By: Allyson Ulsh, junior, Environmental Resource Management
Hi! My name is Allyson Ulsh and I am one of the Community Outreach interns for the Student Farm. Pictured above is my partner in crime, Madison Rios, who is also a Community Outreach intern. “But wait…” you might say, “I thought the Student Farm was about growing vegetable crops?” And yes, this is an educational farm where anyone can learn how to grow food organically – however, the Student Farm is so much more than just that (which is no small feat to begin with). We have partnered with community organizations such as Taproot Kitchen and Food Bank Farm to assist them in their efforts to sustainably grow crops, educate the public about agricultural initiatives, and address food security issues. Coming into this position, I had no idea how I would have a role in any of this – and two weeks in we’re still figuring out how to balance our work on the farm with our work with community partners. An example of our (a)typical day is this: In the morning, Madison and I arrive on the Student Farm at 8 am with our other fellow interns, where we then work together to prep beds for transplanting crops, harvest crops, and complete other tasks such as mowing or chasing bunnies out of the crops. Near lunchtime, Madison and I get in our cars and drive to Taproot Kitchen or Food Bank Farm depending on the day.
Each day brings different things to do, you never quite know what to expect! One day we might be planting herb gardens for Taproot Kitchen to use in their food prep while the next day we are cutting deer fencing to keep rabbits out of the melon crops we planted for Food Bank Farm. Our day typically ends around 5 pm. While this seems like a very long day, it is all worth it when you are finished to look at the progress you have made and think about the people you have helped. Although it certainly isn’t fun to transplant over 60 melon plants in the midday heat, thinking about all of the people served at local food banks who will receive this fresh fruit makes all the hard work doubly worth it. I am excited to continue to give back to the community in ways I could never imagine. Throughout the summer, Madison and I will also be planning events and future outreach programs to connect as many community members as possible with our local food systems. Of all the things I have learned already through this internship, nothing comes to mind more clearly than that of the phrase: Many hands makes light work. Whether this applies to digging out pathways between beds or planning community events, anything is possible when you have many people working together for the same cause.