Alumni Spotlight: Paige Baisley ’20

Paige Baisley graduated from Dickinson College in 2020 with an Environmental Science degree and Food Studies certificate. She’s always been interested in learning more about the food system and naturally connected with many farm folks in Treehouse – where she lived – as well as the ENST Department. When she first worked at the farm in the summer after her first year, she instantly fell in love. She returned the following summer and after spending her junior year abroad, joined the farm for the full academic year in her senior year and then continued as an apprentice.

Following her apprenticeship, Paige went on to work as a Soil and Nutrient Manager at a cattle farm in Virginia. Soil sampling in the pasture, she gained a deeper understanding of topography, drainage patterns, and implications of different parent materials – all this to make lime recommendations for the farm. On top of that, Paige applied lessons from the Dickinson College Farm to streamline the cattle farm’s composting system, improve their record keeping system, and lend a hand in their small market garden.

This past June, Paige started her Masters in Crop and Soil Science at Michigan State University. Her research pertains to alfalfa for cattle forage. An allelopathic crop, alfalfa’s autotoxicity helps by inhibiting pest and insect damage, but hurts by inhibiting the growth of other alfalfa. In addition to research, Paige looks forward to becoming a Teaching Assistant and getting involved in Extension work. Her ultimate career goal is to earn a PhD and become a professor one day. She hopes to expose students to sustainable agriculture and offer the same mentoring experience she received at a small school like Dickinson.

How has DCF contributed to her post-grad experience? In addition to the work itself, she values the ways DCF’s connected her to other farmers and consumers. She also recalls working with Will, Jenn, and Matt as an apprentice – she appreciates all they’ve shared on what goes into the system and how it’s managed, perspectives on what sustainable agriculture can be, and admires the care they put into their work. Working as an apprentice early in the pandemic also offered a unique opportunity to form close friendships, gain a strong support system, and make space to share thoughts and ideas.

When asked about her favourite DCF memory, she recalls her last shift as a student farmer right before Spring Break in 2020. She was double digging in Orion and later seeding and labelling trays with her good friend Anna Zaremba. She returned as an apprentice and found that she was transplanting the very seedlings she started earlier that Spring!! Seeing the cycles and transitions at the farm was very special. She also cherishes every conversation she’s had out in the fields, laughing so hard until everyone’s falling over.

Paige currently loves riding her bike to work and exploring all the bike trails in her area.

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