*Note from the Program Director: We are thrilled to welcome our 5th class of Abundant Table Interns! Over the next month you will meet our two new interns Sarah Wurst (intro below) and Jeannette Ban, as well as, hear from our second year intern Angela Schultz. Thanks to all of you out there for your support and helping create the space for these amazing people to spend a year working with the Abundant Table and wider community to improve our food system and reconnect to our sacred places.
-Sarah Nolan, Program Director
My name is Sarah Wurst, and it is a pleasure to introduce myself as part of the 13′-14′ Abundant Table Intern Class. I am now a month into holding Abundant Table’s new intern position with Oxnard CityCorps, and finding much love, excitement and challenge there.
I am coming to The Abundant Table after two years serving with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, one year on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana and one year with Sisters of the Road Cafe, a food-centered community space for people experiencing poverty and homelessness in Old Town Portland, Oregon. While I had some hands-on experience with Food and Faith in these two settings (which I will tell you more about later), my story with these two themes starts long, long before that.
I grew up in Grant, Nebraska, but this story begins in eastern Nebraska, home of my grandparents Howard and Marvene Wurst. My Grandpa Howie is probably one of the most influential figures in my life as far as introducing the intersection of farming, food, and living out a Christian calling. Alternatively, his basement has been filled with thousands of bulbs and heating lamps or boxes of food from Food Net: an organization that he and my Grandma Marvene run in Milford, Nebraska. Far past his own retirement from being a farmer and mechanic, Grandpa became the town gardener (creating beautiful flower beds around the city), baker (sharing cinnamon rolls and other goodies with local businesses) generally lovely and generous human being (taking the French Bulldogs, which he and Grandma breed, to the local nursing homes to visit and cheer) and, of course, running a one-couple-show nonprofit. I am so grateful to have basked in his excellent example of service and joy throughout my growing up and even now into adulthood.
I attended college at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, where I triple majored in Fine Art (Painting), English and Theology. This was a really beautiful combination that allowed me to develop holistically in all three of these areas and explore the intersection of art, storytelling, faith and justice. Environmental and Anti-War activism were also a big part of my college experience, and my cumulative projects in all three of my majors (two theses and one art show) dealt with Ecological Theology. I would also say that imagination and visioning new ways of living in mutual beneficial relationship with the whole of creation was a common thread.
I am so happy to be spending time at the Abundant Table Farm and Community Roots Garden this year. The snippets of this kind of work that I have experienced have been the highlights of my last two years living in community and living service: attending Master Gardener courses and teaching gardening classes at Pretty Eagle Catholic Academy in Montana, or volunteering at FoodWorks: the farm from which much of our produce at Sisters of the Road is sourced.
What I am most looking forward to about this year is slowing down and learning from the garden, the plants, and the worms in the compost bin. I am a believer that you start to become what you surround yourself with, soaking in the beauty, vulnerability and creativity of what is around you. This year, I am hoping to learn from the garden. Take from this awesome process of nutrients in the soil nurturing seeds, which become life-filled plants, which produce food for us to eat, so we can too be nourished by all that wonderful life. This process has already been at work in me during my first month here, and I can’t wait to experience it more and more!