By: Bowen Zheng, junior- Nutritional Sciences
It has only been a few weeks into the Student Farm training and I already know that I will most likely enjoy my time at the Student Farm during the summer. I lived around farmlands when I was a kid back in China and planted some sunflowers in the United States during middle school, but other than that I don’t really have any experience or knowledge about farming. I was always kind of interested in growing my own food but never really acted on it. Now I am in college and majoring in Nutrition, and I feel like it’s the perfect time for me to try it out. Some might think I would be too busy to do this kind of thing during college, but the freedom of living on my own and managing my own time actually makes it easier for me.
Even though I major in Nutritional Science, I don’t really know what I want to do afterward. And when I learned that I needed to get a 300 hours field experience internship to graduate, I really panicked and did not know what to do. Luckily one day, Dr. CK mentioned in class about a new opportunity for Nutrition students to intern at the Student Farm. I was immediately interested in the idea of working at the Student Farm as a Nutrition intern because I felt that it is a great way for me to finally try something that I wanted and to improve my community nutrition skills.
It was really exciting for me when we finally got to visit the farm for the first time. It was smaller than I thought it will be, but I have already learned from the previous class that size does not mean everything when it comes to farming. Efficiency is the key to farming, especially in smaller farms. Leslie and the other Farm employees showed us, the new interns, how to efficiently prep the soil and plant seeds on the farm. At first, it sounds quite complicated but after getting some hands-on experience, it made more sense to me. We worked on the farm until the sun completely set. We were treated to Leslie’s homemade salad which is made from baby plants from the Farm. It was a bit too sour for my taste because of the freshly squeezed lemon, but nevertheless, it was delicious.
Over a week later, I finally got to check out the greenhouses on campus because I missed my chance last time. It was a lot bigger than it seemed from the outside, and I was really surprised. We were in the greenhouse because it was the Seed Starting day for the Student Farm. Leslie taught us how to properly plant seeds before the event, and we used what we learned to teach the volunteers, Student Farm members, and Master Gardeners that attended the event to help with the seed starting process. That was a new and nervous experience for me: teaching something so soon right after learning it myself, but it was a great community nutrition experience to have. At the end of the day, we helped to plant over 15,000 seeds by hand! I even brought my friend Cody to help because she was very interested, as and she is a Nutrition student too.
We planted many different types of eggplants, peppers, and even flowers, along with many other vegetables. I am personally looking forward to the eggplants the most, because they are delicious. I cannot wait to be able to cook the vegetables that we grow ourselves!