Suzie dedicates her life to teaching children how to grow food.
She serves as a FoodCorps leader at the Wylde Center, connecting kids to healthy food, so they can lead healthier lives and reach their full potential.
Suzie’s passion for good food began to grow during her college years. After bouncing around between school, Palestine, and Israel, she left college to work on a farm in Virginia. These experiences shaped her new perspective of the world: “all of the sudden Statistics and English and Biology didn't really matter that much.” Suzie realized that college was not what she was called to do in life. After studying non-violence in California, she went to work on a small, sustainable farm just outside of Austin, Texas.
There are three things Suzie is certain she needs to be doing in life: grow food, work with kids, and be in Atlanta. She loves Atlanta and kept coming back until she landed an apprenticeship with the Captain Planet Foundation, where she tended school gardens. She continued chasing her passion as a Garden Educator for Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture and then as a FoodCorps leader. “I really believe healthy food creates healthy minds and healthy bodies. Everybody deserves a right to that.”
FoodCorps is a nationwide team of leaders that connects kids to real food and helps them grow up healthy. This arm of Americorps places motivated leaders in limited-resource communities for a year of public service. Leaders serve under the direction of local partner organizations and focus on hands-on learning, fostering healthy school meals, and building a school-wide culture of health.
Coming from the world of small, sustainable farming, Suzie is no stranger to living frugally. As a part of the FoodCorps volunteer experience, members receive an annual living stipend of $18,250, just under 150% of the Federal Poverty Level. Tending gardens and growing food for a living in Atlanta makes it near impossible for Suzie to afford basic necessities, so she applied for SNAP to help out. “SNAP benefits has as allowed me to get the food that I helped to grow, but I can't afford to buy.” Like many small farmers across Georgia, SNAP allows Suzie to follow her passion while living off of limited income.
Suzie came from a progressive, middle-class family and she was surprised to learn that her mother did not want her to apply for SNAP, “I think my mom was embarrassed that I got them.” But Suzie knew that a limited income came with the vocation she chose and did not want to rely on her parents to support her. Unlike many others, she was not embarrassed to apply for SNAP.
Suzie was shocked, however, to discover that most of the local farmers also have SNAP benefits. Soon she realized that SNAP helps farmers to be more sustainable by supplementing their income, in more ways than one. SNAP helps farmers invest more into their farms by freeing up funds that they would have spent buying food for their families. Through Wholesome Wave Georgia’s Georgia Fresh for Less program, more SNAP dollars are spent with local farmers, increasing their revenue and fostering sustainable growth of their business. By participating in Georgia Fresh for Less, Suzie leverages her SNAP benefits to support small, local farmers at the farmers market. “Wholesome Wave Georgia allows me to do that: to support local food, and to support a farmer directly, and to support sustainable labor.”