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Elias Attea wonders why we're facing so many social problems and finds an answer in our approach to education. Asking, "How can we teach someone if we deny who they are, if they don't know who they are?", Elias encourages us to reconsider how we interact with others, to question what we're cultivating when we only see a version of ourselves in the people we're trying to help. The answer to difficult social challenges is to start small, to learn about and invest in the lives of people in a way that respects their individual identity.
Elias Attea (pronouns: he/him/his) had been a Pellissippi State’s Good Food for All! AmeriCorps VISTA and Academic Specialist with UTK’s University-Assisted Community Schools (at Pond Gap Elementary) in Knoxville, TN from 2014 until 2016. In that time, Elias managed Pond Gap Elementary School’s educational school garden initiative (the former Pellissippi State Edible Schoolyards Project). This initiative, with its fourth-acre educational and production garden, was intended to provide food and urban agriculture education for school and surrounding community. As of current, Elias Attea is a farm caretaker, spiritualist, substitute teacher, and writer living in Buffalo, NY.