Tracy prepping sample cups for a Tasty Challenge.

Farewell to Tracy, our Food Hero!

We recently said goodbye to our wonderful Garden & Nutrition Educator, Tracy Ryan, as she transitioned into a position supporting students at Jewell Elementary School. While we are sad to see her go, those that know Tracy know that she loves to laugh and her enthusiasm for life can be infectious. So we know she’ll bring joy to her new students, and we’re keeping her involved in school garden work as she supports some teachers there excited about expanding a small garden space.

We especially want to thank and acknowledge the incredible amount of work that Tracy accomplished during her time here, both as a FoodCorps Service Member, and then as our Garden & Nutrition Educator during the pandemic. She piloted a new national Tasty Challenge for FoodCorps, supported Three Rivers School garden from a mobile indoor garden carts to outdoor garden beds, and presented many classroom and video lessons showing her passion for all things food. Her flexibility, dedication, enthusiasm, and constant pivoting as we adapted to the constantly changing school climate this last year were key to working through arguably the hardest year ever. Her passion for food has elevated the work of our garden program forever, and while her impact is immeasurable, there are some things she did over the last three years that we did track…

Tracy working with students in the garden.

  • 1 Carrot Costume – Tracy will fondly be remembered by some students as “The Carrot Lady”.
  • 2 Vegetable Earrings – peas, and you guessed it, carrots.
  • 3 Years with The Environmental Center – 2 as a FoodCorps service member through AmeriCorps, one as a staff member through an Oregon Farm to School grant.
  • 4 “Tasty Tuesdays” – Cafeteria wide taste tests between one vegetable prepared 2 ways at Three Rivers School.
  • 20 YouTube videos  – Reading stories and sharing lessons for students while they were learning at home. 
  • 188 “Lunch Bites” Educational Flyers – These went out in tens of thousands of school meals during covid school closures!
  • 1,868 Taste Tests – Tracy cooked, prepped and served every sample for those cafeteria tastings!
  • 2,383 Grab & Go Garden and Nutrition Activity Kits – Packed and distributed over the course of the pandemic in Redmond, Bend and Sunriver.
  • Over 8,000 student contacts during her time with us!