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User Spotlight: Claire Sadeghzadeh, Tricycle Gardens

Get to know Claire Sadeghzadeh, Program Coordinator, Tricycle Gardens.

“I love the ‘a-ha’ moments families have when learning and practicing new cooking or nutrition skills…”

Q: Tell us about yourself!

A: I lived and worked in Argentina running a small arts and culture blog after graduating from American University. Upon returning to Washington, DC, I worked for Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters as Outreach Associate for the Store program which is where families can learn and practice strategies for buying healthy foods on a budget. I combined my passions for nurturing local food systems and working with families on limited budgets when I joined Tricycle Gardens where I share ideas and skills for eating healthy and locally!

Q: What is the focus of your work and how does it align with ConnectVA’s mission to empower individuals, advance organizations, and strengthen our community?

A: My work primarily focuses on coordinating Tricycle Gardens’ educational programming to provide families, children and youth with opportunities to learn how to grow, buy, prepare and enjoy delicious vegetables. I also manage the distribution of produce to our Get Fresh! Health Corner Store Initiative, an initiative increasing access to fresh produce in corner stores located in communities with limited access to healthy food choices. Through strategic partnerships with community agencies, we offer in-store tastings and hands-on food skill workshops to provide families in our community an opportunity to prepare and try new vegetables at no-risk. I also work closely with our volunteers and corporate partners to plan and lead meaningful volunteer days to work alongside our staff digging in the dirt on our urban farm. This aligns with ConnectVA’s mission as we empower families to eat healthy on a budget, while strengthening the community and volunteer participation. ConnectVA is a great resource for us to help strengthen our staff’s ability to develop great, dynamic internships for students wanting experience in non-profit management as well as leveraging fundraising to support our work.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about your work?

A: I love the “a-ha” moments families have when learning and practicing new cooking or nutrition skills and the realization that cooking fresh produce straight from the source can be so easy and delicious!

Q: What’s coming next for your organization that really excites you?

A: Tricycle Gardens is growing every day! This March, we expanded to a third corner store in the East End. Right now, our greenhouse is filled with beautiful seedlings that will find homes in our beds in the next few weeks and begin to supply our community with incredible spring produce. The beauty of new plants never ceases to amaze me!

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