Graduate Maria Luisa Martins on Service and Justice

March 28, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog   |   Comments Off on Graduate Maria Luisa Martins on Service and Justice»

The following remarks were written and delivered by Maria Luisa Martins for the Urban Farm Corps Cohort 14 Graduation on March 20th, 2018 at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Maria reflects on the Green City Force pillars of Service and Justice.


Graduate speaker Maria Luisa Martins.

Welcome to the graduation of Cohort 14! My name is Maria Luisa Martins.

The graduates that stand before you are very dear to me. For the past 10 months we have journeyed together in personal and professional transformation.

Service, Training, Justice, and Sustainability are the fundamentals that play a part in transforming cohorts past and present. For those of you that know me, you know that I like to put my own twist to tasks assigned to me. Writing this speech was be no different.

The two pillars that I’m going to speak about are Service and Justice. For five days a week for the past 6 or 10 months, these individuals have lived and breathed service. A wise person once told me in this big city it’s difficult to be vulnerable with strangers because you never know what their intentions are. This person also said the people who perform service for their community are few and far between. When I think of service I think of 12 members of Cohort 14 showing up for extra service to a community garden after serving 8 hours in the middle of the summer, building a new farm and hosting a farm stand to perform different garden tasks without one complaint. I also think of the cohort making the farms more than just a workplace. Whether it’s morning yoga before harvesting, mid-farm stand dance battles from nearby music, or a post clean up game of claim the veggies. These 10 months, everyone made serving an enjoyable priority.

The next pillar I’ll be speaking about is Justice. As a person of color living in New York, justice is something I always strive to achieve. This season, Cohort 14 successfully harvested 20 thousand pounds of produce, making that the biggest act of justice, specifically food justice I’ve achieved in my 23 years of living. Thinking of justice, I think of cohort Members harvesting for farm stand at 8a.m. in 90 degree weather, to ensure residents had food on their plate that night, flyering developments during the pouring rain so residents can obtain important information, or tuning compost windrows during a snowstorm. These people who are before you are far from ordinary, they have more power within them than a superhero.

Fellow Corps Members, serving alongside you has been my honor. Don’t let anyone tell you this is the beginning for you, that would be a disservice to your achievements this service term. This is the middle of your journey, the hardest part. You are all capable of great things, the pruners are yours for the taking.

Thank You.

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