It is great that we have a list of prompts to write about. People used to say, having a good start is half of the success.
I think I will struggle with the self-intro part because my life is too regular and old and does not have much light to shine the room already full of amazing people. Nonetheless, bad news comes first and let’s do this. So you might have noticed: I am not always the most outspoken and eloquent one out of the bunch. Rather than going out and selling my philosophy, I rather stay at my crib and quietly polish my craft before showing it to others. Therefore, I like all the single person stuff, such as reading nonfiction (mostly history, politics, and economics), listening to jazz and classical music (actually have a whole box in possession) and touring the city by biking. Yes, I think biking, in contrast to other bourgeoise habits, is really something that everyone in Philly. The city is incredibly accessible and friendly (compared to New York) for bikers, and biking is just about the right speed to discover the beauty of the city without turning the experience into self-serving slide shows.
My work has been my place to maintain that sense of mindfulness continuously. Vietlead is working very closely with the local community members, and such relationship often requires us to be vigilant and seek out to the people, to ask what they really need. One of the issues is the lack of farming space and in areas where Viet folks live. Urban farming has now grown to become a trend, along with the aesthetic for natural producers and organic farming, but not having a place to retain the ancestral way of growing is a serious problem for our community members. Many kinds of vegetable that Vietnamese consume are often not available in the conventional supermarket, and even when being offered, people often do not have the time and money to purchase the product. Moreover, newer generations of Vietnamese Americans gradually lost the connection with their roots.
So one of the breakthroughs is that we had made in South Philly. Horace Furness High School has long been our partner for the after-school program, and it has agreed to give us a piece of its backyard for our farming education. Having this farm helps us to attract more students in the Philly areas, and give them the opportunity to direct practice farming without traveling all the way to Camden, New Jersey, where our main farm is.
Actually, the chance to see the meaning behind my work and actually become a part of the change really drive me every day to do my job and stay hopeful about the world. I know it might be an unrealistic thinking to expect that your work is always progressive, and be down to earth, but having the experience being a part of it inspires me to realize that people are doing such work and are passionate about it. Also, because of Vietlead being a relatively young organization, being a part of it allows me to see the phenomenal growth of this organization, and how much more we are able to create, along with our youth and elders. It is powerful to see that changes are happening gradually and literally beginning to create the new world.