By: Tiana Williams, sophomore, Community, Environment, and Development Major
My favorite thing about this internship so far is the way it has allowed me to connect to people. It gives me the chance to talk to people I normally would not come across and to connect with them on the basis that we have all come together for the purpose of making fresh food available to all. I am not the most social or outgoing person out there and there are times where I would rather retreat into my bed than to go to another class meeting and be social but joining the Student Farm crew has truly been rewarding. It’s a new community I’ve been accepted into. When we’re out there in the field it’s a communal event. We’re digging, raking, pruning, and laughing.
Community to me a is place where I can connect with the people around me. Community is place where I feel welcomed as I am. I feel community when I’m with the other interns on the farm. We all have different personalities and come from different backgrounds and yet we get along so well, chatting before classes, joking and laughing. We rely on each other in a way that other jobs don’t require. When we struggle on the farm we struggle together and when one person succeeds we all celebrate. We have a responsibility to the farm and to each other which makes our bond so much stronger.
This connection extends beyond the interns and includes the wider community. Seed starting a few weeks ago included master gardeners and other state college members. As a student, I live in a bubble of the University Park campus, never really integrating with the community at large. The Student Farm includes other community members in our events not only so they can be a part of the farm, but as a way for students to learn more about the community around them. It’s a chance to make this town we live in truly feel like home.
Both the Student Farm and Urban Tree Connection, the farm I’ll be working on this summer for my Urban Ag in Philadelphia internship, have the mission of creating community. Community can mean two things according to Google. It can mean “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” For the Student Farm that would be engaging the State College area and for Urban Tree Connection it would be engaging the Haddington neighborhood of West Philadelphia. A second definition of community is “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” For both organizations the goal is to have a beautiful farm that nourishes the community. I’m glad to be a part of both. Having grown up in west Philadelphia, this is a wonderful opportunity this summer to give back to the community that raised me. Working with the Student Farm is a lovely chance to be a part of something greater than myself. It gives me a sense of purpose and camaraderie. The Student Farm is a farm and a family.