About Maria

Maria attended DePaul University in Chicago where she majored in Marketing and completed two food and beverage related internships. Learning about the packaged foods industry while also managing one of her family’s specialty food stores helped her realize the importance of cooking, food education, and a strong local community and economy. During her semester abroad she ate her way through Europe and was exposed to multiple food cultures and systems. Maria looks forward to planting seeds and helping kids grow.

Growing Closer at Valley Elementary

Last Wednesday I had my last scheduled program as an AmeriCorps member. My final garden club meeting at Valley Elementary had the highest attendance of students and parents of all nights this summer. My goal for my year of service was to leave the NFV school district a little better than I found it, in regards to health and wellness. I can confidently say that through the work and collaboration on the Valley Elementary School Garden, I have achieved this goal. As I watched the families walk away with bags full of tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers, I quickly remembered all of the steps taken and people who made this harvest party possible. Together, we grow healthy kids. Continue reading

That New Food Look

What do I love most about working with kids? They’re honest. When they think your food samples smell funny, they let you know. If you draw a mango tree and they think it’s beautiful, they tell you. They express their feelings in the most genuine way that even when the comment is negative you appreciate they’re telling the truth. If a student is not telling you how they feel, you usually have a pretty good idea by the look on their face. Continue reading

The New Kid in NFV

I lived in the same house and neighborhood until I left for college, and at that point you’re entering with a whole class in the same position as you. I never moved until then, or changed schools or districts. I remember calling a student who had just entered one of my elementary school classes “the new kid,” but I never knew how that must have felt. I never knew until I became the Resource Contact in the North Fayette Valley Community School District. Continue reading