Meet Elizabeth! She graduated in 2020 with a double major in French and Francophone Studies and Studio Art with a Food Studies Certificate. She has always had an interest in food and sustainable agriculture. She joined us as a student farmer in the fall of her sophomore year and continued her involvement throughout her time at Dickinson.
Elizabeth has fond memories from her time as a student farmer. She particularly recalls the summer between her junior and senior year where she joined the Summer crew and had the opportunity to “co-run” the livestock operation with Lindsay Hutchinson, one of the apprentices at the time. One of her favorite DCF memories were sheep maintenance days, where she went through the whole herd to clip their nails and check for worms. It was hard work and stressful, she says, but she enjoyed working closely with each individual animal and getting a feel for the herd, as whole. Elizabeth loved working both veg and livestock, and says she learned so much working under Matt, Jenn, and Will.
Following graduation, she accepted a 6-month apprenticeship at Ridge to Reef Farm on St. Croix, a permaculture farm and the only USDA certified organic farm in the USVI. She then briefly bartended at a local brewery in St. Thomas, and then returned to Ridge to Reef as an Assistant Manager until today. She manages farm operations with a crew of around 10 people (varies from month to month) and their CSA program, which involves working with and sourcing from other local farmers to supply things like goat cheese, honey, and other fruits to their members. She is also working with the Trees that Feed Foundation on a small tree nursery project to supply the local community with Breadfruit trees as a strategy to reduce food imports and food insecurity on the islands. She loves tropical fruits and sharing her passion with other farmers. In her words, “it’s really special to work together to feed our small community because it really feels like we’re making a big impact.” Future ultimate goals include starting her own farm in the USVI in order to continue feeding her community and improve food security and food access.
A fun fact about Elizabeth is that she lives and works completely outside. There are no walls or anything like that in her “house” – it’s all open air, so when it’s hot and dry, she’s hot and dry, and when it’s rainy and wet, she’s also rainy and wet. She’s really embraced living this way because it’s connected her with her crops by quite literally sharing the same living conditions.