then kind of soft and emotional on inside. But I’m also fun and exciting.