Farm as Classroom

There was in interesting article in the New York Times today about the increasing number of collegiate interns on organic farms across the country this season. It hit especially close to home to me, as a recent college grad (with a degree in English and American Literature and a minor in Creative Writing) who finds herself too tired to even read at night after planting cabbage, watering cows, and managing CSA members every day. Although I’ve traded in Kant for field guides I am learning new skills all the time (flame-weeding, sheet-rocking, irrigating, cooking for a very hungry crowd to name a few).

The piece begins to articulate the way I feel about work on the farm as personal  political action, “Some students say food is the political movement of their time. “I no longer wish I was born in the ’60s,” said Mr. Katz, 20, who discovered farming as an outgrowth of his interest in environmental issues.”

I am in good company of people who are thinkers and artists as well as growers, so maybe that helps me to never feel out of place. The article does point out the trials of hiring college kids with little real-farm experience, “Of course, employing people who know a lot about food systems but nothing about farming can be as much a headache as a help. Manure spreaders get broken, carrot shoots get pulled instead of weeds, and people sleep in.” I have yet to break any heavy machinery or weed too enthusiastically, but that 5 a.m. wake-up takes some serious getting used to.

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