Welcoming our AmeriCorps Community Forestry Corps members!

Say hello to Berty and Candace!  They began serving with Project Food Forest in October as part of Community Forestry Corps; an Americorps pilot program currently taking place in Minnesota. Members are serving at nonprofit or public agencies throughout the state until August 2021 with a mission to preserve and protect Minnesota’s environment and strengthen communities, with a focus on preserving and increasing tree canopy.

Elizabeth “Berty” Stearns and Candace Porter are working on projects at Prairie Ally Outdoor Center in Luverne, MN as well as conducting broader research, education, and outreach with other partners. This fall’s projects have already included training, tree care, research, and installing landscape edging, fencing, signs, and trellises…they have been busy!

Luverne became Berty’s home when she met her husband, Joseph, and decided to stay to live on and care for his family’s homestead property on the Rock River.  She grew up in Wyoming, came east and earned a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Sioux Falls in 2009, and continued her life journey with jobs and experiences across the country from the Florida Everglades, to the Colorado Rockies, even up on the Alaskan tundra.  “I love plants.  Wild and domestic, massive and delicate, toxic and nourishing–the plant world is incredible.  I have always gardened annual vegetables for food, pleasure, health, and economy.  Now serving with Project Food Forest I get to help teach and spread the enthusiasm for perennial local food systems, and learn a few more things in the incredible world of plants.”

Candace Porter has lived in Minnesota since she was a small child. Her mom and siblings spent a lot of time studying nature and involved in 4-H. The family continues to grow a large organic garden and fruit trees together, and she added to her experience with plants by working at a local nursery.

“I am excited to serve as an AmeriCorps Community Forestry Corps member for Project Food Forest and help educate people now and in the future.  I love trees because they clean the air, provide us with fruit, nuts, and natural medicines! Trees provide homes for birds, insects, and other animals.”

We are so grateful to have them with us!