Preston Public Interest Career Fund Recipient
During my junior year of high school, I attended Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki, where I had the opportunity to work on the school’s farm. During my time at the farm, I was in charge of turning the large piles of compost as well as for feeding and providing water to the young cows and sheep. I also milked cows, harvested vegetables, and planted new apple trees. This was my first introduction to small scale agriculture and the first time I actively thought about where my food was coming from. It was an introduction to a side of Environmental Studies that sometimes becomes obscured by discussions of wilderness, pollution, or climate change: food systems.
Food systems and agriculture are an essential part of the ways in which humans shape their environments, economies, and societies. By participating in the Farmer Training Internship with Cultivating Community, I hope to expand my knowledge of the role that agriculture plays in multiple facets of our lives. Additionally, the opportunity to help refugees living in Maine train to become small scale farmers will provide me with a more personal understanding of how people of different backgrounds interact with their environments, the challenges that those impacted by the global refugee crisis are facing, and a chance to have some positive impact on improving their opportunities here. By participating in this internship, I will not only gain insight into the ecological side of food systems, but also see how agriculture can play a range of roles in the lives of people with very different backgrounds. I would love to bring back to my Environmental Studies classes these new perspectives from which to view the environment and humans’ impacts upon it.
The Farmer Training Internship will also help me achieve my goal of becoming an environmental educator. The teaching, organizational, and managerial skills are all technical abilities that will help me in this field. Additionally, interacting with and teaching a diverse group of people through farming and through the managing of CSAs is applicable to becoming an environmental educator because I will be working with people of varied backgrounds and interests. I see agriculture as an integral part of the Environmental Studies realm. When I become an environmental educator, I hope to implement agriculture as a hands on curriculum tool for students to learn about the environment.
On the farm at Maine Coast Semester, I learned to understand the importance of farm timetables, the technical skills necessary for successful planting and harvesting of varied crops, as well as the specific needs of different animals. These are skills that I hope to develop through the internship with Cultivating Community in order to be a more effective environmental educator in the future. My passion for environmental stewardship and education grew when I was a Garden Intern at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy. Similarly, as a field manager at Environment Maine last summer, I connected with Mid Coast Mainers who had varying knowledge of the environmental issues facing their communities. These were both great opportunities to be able to connect with local community members over the environmental health of their respective communities. I hope that through the Farmer Training Internship, I am able to learn more about the positive and negative effects of small scale agriculture on Maine’s environment and hear the stories of local farmers and how they interact on a daily basis with their environment.
I am looking forward to the chance to exchange ideas and understanding with the individual refugees I would be working with. I hope that through this internship, I can continue to interact with people I would otherwise not come into contact with and will hopefully be able to help dismantle the negative views that are often associated with refugees.
- Date October 16, 2017
- Tags 2017, Education, Environment, Preston, Sophomore, USA