Student Volunteers at Farm-to-Table Restaurant

Student Volunteers at Farm-to-Table Restaurant

Tinley Park High School student Kiara DeWitt spent her summer in California learning about agriculture and volunteering at a local business.

While some students go to the beach or hang out with friends during the summer, Tinley Park High School senior Kiara DeWitt spent her summer volunteering at a farm-to-table restaurant in Ojai, California called Farmer and the Cook.

Every morning she would wake up at 6:30 am and complete a wide variety of tasks.

"On Tuesdays and Thursdays we would go to the farm and harvest," said DeWitt. "Then we would drive the harvest to the restaurant where everything would be stored."

DeWitt said she also would lend a hand at the restaurant and even at the local farmer's market.

Before DeWitt volunteered with Farmer and the Cook, she said she "really didn't have an interest in agriculture." She decided to volunteer because her family has a summer home in California and she was looking to meet new people and for a way to give back to the community.

"I have worked at places like Trader Joe's, but the experience here was rewarding in a different way," said DeWitt. "It made me more grateful for the food that I eat and it made me proud because I could give someone a product of my labor."

Being located so close to Chicago, many students probably don't consider the option of working on a farm or learning about agricultural skills. DeWitt hopes to change that and says she would like to find a local farm to volunteer at with her friends. She even mentioned starting a farming group at the school.

Aside from the agricultural skills, DeWitt gained a new mentality and shared a message that we can all probably benefit from in our fast-paced world.

"I learned how to enjoy my time and not rush myself. I'm definitely going to take my time and appreciate what I'm doing more often now."

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