Name: Jingyi (Celia) Luo
Volunteer since: 2014
Roles: Farm Steward and Core Team member
Celia grew up in a family of gardeners, her father and grandmother both spent lots of time growing vegetables on their balcony. However, growing-up Celia was not interested in helping with gardening; her father would complain about how she wouldn’t even help with watering. After leaving home in 2014 to go to University at Mount Saint Vincent, Celia turned to gardening for a sense of home and childhood. She now finds discussing gardening is a great way to connect with her father.
As a registered dietitian/ nutritionist, Celia works in the community food not-for-profit sector that provides food access and food security/ food justice programming. Volunteering with CRUF, especially her experience of meeting and working with people in the Deep Roots program had a tremendous impact on Celia and has helped shape her unique career path. She believes her experiences on the farm will continue to influence her for many years to come as she continues to reflect on the life lessons on generosity, resourcefulness, and diligence from those encounters.
“The farm brings lots of amazing people, generous souls into my life, they have become my mentors, my great friends, my best teachers both in life and in gardening.”
How she discovered Common Roots
Just like many university students, Celia came to volunteering in search of extracurricular activities and new experiences while studying at Mount Saint Vincent. She noticed the farm soon after she arrived in Halifax in 2013. At the time she was already volunteering at the hospital, and the giant straw bear on the farm really piqued her interest. She began volunteering on the farm the next season, and she has spent every summer on the farm since.
When taking (much deserved!) breaks on the farm, Celia thoroughly enjoyed nibbling on freshly picked berries; she loved looking for the ripe strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, and trying to beat the birds for a perfectly ripe blueberries! But it’s not the berries that has kept Celia coming back to the farm for the past five years; Celia credits the CRUF community with bringing her back every season. She believes that it is common for international students and newcomers to Canada to feel a sense of isolation, and says finding a community within the farm can help.
“People say home is not a place but a time. This idea probably resonates well in immigrants. As a result, the farm has played a major role in making Halifax a lovely home for me in the last few years.”
This month, Celia is setting off on a new adventure, heading to a Reserve in the South of Calgary to work as a dietitian. We’re so grateful for her help over the past 5 years. We will miss her, and wish her well!
Written by Angie Lynch