Chris Herron Professional Development Grant Recipient Tracey Wingate, Growing Places

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Chris Herron Professional Development Grant Recipient 
Tracey Wingate, Growing Places

In Fall 2018, YNPN Boston launched the Chris Herron Professional Development Fund (CHPDF). Tracey Wingate, TerraCorps Member at Growing Places, first heard about the CHPDF grant from the TerraCorps weekly newsletter; she applied and received one of the first  grants ever awarded by the fund. We recently interviewed Tracey to find out more about her experience. 

What made you decide to apply?

I had just learned about a conference I was really interested in, but realized I would not be able to afford the conference fees and travel to attend without supplemental funding. After I learned about the Chris Herron Professional Development Fund and realized that I qualified as a young professional working in the Greater Boston Area, I decided to fill out the application. 

With your grant, what PD opportunity were you able to complete?

Thanks to the CHPDF, I was able to travel to Philadelphia and attend the 2018 It Takes A Region Conference put on by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group.

How did that opportunity improve, enhance, or otherwise benefit your career? 

Attending this conference gave me the opportunity to meet professionals working in all different ways to create more just, sustainable food systems across the country. 

What were some key takeaways or next steps that came out of that opportunity? 

I went to an informative session by an organization called DC Greens about how they are making fresh, healthy food available and affordable through farmers’ markets around Washington DC. I was particularly inspired by this presentation because Growing Places manages several farmers’ markets and has been looking for ways to improve them. I shared the DC Greens market model and community engagement strategies with my supervisor, and she agreed that similar strategies would benefit our farmers’ markets. Another key takeaway I got from this session is that efforts to reform the food system need to be tailored to individual communities and must have community buy-in to make a difference. 

Do you have any tips for someone getting started in the nonprofit sector? 

I just graduated from college a year ago, so I definitely still count myself as someone who is getting started in the nonprofit sector. I would say nonprofits all work a little bit differently, and it’s helpful to do some research on the organizations involved in work you are interested in to learn about their missions, models of operation, and funding sources. I have also conducted a few informational interviews with professionals in roles I would consider applying for and found it helpful to hear their paths through the nonprofit world.

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You can find Tracey on LinkedIn.

To find out about the next round of applications for the Chris Herron Professional Development Fund, or to make a donation to the fund, visit our website: https://www.ynpnboston.org/professional_development_grants


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