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Service-Learning Alumna One of VCU's "Greenest"

Arin Burke, '14, double-majored in Spanish and international studies (social justice concentration) in the College of Humanities and Sciences’ School of World Studies. A service-learning class, taught in Spanish, on the experiences of Latin Americans in the U.S., led her to research food justice issues and the rights of migrant farm workers.

During the summers, Burke worked on farms through the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms work-study program.

“I spent a summer in Mexico, and a summer in California, and I realized that, ‘Man I really like farming,’” she said. A dahlia flower farm in California “was beautiful and lovely, but also very different than growing food. When I was working in Mexico, I was growing tropical fruit — avocados, papayas and mangos.”

She returned to Richmond, working on another local farm before joining Shalom Farms last season, where she works on all aspects of farming.

“I’m very much still learning,” she said. “That’s why I decided to stay here another season. It’s a great place to learn. It’s an educational setting, that’s part of the mentality that we’re not just here to grow food, but to teach a younger generation of farmers.”

Read the full VCU News article.