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Jun 17, 2013 2:31 PM by Ryan Haarer

UA externs, Tucson Village Farm work for sustainability

TUCSON - The University calls them externs, not interns because the work they are doing is not internal. It's work that can benefit everyone and they hope what they learn can help them apply healthy living standards in their careers.

"I am an environmental science major at the University of Arizona. So I am very interested in ecosystems as well as giving back to the community, especially children," said extern, Erika LaPlante.

They do a wide variety of jobs but teaching is most important to them so they spend quite a bit of time with summer campers at the Tucson Village Farm. As all good teachers they are constantly learning themselves.

"Being here has allowed me to kind of understand the way that food is consumed and produced and TVF provides an alternative to our traditional system," said extern, Kellan Smith.

The 'externship' through the U of A Cooperative Extension is setting these students up to pursue their dreams.

"I'll hopefully get my PhD in community ecology and hopefully end up in the Amazon rainforest one day doing field research!" said LaPlante.

They are planning careers that will continue giving back, showing the world how to keep themselves healthy, and from going hungry.

"I'd like to work in a food or social justice setting and really understand how to bring healthy and affordable food to all kinds of communities," said Smith.

This is the third year of this externship program and Tucson is not the only place externs help out. There is sustainability work to be done in seven different counties.

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