By Maria Negura
Farm Intern and Carlisle High School Senior
Welcomed by a broad smile belonging to the assistant manager of the Dickinson College Farm, Matt Steiman, I was given my first job at the farm: tomato-picking. It was a muggy summer day made pleasant by the coolness of a breeze augmented in the elevation of the open production fields. The expansive horizon was speckled with billowy clouds and the fields were speckled with billowy sheep. That day I met and conversed with Dickinson students of all backgrounds that converged at the farm to fulfill a singular purpose, sustainability attained through conscientious farming.
Since my first day at the farm I, being naturally drawn to its pastoral beauty and beauty of function, periodically volunteered at the farm. After about a year of volunteering at the farm and gaining appreciation for its design, I decided to append an internship to my curriculum through Carlisle High School. This decision was made out of a desire to acquire a hands-on route of learning that is nigh on absent in the typical program of study of high school students. I, however, feel it is important to attach tactile and real-life experience to textbook learning and related academia. A balance of both can truly constitute a comprehensive understanding of valuable subject matters. My semester interning at the Dickinson College Farm has only affirmed this theory.
During my time at the farm I have gained a wealth of knowledge that stretches from the nitty-gritty practice of farming to the implications of sustainability on a micro and macro level. Not only have I learned to appreciate the value of manual labor associated with farming, but I have also learned to appreciate the smart planning and management that leads to a successful farm. My time at the farm has been spent understanding what it really means to bring food to the table. I have planted and harvested crops, handled produce, herded sheep and cattle, insulated bee hives, worked with vermicompost, calculated seed inventory, and done just about anything else associated with farm work on an organic farm. With this comes knowledge and experience that is indeterminate on paper, but instrumental in the real world. Interning at the Dickinson College Farm has given me access to resources that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise, such as a plenitude of edifying and prestigious conferences, the local farmer’s market, and sustainability-promoting regional organizations.
Upon reflection I can state with certainty that these past few years of involvement with the Dickinson College Farm have been valuable. I am proud to discuss the work that I have done, and I am proud to be a part of such a conscientious and successful establishment. I hope that the community continues to acknowledge its worth and that others will take it upon themselves, as I did, to use it as an important resource.