Pictured: GrowNYC’s green market in Union Square.
My name is Kyla Stewart, and I am a senior at Seton Hall University majoring in Diplomacy with a minor in Spanish. I worked as the Government Relations Intern at GrowNYC, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on sustainability and food access.
GrowNYC’s programming includes green markets and community gardens as well as school-based initiatives that emphasize school gardens, self-sustaining cafeterias, zero waste, and youth employment for our markets, promoting environmental awareness at a young age. There are over 100 gardens and 50 green markets across the five NYC boroughs. I developed a huge passion for the organization’s mission, and I thoroughly enjoyed every day spent working in the office and out in the field.
I completed a variety of tasks under the development department but drafting and editing contracts were the priority. My work involved processing and writing contract agreements for GrowNYC funding while also seeking out new grants and reporting on progress for each contract. I never thought that processing a 200+ page city council discretionary funding allocation contract could be fun, but I enjoyed it tremendously, and I have gained so much insight as to how non-profits function and fund programs.
I was also regularly involved with the non-profit lobbying arm of the group, which included writing and prepping materials for presentations intent on helping GrowNYC gain more funding for its programming. In this role, I was able to be highly independent and gain plenty of hands-on experience in the field of government relations, and I am so grateful for the opportunities offered by the non-profit and its impactful initiatives.
GrowNYC was more than I ever could have hoped for. The work environment fostered so much of my professional growth, and I gained an incredible amount of knowledge and experience as a result. This internship cemented my interest in the government relations field with a non-profit focus, and I hope to someday get my master’s in diplomacy in the field of sustainable development. GrowNYC’s mission left a huge personal impact on me, and I go forward confident that I have gained the skills I need to be successful.