For years, Grace Mathews has spent time with her dad and her sister in the kitchen – this is where she first gained an interest in food and gardening. Now, as a Project LEAD staff member, learning about cooking and growing food is part of her job.

We asked Grace about what comes to mind in conversations around food, something that will continue to shape her life in new ways:

Q: How long have you been working at Youth Farm? Where does your interest/passion for food and/or gardening come from?

A: This is my first summer working at Youth Farm, but I have been involved in different ways since 6th grade. My dad and my sister were the ones who got me into cooking and gardening, which I think are super fun. I love having a job where part of it is learning more about how to cook and grow things.

Q: What does food mean to you?

A: To me, when I think of food, I think of it giving people energy. We all need food to survive and keep us healthy.

Q: Why is it important for people to learn about and gather around food?

A: I think it is important to learn about the foods that make you feel good. Food is something that can make you feel better if you are sick or having an off day. It is also fun to know how to put together different dishes with other people.

Q: What are some of your favorite foods to grow, eat, and/or cook?

A: Right now my favorite dish to cook is perogies. I like to add pesto, spinach, and peppers as well. It is super fun to cook and is also really delicious.

Q: What things are you still hoping to learn and/or experience related to food?

A: I really want to learn how to season food better. My dad is a good cook and he always tells me that that is the next thing I need to learn. I really love to cook and that will make the things I make even better.