If you want to learn about how farming is about more than just digging in the dirt, just ask Rob Page ’17. Of course, that’s not to say that he doesn’t love a bit of digging in the dirt. Not to mention the onion racing, sock wrestling, pie-eating contests, and “general nonsense” with the crew that made farming on the Dickinson College Farm so unique. Check out Rob’s Apprentice Spotlight to learn more about his weeding, biogas, and composting adventures last summer.
Rob’s journey on the Dickinson College Farm started as a fresh-faced sophomore, coming to the farm to get more involved in sustainability on the Dickinson campus. Little did he know that joining the Friday Weed-n-Feed crew would lead to a student farmer position, and eventually to getting so hooked on farming that not even graduation could get him out of the fields.
Even since leaving the Dickinson College Farm, Rob has stayed closely connected to the DCF community. After wrapping up his Apprenticeship in the winter of 2017, Rob kept up with Cumberland Valley by working for Keswick Creamery at the DuPont Circle Market near his native Bethesda, MD. In April 2018, Rob moved to Boston to start a job with The Food Project. There, he reconnected with former Apprentice Brendan Murtha and former Education and Outreach Coordinator Madison Beehler, who also work for the Food Project.
At the Food Project, Rob’s passion for revolutionizing food systems is only growing. On the technical side, Rob got to show off his pizza-making experience by building a wood-fire pizza oven out of concrete, vermiculite, and papier-mâché. He is also learning to grow new crops like magda squash, popcorn, tongue-of-fire dry beans, and lots of hot peppers. In addition to using habanero, cayenne, jalapeno, thai chili, and other hot peppers for his own cooking, fermenting, and snacking, Rob is “jazzed” about their cultural significance. He loves seeing the excitement from local immigrant communities when his Food Project team can fulfill their request for hot peppers at their local distribution outlets! Rob is interested in more than just growing food; he wants to use his farming skills to serve local and underserved communities, small businesses, and people of color.
Looking to the future, Rob hopes to continue working with other young people to disrupt outdated and unjust food systems, through medium-scale agriculture and fostering relationships with underserved communities. In the meantime, Rob is planning to build a bike from scratch and go on a touring cycling trip with it. He is also extending his culinary explorations to the world of wild mushrooms, using foraging tips learned from a coworker. True to form, Rob also dried his own sage bundle to use as incense. In his own words: “It smells pretty bad but I still use it out of stubbornness!”
We are thrilled to hear of Rob’s success and his future plans to make meaningful change in the food system. Keep it up, Rob!