Strong/Gault Social Advancement Internship Grant Recipient
For Casey, farming has been a life-changing experience. “I spent the summer after my first year living completely off the grid, working on a small organic farm in New Hampshire. I left with an understanding of how to grow and sell food in a northeastern climate and market and an appreciation for the philosophical and, at times, therapeutic aspects of agricultural work.” She shared these lessons with new Mainers through an internship with Cultivating Community, which supports refugees and immigrants in running their own independent farm.
Casey often worked in the fields with her refugee partners or assisted them with bookkeeping tasks. “Easily the biggest challenge I faced daily was communication with farmers, the majority of whom know little to no English. It wasn’t uncommon for a farmer to harvest the wrong item due to miscommunication….Over the summer I made small but effective changes in the way I communicated with farmers.” Later, due to a change in staff, Casey took on an unexpected marketing role. “I was thrown into a position that I wasn’t necessarily qualified for, but I caught up quickly, filled the shoes they needed me to, and helped the organization meet their goals for the summer months.”
Despite these challenges, “I was able to build relationships with the farmers, help them understand American markets and buyers’ preferences, and watch as their skills and literacy improved.” Casey’s time at Cultivating Community has inspired her to combine her experience with her German studies and “apply for a Fulbright to teach English to German students of migrant or refugee descent in Germany.”
- Date July 19, 2016
- Tags 2016, Education, Environment, Junior, Social Service, Strong/Gault, USA