Student Ambassador Spreads Seeds and Hope During COVID-19

Alexa Tilley, Student Ambassador and daughter of Board Members Courtney and Trey Riley, is supporting Big Green’s mission of connecting everyone to real food during these uncertain times. As a sophomore in high school adapting to social distancing, Alexa decided it was imperative to figure out a safe way to connect her community to healthy food. I interviewed Alexa to learn about the good work she is doing and her inspiration to give back.

Can you describe what you have been doing to support Big Green? 

When the quarantine started I noticed how grocery stores were running low on a lot of fresh fruits or vegetables. My mom and I were talking about ways we could help this lack of fresh produce. We had a big box of seeds left over from Plant a Seed Day and I decided to distribute them in my neighborhood. I posted on social media and advertised that I was handing out free seeds and there was a huge response not only in my neighborhood but all around Fort Collins. I dropped the seeds off on the front porches of all who were interested. I ran through my huge box of seeds in three days and had to get another box to keep up with the demand.

What was the reaction from your community?

I could see how happy this made both kids and parents when I delivered the seeds. Planting an at home garden is such a fun, easy, therapeutic thing to do when we are forced to stay home. I had many parents reach out after to thank me for the delivery. They told me how happy and engaged their kids were as they planted and that they wanted to see how they could get a Learning Garden at their kids school.

Why were you motivated to start helping this way?

I have a passion for giving back, inspired by my involvement in the Adopt-a-Family ministry which helps families during Christmas time, so I met with the Big Green Colorado team earlier this year to talk about starting this Youth Ambassador program . I was talking with my mom about how expensive and hard it is to find fresh fruits and vegetables in these uncertain times so I wanted to help give people the cheaper, easy option to create home gardens. I also think young kids hear things differently when they come from a teenager so I hope to be someone the kids look up to so that they are inspired to grow their own food.

Why do you believe giving kids fresh, healthy food is important?

I am a Teacher’s Assistant for a health and wellness class for freshmen at my school so I know how important access to healthy food is but in America we have too many cheap processed food options. When I eat a salad I feel happier and more energetic and it means a lot to help spread this feeling to kids who normally wouldn’t have access to those veggies. I am grateful to be helping during this time and excited to continue to support health and wellness in schools next year.

What vegetable dishes have you been making during quarantine? 

I have been finding different ways to prepare artichokes, they are my favorite veggie currently. My mom also recently made a delicious stuffed pepper dish with orzo.

Big Green Colorado is so grateful for the amazing work Alexa is doing to help our communities at a time when they need it most. If you want to learn more about Big Green’s response to COVID-19 visit BigGreenatHome.org to sign up for our new at-home learning plan Homegrown. Homegrown provides a wide variety of hands-on learning activities including activity bundles, video lessons and live demonstrations, so kids can keep accessing high-quality education from home.

To support Homegrown and Big Green’s COVID-19 response consider donating to the Rapid Response Fund to keep kids learning, give teachers the tools they need, and support food access efforts.