Category: Carolina Vaquerano

For the past two months I have seen a change within me. I feel that this change has come about thanks to Mother Nature, Sarvodaya, and the wonderful people that I have met through this internship program. Working outside and witnessing life play out is such a beautiful experience. It is an experience that textbooks cannot teach. My desire to learn more about plants and ecosystems has become stronger. I feel like I am a sponge just trying to absorb as much knowledge as I can. In short, I am just really happy that I was given the opportunity to learn from amazing people about nutrition, social justice, farming, etc. All of you have made a difference in my life and I am so thankful to have met each and everyone of you.


So this week I experienced pincher bugs in my hair, on my legs and even inside my shirt. That being said, I decided to do a little bit of research on these little buggers to better understand them. Pincher bugs were given the name Earwig due to an old wives tale that earwigs burrowed into the brains of humans through the ear and laid their eggs there. They are found everywhere in the world except Antarctica. Furthermore, they are nocturnal insects that like to hide in small, moist areas during the day. They also have wings but do not fly.

Forficula auricularia are responsible for damaging crops. Both sexes have forceps but males have curved forceps while females have straight forceps. They are omnivorous and feed on plants to spiders, aphids, dead plants and insect eggs. White clover and dahlias are their favorite plants to munch on. In addition, they like to feed on molasses, mosses, lichens and algae. They prefer to eat meat or sugar to natural plant material.

I found some interesting ways to get earwigs off plants. One method I found was to roll up damp newspapers or cereal boxes in the garden during the evening. The second method involved pouring vegetable or olive oil into a shallow dish. The following YouTube video shows the method and the results:

I would love to see this being done at the farm. Just to see if it really works like it does in the video.

As I walk on the dusted mulch pathway towards Sarvodaya Farms at 8am my body is trying to wake up. My head is groggy, my eyes are trying to make sense of what is in front of them and the caffeine from a Starbucks cup of coffee is slowly blocking the receptors responsible for drowsiness. After I clock myself in I walk into the nursery and immediately my body wakes up. I carefully observe the various trays where the seedlings have not yet popped up and pronounce their presence to the world. My initial thoughts are filled with concern and disappointment. I quickly look at the masked taped tab to check if it was I who planted the seeds. The handwriting always gives it away. Lo and behold it is my handwriting and questions are running through my head. Did I plant them correctly? Did I wash my hands before planting the seeds in each cell? Did I put the correct number of seeds in each cell? Have I not been watering them enough? Why aren’t you growing??! Working in the nursery makes me feel like I am going through motherhood. I have never had a child but whenever I am in the nursery I feel responsible for the seeds and hope that they grow into beautiful successful plants. It gives me great joy when I see the trays with my handwriting growing into cute little seedlings.


The process from seeing these tiny little seeds being planted in the cells to growing into dazzling adult plants fills me up with a lot of happiness. Witnessing the process of life every week inspires me to better my life, my body and soul.

Yikes! It has been awhile since I posted something. School, work and the internship has kept me very busy but I think I finally am getting into the groove of things. Hmm so what’s new? Well I started a tractor driving course at Mt. San Antonio college. I learned about different tractors and got to drive one. Oh and I learned how to use a clutch! When I first learned how to use a clutch it was in a intro motorcycle driving 3 day course. I caught on pretty quickly but I was still pretty clumsy on the motorcycle. In my mind I really thought that I was going to get the certificate of completion and be on my way to the dmv to get a motorcycle license. Unfortunately, on the third day those dreams got shattered. The instructor designed the course so that the trainees could practice how to go left and right on the motorcycle? I think was trying to make a left turn but instead I cranked the throttle and blanked out on how to stop the bike. So I was literally driving myself in full speed to a pile of rocks ahead of me. I crashed and luckily the only injuries I sustained was a small gash on the knee and my right toenail ripped off. But, hey! Other than that I was A OK!

A couple of weeks ago I became part of the nursery team. At the same time my nursery management class began and I learned a bit about Luther Burbank. The city of burbank is named after him and he was a pioneer in agricultural science. He created the Russet Burbank potato which has become the world’s predominant potato in food processing. He was really good friends with Thomas Edison and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. I also learned a bit about Kate Sessions who created Balboa Park in San Diego.

Well I hope everyone had a great week! I will see everyone on the farm tomorrow! Have a great night!

Hello beautiful people! This week marks the end for our group to be dubbed the animal team. When I first started working with the chickens I absolutely loathed the task. This was primarily due to what I thought about chickens. But, after weeks of interacting and observing the chickens they began to grow on me. Each chicken has their own personality and beauty that it is hard not to love them after a couple of weeks. I think that they are beautiful animals and I have gained a greater appreciation for their existence on this wonderful planet. Interning at Sarvodaya has really opened my eyes in a way where little by little I am able to see the big picture of why things are the way they are.

The word that comes to my mind when I think about this week is separation. On Wednesday’s lecture, Rishi touched upon what is natural and what is unnatural. The very idea that we as a species need to separate the idea of what we think is life just shows how out of touch we are with reality. This is due to our society having a reductionist point of view. Reductionism is focusing on the parts not the whole. For example, in order to understand the animal cell we need to focus on the atoms and molecules that make up the cell. On the other hand, holism focuses on “the big picture” instead of its constituent elements. Reductionism certainly has its pros and without the analytic-reductionist thought we would not have many things that we have today. Unfortunately, we have  applied this thought to people, livestock, countries, cultures etc. Is it not time that we step back and think that the word animal refers to US and other species of animals? That a pig is not a livestock but a pig? Furthermore, we have the black, asian, latino communities when in fact we are just one big community! Countries are literally just huge communities! We have this “us vs. them” mentality and it really distorts reality and our minds. I hope all of us one day can see the bigger picture. In my opinion, the solution is we just need to be in nature. Whether it be by hiking or poking a stick in dirt surrounded by beautiful plants we just need to be out with mother nature. In fact, mother nature did not design us to be stuck inside a building looking at a computer screen all day. We are animals and we should be with mother nature like our ancestors did.

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
Jane Goodall

Good evening everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Working on the farm this week was very relaxing. The various tasks that were assigned to us were very fun and gave me a bit of peace. As I entered the chicken area I noticed what I think are apple trees start to blossom. The sight of their flowers filled me with joy and tranquility that I started to wonder why I do not spend more time in nature. Later on as I was working on the fields Katy pointed out the fractal shapes of the romanesco broccoli. It was really cool to see the shapes in person as opposed to seeing them on paper. All the beautiful shapes and sights that mother nature produces helps me find some inner peace. I even notice it when I am tending to my plants at home. Everyday I look at my plants in great detail and I observe their colors, the way they are growing and how they smell. This process clears up my mind and makes me feel good that I am taking care of this beautiful green life form. I am really happy that I have decided to center my life and career with plants. Never in a million years would I have imagined that. These next couple of years will be very exciting and I cannot wait to see what else I learn next.

Hello beautiful people! I hope everyone had a lovely week and weekend. This morning I went to the Claremont Farmer’s market. Now, I have been to a farmer’s market before but I never purchased any items. Usually, I would just walk around and observe what vendors were selling. But, today was different and I attribute this change to Elinor’s Food Preparation and Nutrition Course. Also, working on the farm has made me really think about what I am eating. A few weeks ago when all the interns sat around and checked in, Manju asked us to define health and my answer was treating my body as a temple. Unfortunately, I have not been treating my body that way religiously. But, working at Sarvodaya and being exposed to so much information on plants and food has made me taken a serious stance on what I am eating. Furthermore, I will be turning 26 years old this year (OMG) and I really want to have a healthy functioning body as I get older.

Along with eating healthy I must also include physical activity in my life. Earlier this week I saw a show on Netflix called Abstract: The Art of Design. It features various artists from different industries whose works shape the world we live in today. They featured Nike’s Air Jordans designer Tinker Hatfield. This guy has blood of an 18 year old. He skates, surfs, does crossfit etc. and he is 65 years old! I can’t even walk outside my house! As soon as I take those first steps outside my heart is pumping, I’m out of breath. I don’t really feel like that but I am a lazy slob. But I want to be that guy when I am 65 years old. I need to approach physical activity in a different way. Like Traci said a couple of Wednesday’s ago health also includes your mind and spirit. There is so much that I am learning but I am really happy that I get to work and interact with awesome people that really care to make a difference.

Man it has been one crazy week for America and me personally. But, seeing everyone united and speaking out reassures me that everything will be ok. Recently, I enrolled into two courses on Coursera: What A Plant Knows and Agriculture, Economics and Nature. For those of you who are not familiar with Coursera, it is basically an educational technology company that offers massive open online courses from universities around the world.

So far in What a Plant Knows course I learned about what plants can see and smell. For instance, plants can detect the direction of light, the intensity and when it should be flowering. For example, blue light initiates phototropism which means a plant growing in the direction of light. Charles Darwin was actually the first person to discover this and created an experiment that is similar to the following picture:

Red light initiates flowering but a darker shade of red will inhibit that action. Also, plants do not measure the length of day but rather the length of night which I find fascinating. I also learned that plants are highly sensitive to smell. When a fruit ripens, it emits a chemical called ethylene which signals to the other fruits to ripen. Ethylene is particularly important for plant aging and is the regulator for leaf senescence meaning autumn foliage. This lecture was pretty cool because I was introduced to a plant called cuscuta pentagona aka the dodder plant. Now the dodder plant is really interesting because it cannot carryout photosynthesis like most plants can. Instead it acts as a parasitic plant by attaching itself to another plant and lives off of their nutrients. But, the dodder plant does not attach itself to any plant no no no. It is highly selective and makes a decision by sniffing out its prey. If you do not believe me check the following video out! It’s pretty cool!

This week I learned about what plants can feel. I am not finished with this week’s lecture but so far it is pretty awesome. They introduce a little bit about neural communication and electricity. These concepts are very evident in mimosa pudica (sensitive plant). Check it out!

Lastly, in my Agriculture, Economics and Nature class I learned a bit about supply and demand. Furthermore, the various resources used in farming production. It is basically an agriculture economics course and so far I have learned about the 2007 food crises and that wheat prices have been falling since the 1850’s. Here is a brief summary of their course:

If anyone is interested in these courses I highly suggest that you join Coursera. It is a wonderful website and they have many courses in various subjects. I hope everyone has a good night! Thank you!

Hello beautiful people! I hope everyone had a fantastic week and weekend despite of some disappointing events that recently happened. Nonetheless, as my favorite rapper Kendrick Lamar once said, we are all going to be alright. I was born and raised in southern California. Sometimes I like to act like a clown and sometimes I like to be quiet. These past few years I  have become more of a homebody but occasionally I like to go out and get turnt up as people say nowadays. Watching films is probably one of my favorite hobbies to do. Currently, I am trying to limit myself from watching current movies and instead view the classics like Casablanca or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Music is my therapy and reading is my escape.

For the first time in my life (and I feel that I am accurately using this phrase correct for once) I have found my passion: food. Now I do not mean food in the sense of eating it which is probably one of my favorite things to do in life. The best part about food is eating it no doubt about it. What I mean is the process of nurturing a little seed and help it grow into a beautiful plant that will produce all the delicious food that my tummy likes. For too long we as humans have separated ourselves from this process. It is time that we go back to our roots like our ancestors did and grow food. I believe this will help us appreciate food that we take for granted and help us come together to help one another and our planet. Furthermore, at the moment agriculture is not sustainable. By 2050, the world population will increase to about 10 billion. How are we going to feed 10 billion people when natural resources are dwindling? I hope that I can contribute to finding a solution to this problem and I feel that Sarvodaya Farms can help me with that.