Name: Ngoc Thi Lan Pham
Class Year: 2021
Major: Growth and Structure of Cities
Internship Organization: Philadelphia Orchard Project
Job Title: Communication and Outreach Intern
Endowed Internship Funding Award: Nancy N. Grape Summer Internship Fund
What’s happening at your internship?
As POP’s communication and outreach intern, I would share ideas and inspiration about POP’s values and missions through media pages and blog posts. I am currently developing different maps of orchards, community gardens, and places of importance in community development of different neighborhoods in Philly. I am also assisting in a campaign to uplift and promote the work of POP’s partners.
Why did you apply for this internship?
It started with my curiosity about urban gardening when my family shared a small plot of land back home and I wanted to turn the space into a little garden to provide fresh fruits and vegetables and also support my parents mentally as they can spend time in nature in the dense city of Hanoi.
Learning about Philadelphia Orchard Project opened up my mind about food forest, permaculture, and regenerative agriculture in an urban setting, and thus I decided to apply for the internship and use this opportunity to build up my knowledge to able to practice urban agriculture at home. The internship also inspired me to look into the issue of equity and justice in Philly.
What has been your favorite part of this internship?
My favorite part of this internship is the creation of orchard maps. For each map I did research about the neighborhoods involved and the development of the local communities. In Philly, the stories of community gardens and orchards and foodways always intertwine with stories of underrepresented communities. The green space in the neighborhoods therefore is embedded in itself many meaning levels, with food insecurity the most basic. While creating maps and Storymaps, even though remotely in Hanoi, I could feel like I was walking on Philly’s streets, talking to people, and witnessing stories across the timeline of the city’s history.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?
The challenge that I remember the most was the time when the news was exploding with information about George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor... and the civil rights struggle in the U.S. I was in Vietnam at that time and was both overwhelmed with the media and troubled on choosing the public information I would share on the Philadelphia Orchard Project’s social media pages. For this challenge, my supervisor, Kim, took initiative and posted on how the organization would always choose to stand with the Black Lives Matter campaign and again stressed POP’s values and missions. That post guided me in my later choice of information and language. Even though I did not overcome this challenge, I was impressed by the action my supervisor took and learned that it takes a lot of understanding of the organization’s values to be able to speak to the public about its standing on such an important matter. From then on, I was more cautious about the words and information I shared, as I understand that I would be speaking for the whole organization and community.
Visit the Summer 2020 Internships page to read more student stories.