Kasey Myers '18

10/07/2016

A recipe for nurturing the soul and nourishing the body

Kasey Myers ’18, a food and nutrition major from Mount Vernon, Ohio, learned more about two things she loves this summer—food and faith. A recipient of Bluffton University’s $1,500 Summer Discovery Grant, Myers combined her knowledge of nutrition with a focus on ministry. Summer Discovery Grant recipients develop their own 4-6 week internship to further explore the intersection of faith and vocation.

“Not a lot of people acknowledge the hunger in their communities, and that’s something that needs to be fixed,” said Myers. “If I can help that in any way in my future that’s something I would love to do with the rest of my life.”

Myers’ original internship plan was to develop community gardens, featuring an active ministry component, with her church to support her hometown Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinic.

However, just before the program was set to begin, Myers’ original plans changed unexpectedly. “I went home for the summer and was expecting to get it done, and God kind of took it and turned it a little bit,” said Myers. “The pastor I had been working with to do the project moved completely to a different church.”

Myers continued working with the local WIC office gardening, but that work went on the back-burner as the new pastor at her church challenged her to run the Vacation Bible School for children. Using her nutritional skills, Myers also worked with the church cooks to better plan the VBS meal schedule.

“There are a lot of kids who go to these programs who don’t get a nice meal in the summer time,” Myers said. “That was a fantastic experience. It definitely taught me that I do want to work with kids.”

Working with the children led Myers to further explore what kids actually know about food and healthy eating.

“I think that a big part of working in any kind of food-related field is understanding what other people know about food because if someone doesn’t know why you’re telling them to do something, it’s much less likely they’re going to follow through on it.”

Meyers spent time at the Gambier Child Care Center located at Kenyon College. She taught the preschool-age students about gardening and she also developed a kid-friendly farmer’s market with WIC.  “I learned a lot about what these kids already knew and what they wanted to know. It was really great to get to work with them and get to watch them grow.”

As Myers’ summer progressed, her original plans resurfaced. “I worked with the community gardens that were already established in my community, and I tried to figure out how to add a ministry aspect to it.” Myers helped the gardeners share their excess produce with WIC and local food pantries.

Myers also planted a garden at her home to test out different growing processes. She’s using all of these experiences to create resources for others who want to do similar work.

“I’m actually developing a website that churches can use to create their own community gardens for their ministry program,” she said.

Although her internship didn’t go as planned, Myers still came full circle with her project and began a ministry in her community that made a great impact. “I think that everything I learned from this can easily be applied to what I want to do with my future. Understanding and sharing how food is grown and why other people don’t have food and the process it takes them to grow their own food—that’s probably the most important work I could ever do.”

-B-

>>> More about the Summer Discovery Grants. Proposals for summer 2017 are due March 1, 2017.