Role with the Student Farm: Project Manager

Major: Environmental Resource Management 

Hometown: Harrisburg 

Favorite Veggie: beets, because they are fun to grow and pretty colors 

Least Favorite Veggie: swiss chard, becuase it smells like gym socks

Tell us about your involvement with the Student Farm.

As a sophomore, I had the opportunity to intern and started doing work in the field, which led to getting more involved with the club. I served as the Community Engagement student intern, as one of the first interns who helped out with organic farms, Community Harvest Project, Taproot Kitchen (a nonprofit community partner), and established relationships with other farms. My role as an intern helped me recognize just how diverse agriculture is. Although it is not revolutionary, this type of internship work is student-led and creates a connection with the community. I also helped plan the summer solstice celebration, which was huge because I had to organize and plan an event during a time of the year when core club members were absent. This year, as the Project Manager on the executive board team with Student Farm Club, I organize project team leaders, who lead many of the club’s activities and goals. I have also been running Cooking Collab this year.

What have you learned during your time with the Student Farm?

I learned that there’s no one definition of what a farmer looks like, and that a “right” way to farm doesn’t truly exist. The College of Agriculture teaches about farm life from the classroom, but the Student Farm teaches techniques about successful farming through the dirty work of actually farming in person. This hands-on work brings a lot of empowerment–the power to be able to be innovate, and knowing you don’t have to follow the conventional ways of not only farming but other conventional farm-life expectations. Conventional farming can also be sustainable, and just because a farm is certified organic, that doesn’t mean organic farming is always sustainable. I learned a lot about environmental stewardship through the farm, which was key empowerment for my future career path. It informed the way I think about farm education and agricultural engagement, and personally, about how I purchase my own food.

“I’m so proud to be part of a team that has worked hard to make the farm site a permanent site for students to engage with and learn from–how could you ask for a more rewarding experience?”

What are some lessons you learned on the farm?

I learned to grow where you’re planted; I never really thought I would go to school in Pennsylvania and then work as a farmer, because I felt that people went to college to not work on the farm. However, my experience at the Student Farm completely changed this perception for me. My position as a part of the executive board and my internship experience created new opportunities that completely changed my outlook and what I want to do in life. Vegetables are not going away, they are a crucial part of our food system and life. I learned to always be patient!  You can’t force vegetables to grow faster, just like you can’t force many other things in life. The lesson learned is to take things as they come. 

What was your proudest moment in your time with the farm?

Proudest moments include planning Summer Solstice 2018, because the Student Farm Club leadership isn’t there in the summer, leaving the responsibility up to just the interns. It was a big project to oversee from start to finish but I was rewarded by double the attendance over the prior year! Everything came together perfectly and according to plan, and it was really cool to see the engagement of the community and students. There is also a lot of women empowerment! It is truly a safe space for everyone. I have never felt so inspired by the women around me as women were role models, and who I was learning from for a majority of the time. It empowered me in a different way than any other organization I have been involved in. 

Funny moment on the farm: During a volunteer day with Jess, we were picking peas, and I heard a squeaky noise. Jess said, “I think there are mice in the field”.  While I was picking peas I saw the face of a tiny mouse, and let out a blood-curdling scream!