I have always been one to explore new things, even when I know nothing about what I'm getting myself into.
Interning at the Howdy Farm was not really on my radar when I started college two-and-a-half years ago. After all, coming from Nebraska, the agriculture I knew at the time was sprawling acres of corn and soybeans, highly mechanized operations, and relatively lower-value commodities. The Howdy Farm is anything but what I am used to.
However, small-scale fruit and vegetable farming has always been an interest of mine. I used to have my own garden in the summer throughout high school as a project for FFA. After declaring a minor in horticulture last semester, I decided to see what my options were for classes. When I had heard about The Howdy Farm internship, I jumped at the chance to get back into gardening (because who wouldn't want to get course credit for playing in the dirt).
It turns out, there's a lot more to The Howdy Farm than playing in the dirt, even though that activity is highly encouraged.
My first shift as an intern was a learning experience. Corey, the internship director, went over the planting schedule with us. We did a lot of work inside due to rainy weather. I was in charge of transplanting the lettuce seedlings and taking fig tree cuttings. The action was repetitive, but the other interns and I decided it was very therapeutic and relaxing.
We took our finished flats to the greenhouse, and prayed for the best! I love the start of a new season because the unknowns of the months ahead make life exciting.
Day two of work was very different from day one. My trimming shears became another appendage as I cut back the dead plants that suffered from the frost. It was sort of a "spring cleaning" day. I gathered the dead residues so the materials could be used for mulch around the farm.
As the communications intern, I produced my first blog for the website, welcoming back the students and informing them of the farm's current events. I was able to snap some photos to capture "what's growing on" on the farm.
What I learned during my first week of the internship experience is that the agriculture I have always known may look very different from what I am doing at The Howdy Farm, but the motivation behind it is the same. In both small and large scale farming, the underlying motivation is to feed people. My dad hops in a tractor to plow the land in order to produce a crop that will eventually feed people. I'm here at The Howdy Farm using my own to hands to transplant little seedlings that will produce luscious heads of lettuce. Mechanization or manual labor, it all produces a crop that someone will greatly appreciate.
I am excited to see where this journey takes me. I am the first to admit that I know little about fruit and vegetable farming. We will see what I am able to say after the next few months.