Aspen Hattabaugh

Crabtree Farms of Chattanooga AmeriCorps Member

Chattanooga, Tennessee

I chose to participate in an AmeriCorps year after a few years of traveling and skiing post-Master’s. I hadn’t used either of my degrees much and felt out of practice and like a bit of a fraud. AmeriCorps gave me a chance to spend one year re-familiarizing myself with and putting into practice everything I’d learned about soil science and sustainable agriculture while learning new skills and making community connections and continuing to educate.

 My AmeriCorps experience has already allowed me to deep-dive back into my soil science background with a purpose! So far, I have taught a short compost lecture to a visiting high school class, I’m preparing a more in-depth composting workshop for my host site, I’m developing a cover crop plan to help regenerate agricultural fields by addressing issues like high clay content and an alkaline pH in soils, and I’m designing a native plant garden with a college intern. I’ve learned to drive a tractor, use different farm implements, cold-weather procedures, and how to plant, harvest, and process a variety of crops. With our AmeriCorps group project, I’m hoping to empower others with the knowledge of growing their own produce, especially in the surrounding neighborhoods considered food deserts! For anyone thinking of an AmeriCorps year of service, I’d say to save up, think carefully if it’s the correct decision for you, and ultimately, to go for it!