Today was my last day of officially working on the farm as an intern. I can't believe my time as an intern has officially come to an end. It seems like just yesterday I showed up on the front steps of the Howdy! Farm asking Corey to let me be an intern and to teach me the ways of farming. I would have to say I've learned a lot of valuable things, farming and non farming related. Some farming knowledge I've gained includes:
"To be interested in food but not in the production is clearly absurd." -Wendell Barry
I whole heartily believe in this quote. I always thought food science was the start of food production through the processing side but no it's the literal production of food straight from the farm that truly starts everything. I've always been a fan of great tasting wholesome food, I'd love to take this passion that truly flourished while working on the farm and put it to use in my future career goals. I think it would be great to work for a company that emphasizes healthy, organic, and/or natural food products and is looking for ways to feed the world. Wendell Barry said it best, to really be passionate about food you must like the production of it. I would just have to take it a step further and add that it's best if you are interested in ALL aspects of food production to truly enjoy and understand where your food comes from.
This internship has been my favorite class since my time being here at A&M. I'm an interactive learner so I can't expressed how much this class has helped me learn about horticulture as well as discovering what I'm truly passionate about. Unfortunately, my internship has come to an end, but I'm so excited to tell everyone about my experiences. Although I am no longer an intern, I can promise you the Howdy! Farm hasn't see the last of me!! I plan on coming out to volunteer whenever I have the chance to because I know I will truly miss the serenity I always felt on the farm this semester. It's been a semester for the books, this will be my last blog post as an intern. If you read this (or any of my blog posts) thanks for reading, Claudia out for the last time!!
I guess I must have some mad art skills. For the past couple of weeks I've been working on painting these sandwich boards. The foundation was already there, all I did really were a few touch ups and additions. The beige board was already painted I only cleaned up the lettering/re-did a few letters and added the flowers. The maroon board, I repainted the bottom adding the market time frame (later I added Thursdays under the times). Everybody who saw me painting/the finished boards, said they looked great and that I did a good job. If I say so myself, I think they look great. I really enjoyed painting these board. I consider myself to be a very creative person so to be able to contribute my creative talents to the farm is a great use of my time and efforts! Hopefully when these get put up, they'll catch people's attention and get them to stop by to pick up some great tasting produce! It was so fun getting a chance to spruce up these boards with some new paint and fun additions, now they're ready for their debut to the world!!
This semester my internship project focused around the Thursday Farmer's Market. Every Thursday from noon to 5 PM, fresh fruits and veggies the farm grows is sold. I love working the market because I get to interact with so many of the customers and spread my knowledge of the farm/produce to everyone who stops by. It's so rewarding to take the knowledge I've gained and help other understand what I know. My major contribution to the market was the creation of a price board. Traditionally, the prices are written down on a sheet of paper and the intern working the market just reads the prices to the customers. That can be confusing when there are lots of items being sold since so many numbers and names are being thrown around. Through the use of the price board, the customers will be able to see the names of what's being sold and how much it will costs. This will help eliminate confusion and help the customers see what we have to offer. Basically the board is a cork board wrapped in honey bee fabric (since bees are essential to farm life) with Velcro tabs, to easily attach/detach the produce cards, propped up on a wooden easel. Each card has the name of the produce, the price, and the H!F logo. We did this since what's being sold varies week to week, very flexible with the interchangeable cards. I think the customers are really going to enjoy this addition to the Thursday Markets!
Earlier this semester I had experimented with propagation. After a few weeks of hanging out in the green house, the little plants finally grew some roots and are ready to be transplanted into pots. While in the green house, all the plants were planted together in one large tray. Now they are ready to each get a pot of their own. Although a couple plants didn't make it (mostly the Esperanza), we still had roughly 10 plants ready to be transplanted. The sage plants did the best in terms of looks and survival rate. and It was a very simple process. All I did was gently remove the little plants and place them into bigger pots packed with potting soil. Once all of them were planted, they were taken back into the green house. Once they get bigger and stronger, they will be transplanted on to the farm. Stay tuned for Part III of Propagation...
The Howdy! Farm donated 3 raised garden beds to the Kemp-Carver elementary school in Bryan. They asked for these garden beds to help teach the children about gardening and sustainability. I was fortunate enough to help out on this project. The beds were assembled at the Farm, delivered to the school, and then built on site. I helped assembled 1 of the 3 beds with Corey, I even got to use the power tools!! Along with building one of the beds, I also got to help deliver them and set them up at the school. Here's what the school looked like before we started setting them up:
It's was intense unloading all the parts to the garden beds!! There were 4 of us but it was still a difficult job. Those wood pieces may not look very heavy but let me tell ya, I was sore for about 4 days after this adventure. It was well worth it though, I'm all out helping out the community especially when it comes to sustainability. So if by doing all this I can help more kids learn about farming/gardening then I'll do just about anything to help them out. After about an hour we finally assembled all the beds and screwed them together. Once we did that we we laid down landscaping fabric inside each bed for the compost to fall on. The use of the fabric will help minimize the growth of weeds into the garden bed. We then spend the next hour shoveling a truck load of compost into one of the beds. Can you believe that? 1 truck load of compost is barely enough compost for 1 garden bed. Crazy, I know! Once we finished unloading the compost, we called it quits for day 1 and here's what it looked like:
I think we did an outstanding job of setting up these garden beds, I just hope the children will enjoy learning about gardening as much as I've enjoyed my time at the Farm thus far. Hopefully they get to plant lots of plants they turn into delicious foods!! Maybe these kids will grow up to become Howdy Farm Interns after learning about farming/gardening just like me. Ya never know, it could totally happen!
***Another group of Howdy Farm peeps went out there to finish the job of unloading enough compost for 2 garden beds the following Monday.
Today at the farm we got to pick peanuts!! Honestly my idea of peanuts has always been from a can with Mr. Peanut on the front. I always thought peanuts came from a tree, sort of like almonds, but today I learned something new. Peanuts do not come from a tree, in fact, the come out of the ground attached to the roots of a plant. Thus giving them the name of "groundnut". It was interesting taking part in the harvest of peanuts. I learned that when the outer skin of the peanut is red that means it's ready to eat. We were able to harvest about ~2 lbs. of peanuts. All in all it was a very cool experience and I can say I learned a lot about the process of harvesting peanuts. Here is a picture of one of the other interns (Miranda) holding some of the wonderful peanuts we picked. As you can see it was quite the handful... Get it? I'm so clever! Anyways that's all I have on the wonderful world of peanuts.