My First Month at QC Family Tree Jul 6, 2021

"This culture is built on the great lie of scarcity, that there is not enough for the flourishing of everyone." -QC Family Tree Theory of Change.

If you asked me a month ago what I was going to do at the non-profit I was interning at, I would’ve confusedly replied, “Gardening? Social media? I’m not really sure.” I had trouble explaining what QC Family Tree did to my classmates and family members and especially what I would be doing as an intern over the summer. Now, just one month in, I like to think about my experience in terms of something I spend a lot of my time doing: picking blueberries.

I pick blueberries almost everyday. When I arrive at QC Family Tree in the mornings, I do a quick walk-around to check on all of the plants I (at least attempt to) keep alive. I delight to see bright blue, ripe berries hanging on the vines. After turning on the sprinklers and tending to the chickens and the duck, I return to my favorite activity of the day. I grab a tupperware container and get to picking. Time passes quickly, even in the heat, as my fingers pluck the berries off one by one. Many days, folks passing by will call out hello to me from the sidewalk. Miss Michelle will stop by for a conversation and to grab some berries, or Brother Rashaad will grace me with some of his wisdom and Bible lessons. Picking the berries gives me time to think, time to listen, and time to talk.

The ripe berries will sometimes hide behind the lines of little pink ones not yet ready to pick. I’ll bend over, squat, or stand on a chair to attempt to get all of the berries so that they don’t go to waste. To find the good fruit, sometimes you need a change in perspective. As a busy college student, often occupied by my own worries and tasks, QC Family Tree has given me the change in perspective that I needed. When I’m picking blueberries, I can clearly see the value of being in Enderly Park.. Many folks will never get to experience the value of neighborhoods like this one, preferring instead to focus on the same areas that get the most public funding, those with below-ground power lines and private schools. Those that have never been considered “troubled.” But I am grateful that I was lucky enough to get assigned to QC Family Tree this summer and to spend my summer, not just picking blueberries, but spending time with Greg, Helms, Kendrick, Langley, and the people of Enderly Park.

The blueberries I pick represent the possibility of the flourishing of all people. Not just white folks, or rich folks, or educated folks, or straight folks. I see flourishing in the replishining of the free-for-all pantry, in the laughs of the children playing with water balloons at the our block parties, in the chatter as people enjoy a hot dog at community meal, and in hearing people’s music as they drive by while I do my favorite activity: pick blueberries. QC Family Tree helps people to flourish. That is now what I can tell people when they ask what I’m doing this summer.