Interview with our very Own Bersi Mesgna
What brought you to Project EATS? I believe there is a great connection between human and environmental health and the effects of our current food system upon both. I’ve been working in urban agriculture and farm based education because I think it’s important to empower communities to fight food access inequalities through sustainable projects that educate and more importantly, inspire. Project EATS’ mission embodies just that and I value the holistic approach in our mission to shape thriving communities. I’m excited to continue engaging with more communities through farm training and education, in hopes to equip them with the skills to transform these spaces. How did you end up in New York City? As a 13year old, I vowed on paper to make NYC my home “when I grew up.” Fast forward 9 years, and a series of fortuitous events presented me with an opportunity fulfill that vow. I moved to Brooklyn 2.5 years ago and am still enjoying every moment of this journey. What’s your favorite thing to eat? Avocados, heirloom tomatoes and mixed greens are staples in my diet and delicate squash-when it’s in season! What’s most satisfying about teaching? I enjoy teaching outside of a traditional classroom because it allows for a different level of creativity and versatility that’s not always available in a traditional setting. I believe in interdependence and the field of farming and wellness are tied to many aspects of our lives, so I take pride in creating those real life connections for students. It is also satisfying to be able to share my passions openly and in return see students intrigued and eager to share their ideas as well. How do you find the students different here than other places you’ve taught? I haven’t taught yet 🙁 — >maybe for next time! What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time? I practice yoga and enjoy discovering the city on foot. I also make it a point to escape the city every so often, it’s a refreshing break from madness. What’s your funniest classroom story? It’s hard to pick one! One story that immediately comes to mind is during a food systems lesson that used yarn to follow the travel of produce in our dominant system. We got a little carried away in throwing the yarn around and had a student get tangled in the middle of the circle. It was funny, but definitely a learning moment in how unnecessarily complex our food system is; it demonstrated that we could afford to remove most of the middleman in getting food from the farm to the consumer. Describe your teaching style? I would describe my teaching style as a blend of demonstrative and facilitative. I am working on making all of my lessons activity-based to truly get students to collaborate and creatively problem-solve together. What’s something your students would be surprised to know about you? I still don’t know how to ride a bike, but-that’s a real goal for this spring! Any advice for students who want to find out more about urban farming? Spring is finally here, and there are so many opportunities to get involved in your community gardens now or research organizations you can join or volunteer with to get experience. Many schools now have gardens, find out how to get involved!