Another busy season is underway here at the Hampshire College Farm. This summer we have a terrific group of hardworking interns helping with everything from raising chickens to pounding tomato stakes. One hot afternoon, while cooling off over some ice-cold drinks and popsicles, we asked them about their experiences so far and their future plans.
Blue DuRard Keller, a Hampshire College student, says that he has romanticized farming for a number of years, but has never done any real farm work until now. His favorite activity is planting because of how satisfyingly methodical it is, and he particularly looks forward to harvesting what he has planted in the fall. He adds, “As a student whose studies are centered around poetry, I hope to use this experience to inspire my creative writing, both now and moving forward. Additionally, I’ve realized that farming is something I plan to seriously consider as a future career for myself after I graduate from Hampshire.”
Kari Wang, a Hampshire College student who participated in the FARM! LLC (Living, Learning Community) last year, really enjoyed working at the farm in the past, and particularly loves the farm dogs. (“They’re the best!”) Her favorite activities so far this summer include building the new shade house and seeding, watering, and watching new plants grow. She also likes hoeing weeds. Looking ahead to the rest of the summer, she says, “I don’t know what I’m doing with my ‘future’, but I guess this summer’s gonna be my best memory about this place!”
Maggie Ng, who graduated from Hampshire this spring and will be a crew leader and the Stokes Farm Apprentice here this fall, says she has learned a lot so far about crop management, ecology, and tractor-driving. She views this summer as “an opportunity to learn more about the logistics of farm work and management and how to maintain sustainable ag operations.” She hopes to work in the agricultural field in the future, although not necessarily as a farmer, adding, “This experience has afforded me a deep appreciation for farm laborers and every single thing I get to eat!”
Liz Ford, a second-year student at Hampshire College, worked at the farm last summer on the animal crew, and is looking forward to learning more about growing vegetables this summer. Her most interesting experience so far has been castrating piglets, which she describes as “really unique” and as an experience she wouldn’t have had otherwise. (We’re not going to argue…) She really enjoys working as part of a team so that she gets to work with a wide variety of people, and views this as valuable experience for any future plans.
Will Kleinsteiber, a Hampshire student whose Div II will be on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Justice in Urban Food Systems, wanted to work at the farm in order to deepen his academic studies. With a goal of working in food systems after he graduates, he says “It’s been very fun to work all day planting, and it leaves me feeling satisfied after every day… I feel gratitude for all the work it takes to grow food!”
Caitlin Lewis, from Mt. Holyoke College, originally wanted to become a large animal veterinarian, and still wants to work with livestock and agriculture in some way. The most interesting thing she has done so far is catching and holding sheep to check for hoof issues. She says, “This job has given me an even greater appreciation for how we get our food. It has pushed me to try new things and work hard in a completely new way!”
Welcome, farm crew! We look forward to working with you!