Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah “Pickles” Goodnow

Sarah "Pickles" Goodnow (left) with Katie Turner (right) at the Volunteer Appreciation Party
Sarah “Pickles” Goodnow (left) with Katie Turner (right) at the Volunteer Appreciation Party

Sarah “Pickles” Goodnow is one of Sierra Harvest’s beloved volunteers assisting in almost every area of our work and always with such joy, passion and a smile. Her heart is made of gold and we have been blessed for several years to have her share her precious time, skills and compassion to support our programs.  At the recent Soup Night, she wasn’t even signed up to help, and showed up mid-afternoon to help in the kitchen and stayed all evening till the end!

What kind of volunteer activities have you participated in with Sierra Harvest (SH)? I’ve helped at the Food Love Project (FLP) summer camp, the Saturday farmer’s market, working at the market garden and the Food Love Project.  Last year I worked every Saturday all summer and fall at the market garden and enjoyed it so much.  I volunteered between all the different areas about 10-15 hours/week this past year.  With being on independent study for school, I could devote more time this year.  I truly enjoy the farm field trips working with the students – they are really fun!

How did you become interested in SH and when? I started volunteering with SH when I was just 14 years old. A friend of mine told me about the FLP summer camp and I wanted to work at a summer camp.  I then met with Katie Turner and Amanda Thibodeau and volunteered for summer camp that year.  I love working with the kids.  I love getting dirty, working with the earth, planting and watching them grow and then eating the food!  All of it so much fun.  We had a little garden at my home so this experience was new to me.  This past year I learned so much that I got so excited about growing my own food!

What do you enjoy about your volunteering with SH? One of my favorite things is the people that are involved at Sierra Harvest from the staff, to volunteers, to students – they are all wonderful people!  Being able to work with the earth and create something from it is also excellent.

How did you get your nickname Pickles and is that how you would like to be called? On the first day of Food Love Project summer camp, each camper picks a nickname and since I love pickles, that’s the name I chose.  I love all pickles but dill are the best!  At camp you only greet one another by your camp name.  “Pickles” stuck, therefore, even outside of camp, everyone called me Pickles too!  It grew on me and I love it!

Please share a memorable experience? At the FLP summer camp I had two camp students name themselves after me – Little Pickle and Dill Pickle, both ages 8 years old! I am still in touch with one of them.

What other passions and activities do you enjoy doing? I love to go to Zumba class and make perler bead crafts and friendship bracelets.  I also volunteer weekly at Union Hill School with a girls counseling group where we make self-soothing boxes to include items to help students feel better.

What does the future hold for you, though we will be sad if you are not around to volunteer? I want to be a child life specialist that works in a children’s hospital where you teach children about the procedure they are about to experience and prepare them for their experience.  For example, I would show them how an IV would go into their arm but doing it onto a stuffed animal bear so that they can witness it first and understand what will happen to them. I would also like to incorporate horticultural therapy into my future job because of the influence my SH volunteer time had on me!  I’ll need a bachelor’s in child development and am planning on attending Sierra College next year to start on this path!