Q&A with Carly Holthaus, our new AmeriCorps Farm to School Leader

Originally from Kentucky, Carly’s heart first became invested in sustainable food systems during her time on an organic farmstead in the northern part of her home-state. There, she experienced getting her hands dirty through farm-based learning, which inspired her to pursue an internship with a nonprofit that provides fresh produce to the food deserts of Louisville. Carly joins Rogue Valley Farm to School after spending one year teaching environmental and outdoor education in the mountains of California. She looks forward to the opportunity to continue to inspire a passion and love for the outdoors, with the hope it fosters an excitement for environmental stewardship. Carly is excited to live in southern Oregon with its hikes, rivers, and big trees. 

What is your role with Rogue Valley Farm to School?
I am the 2016-2017 AmeriCorps service member, serving as Tasting Table and After-School Garden Club Coordinator in Medford and Central Point. This role helps provide students and their families with opportunities to interact easily and more frequently with local, seasonal produce in their community.

What inspired you to get involved in farm to school efforts?
I care deeply for the environment and seek opportunities that allow me to make a difference for the better. I fell in love with organic farming during my time in Kentucky, as well as advocacy in its food deserts; I see that my role and way of contributing might be through seasonal, local, organic eating as well as inspiring a passion for that in future generations.

What excites you about the Tasting Table Program?
I'm really happy to see the excitement in a little kiddo's face after trying a tomato fresh from the garden and absolutely loving it. It's great to be able to persuade them to try a food outside of their comfort zone and turn their opinions and tendencies completely around; even more so when they take ownership and contribute to planting and tending that tomato, from seed to harvest.

Is there a Harvest of the Month that you’re looking forward to the most?
I'm looking forward to December's beets! Beets come in many different varieties and colors, and I have a feeling a lot of students will be pleasantly surprised!

How can others get involved?
You can get involved by volunteering with me during our Tasting Table programs! We always appreciate having helping hands during food preparation. Once a month, I, along with the help of volunteers, prepare a recipe featuring the Harvest of the Month for four schools in Central Point, and soon Medford. You can check out our online volunteer calendar to signup for days that work for you.

Visit our Volunteer page for more information about our programs and how you can get involved.