If you come to New City Cafe this summer, there is a good chance you’ll run into Aidan! He’s often helping to run the cash register or bus and serve tables. This is Aidan’s second summer on the farm (he also worked during the academic year) and he’s been working on the farm and helping to launch the cafe this year. As a second year student he feels like he has gained a lot of trust. According to Aidan, “the first summer felt like a test run, and this summer it is a lot more like Lance or Joel saying, ‘hey, I’m going to ask you to do this,’ and then leaving me to get it done.”  He goes on to explain, “during my first year if they would have told me to go and harvest kale, I wouldn’t have known how to do that. This year I do know what to do. So I’ve gained trust through my experience.”

Aidan says this summer feels less like “just a job” because he has built relationships and feels a sense of community here. Not only has he gotten to know his peers and the staff, but he’s become invested in the younger students as well. During the school year Aidan help to lead a cooking and a gardening club for the elementary afterschool program, “and now I see them coming to work at the cafe and in the bakery,” he shares. Plus, working at the farm share pick up has helped him to get to know the shareholders. “You see people coming to get their vegetables, and now coming to the cafe, or coming to volunteer. You start to feel like people aren’t just passing by but that you know them and recognize them.”

Aidan talked about the skills he’s learned that he could see himself using in the future. “You learn a lot of really helpful skills in the kitchen, in the cafe, and out in the field. Some things are just helpful for life- like tending a garden, preparing food, and also you learn a lot about the different kinds of foods and how to use them well. I’ve become better at talking to people and being more open as well,” he reflects, ” if I would have been working at the cash register a year ago I wouldn’t have engaged with people, but now I can start a conversation with people.”

It’s clear that Aidan enjoys his time in the kitchen the most. He loves cooking and baking, and really enjoys making pizzas. His favorite so far was the spicy sausage pizza. Besides for dreaming of opening a bakery or restaurant someday, Aidan says the kitchen skills are helpful because, “I’m going to need to eat in the future and I’d rather not survive off of ramen noodles in college.” We’re thankful for the ways Aidan continues to grow as a leader at New City Neighbors. His energy and creativity have become a key part of our team.