Mid-Semester Update from Lauren!
It is hard to believe I have already completed half of my internship here at Bakers’ Acres. There is much I learned that I want you to know about:
Since early February, the majority of my internship has been spent learning the logistics of running a farming business, which allowed me to practice my marketing skills working with content management software, and tailoring my writing to the consumer population using a creative brief. Learning the behind-the-scenes work with Lisa has given me a better understanding of the planning, organization, and resources necessary for running a successful business. I even got to write a press release for the Yoga on the Farm event with my co-worker Laura.
Farm-to Table Events
I went to a panel session at the Sustainable Farming Association annual conference at the College of St. Benedict in February to learn about the elements, goals, and common barriers in establishing a stronger local food system. It was very compelling to listen to farmers and business owners alike, talking about their own experiences trying to propel the farm-to-table movement forward and restore the disconnect between producer and consumer.
I like that a local-focused food system can provide more farmers markets, restaurants that source locally, community and school gardens, and opportunities to buy shares from CSA farms, which also allows you to get to know your local farmer. In due time, this could create a change in the diet that compliments the seasonal availability of foods, and an increase in the public health and stability of the community. I’m all for that!
Another thing that I found surprising was the lack of demand for local/organic food. I sense that we are progressing forward with this nourishing “local” movement, which leads me to hope that we will gain more farmers dedicated to the production of food with a land ethic, rather than only the generation of profits.
I also attended the Renewing the Countryside’s Farm-to-Institution networking event and gained significant insight on the barriers to sourcing locally, such as lack of demand, communication, and aggregation limitations. It was fascinating to hear more about up-and-coming business models called Food Hubs that help institutions meet their demand by communicating with multiple farmers in the area. It was a little odd for me to be one of the only students at this event, but I’m so glad I went and was one who represented an interest for the younger generation! Sustainable food systems are complex, although I am happy to say that I am getting a very good glimpse into their mechanisms.
I hope to attend another gathering like these; the gathering of people with similar values for food, sustainability, and the environment creates a motivating atmosphere that I love!
Back on the Farm
Even though the majority of you reading this post may be a supporter of local farms and Co-ops, I bet you don’t know a whole lot about what happens in the field! With a quick change in clothes after class, us farm girls were ready for whatever Lisa had on the farm’s to-do list for us. We learned how to prepare seedlings and transplant plants in the hoop house. This couldn’t have been more memorable if it weren’t for the teamwork, enthusiasm, fantastic music playlists, and digging-in-the-dirt fun. In a way, gardening is a creative process that links the farmer to consumer. I enjoy the connection I have with agriculture when working in the Hoop House. I have had a blast working with Lisa, Laura, and Maddy in the Hoop House in starting off the season by planting “cool” season vegetables over the past few weeks. Believe it or not, it was so nice to return to campus covered in farm dirt after an evening of planting, watering, and feeding the cows and chickens.
What I find very satisfying is that Lisa is teaching Laura and me many important skills that can only be learned while on the job. Knowing how to work certain communication and business software programs will certainly be beneficial to me in my future job. I am so pleased with the program that Lisa has designed for us; it has the perfect balance of arduous business work and experiential farming learning.
Live. Love. Kale.