Travis Chellman is a valuable volunteer of the Starker Arts Garden for Education (SAGE)!  He is a recent transplant to Corvallis from California, and this last spring he was looking to do volunteer work related to food and found SAGE!  While living in California he had been a loyal volunteer of Food for Thought, an incredible organization that provides a food bank, community garden, and shared kitchen space for persons living with or affected by AIDS/HIV in Sonoma County. Travis began attending work parties at SAGE in the spring to contribute to a cause bigger than himself and to get to know the Corvallis community better.

Throughout the spring, summer and fall of 2010 Travis has been a sunny and kind presence at many of our weekly work parties – helping with everything from planting seedlings, weeding the veggies, working on our earth oven, and coming back to harvest for the food bank and soup kitchen this fall!

Having grown up in Santa Cruz, a community which he says likes to think of itself as “the organic center of the universe,” coming to Corvallis was a big change.  In Santa Cruz there is less attention to growing seasons – plants grow happily most of the year!  While volunteering at SAGE, Travis has said that he has gained an appreciation for seasonality and has been learning about sustainable gardening and planting timetables for our region by attending work parties and swapping info with other volunteers and SAGE staff.

Travis chooses to volunteer in part because of his study and practice of Buddhism.  It’s a big interest of his and been a motivator for volunteering.  Of all of the perfections in Buddhism, Generosity (dana) is #1, and it is considered the antidote to miserliness. Volunteer work is a part of his practice, and it allows him to give the valuable resources of time and self.

One of Travis’ favorite memories from volunteering in 2010 was returning to SAGE after a long trip out of town.  He says, “Coming back and seeing how well-established the plants had become was amazing – to see all the change and development and how enormous everything was!”  From helping plant the tiny seedlings in the spring to harvesting pounds and pounds of tomatoes, Travis has been an important part of SAGE’s success.