This will be my last blog post of the semester- but I would like to encourage everyone by pointing out that I am ending on a good note. A great one actually! It turns out that my optimism paid off- and i’m realizing that everything happens for a reason (just like my parents always told me- don’t you hate it when they’re right?). After having to start over on my video, I decided to change it up. I was discouraged by how my first video was turning out anyway- and with Thursday’s fiasco, I had no choice but to start over. Well it turns out that I like the newest version of the video MUCH better! And I never would have willingly started the project over, so it was like it was meant to be! You can check out our YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClI5XWyiHYCMtxalZN4TPMA.
This is where you can watch the final version of my internship video! It will be complete by the end of the week- so go check it out! Also, one of my goals this semester was to start a Howdy Farm YouTube channel, for educational and public relations purposes. This was the primary reason I was making the Howdy Farm introductory video. Throughout this experience, I was concerned that I wouldn’t have enough videos to start a YouTube Channel, but after filming and editing my introductory video, a pruning demonstration, and a lesson on composting and propagation- I felt that I had enough to get a channel started! I also collected some previously filmed recipe demonstrations from a previous Howdy Farm intern, and was able to start the YouTube channel off with a total of 6 videos! Hopefully, our public relations and communications committee for the student organization will be able to keep up the videos so our channel can continue to grow.
Also, I spent this Friday- one of the last days on my internship- at Navarro Elementary. Navarro is a local elementary school that hosted a program called Aggies Move this semester. By hosting Aggies move at their campus, the elementary school signed up to have a few Texas A&M Athletes and Nutrition Students come teach their students about living a healthy lifestyle. Howdy Farmer’s were invited to help the Aggies Move team teach the students about where their food comes from. I was one of four Howdy Farmer’s that stood alongside some of the Texas A&M Athletes and taught the kids about composting and recycling and showed them how we can reduce the amount of trash that we throw away each day. I loved going out into the community and teaching them about farming and sustainability. It definitely was one of the best ways I could have ended my internship. I even got to play a game of Crab Soccer with the students! I had a blast, and was reminded that the reason I want to pursue horticulture alongside nutrition is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There’s nothing like spending a day with a few kids to get inspired!
Overall, my internship resulted in many learning experiences. Regardless of the many obstacles I went through, I was able to learn how to overcome then, remain professional and meet deadlines. I also was able to learn how to work with people to make them feel a bit more comfortable in front of a camera. The only thing I would have changed about my experience was getting to spend more time in the garden. Unfortunately, most of my internship was spent behind a camera or at a desk in an office trying to edit and upload photos and videos. I was hoping to learn a bit more about how to run an urban farm- but the good news is that I will be here this summer hanging around the farm and will have plenty of opportunity to learn. With that being said, I now have knowledge that I didn't before about setting up interviews, filming, and working with a variety of people to make a video come to life.
Time is ticking, and the day to present our semester projects is quickly approaching. I am getting nervous, because I have had many obstacles in this video-making process, and today’s hurdle was bigger than ever. Up to this point I have been working on my video project on a desktop computer in the Horticulture Department. However, due to the approaching deadline, I needed to get my project off of the departmental computer and onto my personal computer to continue (and complete) video editing. I am using iMovie on a Mac computer to complete the video editing, and unfortunately, if you want to move a project and continue editing, iMovie will ONLY let you do so if you use an external hard drive…which I do not have.
Luckily, I was able to borrow an external hard drive from work to try to try and transfer my files. However, after plugging in the external hard drive, the computer recognized it- but iMovie did not- so I was unable to transfer my files after all. According to the Apple Support Community, "To use an external hard disk with iMovie, it must be formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). iMovie doesn’t support network-attached storage or external flash memory drives.” In other words, there was no other way to do it- and I was stuck with an unformatted external hard drive. My solution? Ask someone else! We got ahold of Brian, the IT guy in the horticulture building, and he was able to do some computer coding to take a shortcut around using a formatted hard drive. SUCCESS! (Or so I thought…) Brian definitely knew what he was doing, but unfortunately we couldn’t out-smart iMovie. He was able to copy all of my individual files onto the hard drive, but not the actual project I was working on. This meant that I had access to all of the separate/unedited pieces of the video on the drive, but NOT the full video.
So naturally, I thought I would try another one that has been used to transfer iMovies before! I hopped on my bike and ran over to work to grab the second external hard drive. (This was pretty miserable due to the weather- it was hot and extremely humid!) After getting back to the horticulture building, I tried plugging in the second external hard drive but it was also not being read by iMovie. I decide to cut my losses and spend the rest of my afternoon starting the project over. So here I am- back to square one. Although I am a bit discouraged, I have to keep in mind that I wasn’t very far along with the project. I definitely had put some work into it, but there wasn’t too much editing that I had done- it was mostly a bunch of disorganized clips that I had cut down to size and glued in some sort of order that I thought made sense. So at this point, I’m trying to stay optimistic that I only have a few hours of extra work added to my weekend- wish me luck!
During my internship hours, we were lucky enough to host a field trip- sponsored by Aggies Move- at the farm! Students from a local elementary school came to visit, and as a Howdy Farm intern and officer I was given the opportunity to show the students around the farm. We set up a few different stations for the students to rotate between. At these stations they learned about hardening-off seedlings, sustainability, transplanting, harvesting, and composting! At first, I thought that these topics would be too much for the 3rd and 4th graders to understand- but they surprised me! They were very responsive and engaged in each activity.
Some students were more excited to answer questions than others...
It felt very rewarding to teach children about where their food comes from. Many of the children didn’t even realize that a head of lettuce grows straight out of the ground! Instead, many of them thought it grew on a tree or a bush. Here is a picture of the students learning how to harvest lettuce!
As the elementary school was packing up to leave, I saw one student tug on a Howdy Farmer’s sleeve to get his attention. She said, “I don’t want to leave” in a soft voice- there was definitely a tinge of disappointment in her voice. That is one of my favorite things about Howdy Farm- sharing what we love with the community (especially children!) It is gratifying to see someone who is just as curious and excited as you are to walk around the farm and explorer. Children have such an adventurous spirit and their excitement makes me excited to learn more about the farm!
Due to my filming and video editing, I haven’t been able to participate in the actual act of farming as much as I was hoping to this semester. I was really hoping to learn how to run a small scale farm, but i’m reminded by these kids that I should find a learning opportunity in every experience that I have. Just because i’m not farming all the time doesn’t mean I should stop asking questions or that I’ve lost the opportunity to learn. I’m going to start appreciating my time at the Farm now more than ever!
Update from last week:
Decent film was actually obtained! In a previous blog post, I shared the concern that I had not retrieved any good footage on Day 1 of filming. Well… I stand corrected! One of our Howdy Farmers- Erik King- sharing something that he loves most about Howdy Farm, and I was able to record one clip that turned out well. After hours of trying to record, it is encouraging to see that I could recover something from it and that it wasn’t wasted time! Here is a picture of Erik during his interview while helping me out with my project- what a happy Howdy Farmer!
Today, I recorded some more interviews of a few different Howdy Farmers sharing what they loved most about Howdy Farm. It was great to hear all of their perspectives and I can’t wait to share them in the video! I think it is an important part of the introductory video because the rest of the video highlights who we are and what we do- and it is important to end the video by highlighting the rewards of our efforts. Here’s a candid shot of our Howdy Farmer Amanda during her interview- they all did great!
I also recorded voice-over for our videos. I tried using the microphone to record, but as mentioned in my last blog post I was still having issues with sound only coming out of one speaker or headphone. So instead, I recorded directly into my built-in computer microphone, and the quality of the recording came out better than I was expecting- so it looks like i’ll be using my computer for recording voice-overs from now on!
The Howdy Farm introductory video has been a work in progress! Today, I headed over to the Juice Joint and the Brazos Valley Food Bank to film a few facts about where our produce goes after it leaves the farm. We have partnerships with them, which diversifies us and also allows us to help play a role in stimulating the local economy!
Northgate Juice Joint
The Juice Joint is a local juice and smoothie shop that prides themselves in using “green” practices in their business model. They have an urban garden, compostable cups, and they source many of their produce from local vendors- such as the Howdy Farm! In fact, they purchase Howdy Farm produce and use it in their juices and smoothies, and we take back the fruit and vegetable pulp to be composted at the farm! Talk about a symbiotic relationship! This is the perfect example of “buying local” and its benefits. Business relationships turn into partnerships, and each partner becomes interested in helping the other out.
About a week prior to filming, I sent an email asking permission to interview a worker. There must have been a miscommunication, because upon arrival, we seemed to have taken them by surprise! The Juice Joint employee did a wonderful job of taking an impromptu interview, and we even grabbed a smoothie on the way out! We did run into a few problems though. We had microphone issues (it sounded very gritty), and customers kept walking in during filming- so we could only get a few short segments total. Overall, while the experience was a bit stressful, it was a wonderful opportunity to learn how to manage stress and stay professional!
The Brazos Valley Food Bank
Next, I took a trip over to the Brazos Valley Food Bank. Luckily, they were extremely prepared, and even had a script for their employee ready to go! I got a great shot of them unloading the produce, and we went straight into the interview. I even learned a few things about the Food Bank! Overall, everything flowed very smoothly and I was relieved to go home after a long day.
After getting back to school I began editing this material , and unfortunately I noticed an odd situation. When I listened to the clips over the computer- everything sounded great! However, as soon as I plugged in head phones, the sound only came out of my left headphone instead of both- I was getting mono instead of stereo sound. I ruled out the possibility that this was an issue with my headphones, because I had used them before and after my revelation. This entire situation was discouraging because I knew I didn’t have time to re-film the clips. I am counting on the fact that most people watching the video will listen to it over their computers and won’t notice the flaw until I figure out a solution.
Today, I learned patience and how to stay optimistic when things aren’t going as planned. So far, nothing in this video has gone as planned- and i’m expecting the final product to be far from what I had originally envisioned. However, i’m holding out faith that everything happens for a reason, and it will turn out in the end!
While taking an internship at Howdy Farm, each intern is required to complete an internship project. I have chosen to start making videos for Howdy Farm as my internship project. The original intent for this project was to start a YouTube channel for Howdy Farm that would include regularly uploaded information videos about gardening, health, and the environment. This has proven to be much easier said than done.
I decided to start the YouTube channel before beginning to film my own videos because because Howdy Farm has had a few videos that were previously created by other Howdy Farm members. However, as of right now, I have not been able to fully upload any videos yet. I have the original files saved to my computer, but when trying to upload them to YouTube, it seems to either refuse to upload completely or upload and not be accessible to the public. I have come to the conclusion that YouTube just doesn’t like me- but until I work out the kinks- I have decided to start filming an introductory video to the Howdy Farm. While I would have loved to just jump into making the informational videos up front- I made the executive decision that people should know who we are and what we do at Howdy Farm before taking advise and other information from us.
The main points of the introductory video include: who we are, what we do, where we sell produce, our partnerships with people around town, and why people should be a part of Howdy Farm. I thought that including these talking points would makes us more credible and relatable when people watch the upcoming informational videos.
I just started filming today and I ran into a few issues. I filmed during volunteer hours so I could get some interview footage of volunteers and members sharing their experiences and emotions about Howdy Farm. The first interview was a disaster- the microphone was making a crackling sound during the interview, causing the sound quality of the video to suffer. Next, the camera memory filled up right as I found the best solution for the microphone problem. Throughout filming the interview, I continuously had to delete previous photos to make room. This added an extra 20-30 minutes to the interview time. Lastly, the camera ran ou of battery during the interview before I was able to take any decent footage. I felt horrible, because I felt like I was wasting time- but through this experience I have realized that having technical difficulties is part of the life of a videographer. I also realized that I could use these experiences to improve future film clips.
For example, I now know to make sure there is enough memory on the camera before filming. I will store previous photos/videos onto the computer before filming to ensure adequate memory space. Also, I have learned to charge the camera each time I use it to ensure that I will have adequate battery for my next filming day. Although the day ended without any decent footage, I ended up learning a lot that can help to make the filming process more efficient.
Since I don't have a video available for everyone to watch yet- please enjoy this beautiful picture of Howdy Farm rainbow chard in the meantime!
Today at Howdy Farm, I learned how to install a drip irrigation system! At first, when I was told that this was the task for the day, I was intimidated. But it ended up being easier than expected! The drip irrigation system needed to be installed to work towards completion of our latest project- a rain garden. Our farm sits on a piece of land that is slightly slanted, and the intent of this rain garden is to catch rain water runoff and utilize it for the growth of flowers. This rain garden has been an eye opening concept, and has caused me to think more about how I can have a positive impact on the environment. It has also made me realize that no matter what cards you are dealt, you can make the most of it! No one asked to have the farm built on a slope!
Even though the rain garden is built to catch rain water runoff, it does not rain enough in Texas to ensure that the plants will be watered sufficiently just by rain water, so a drip irrigation system had to be installed. Drip irrigation systems are the most water efficient irrigation system because water drips slowly and directly to the roots of the plants, allowing water to be absorbed by the soil before it evaporates- eliminating water loss, and allowing the plants to use 100% of the water.
I felt most accomplished after learning how to push the hose and tubing JUST RIGHT in the tees and elbows so that it would would be functional and not fall out- it took some serious elbow grease! Overall, this was a wonderful learning experience- and I am so glad that I got to be a part of it!
Photo (above): Example of a drip irrigation system
Today at the farm, Corey, Erik and I were standing on the ramp that leads to the Sustainability building and a lady bug landed on the railing… or so we thought. To my surprise, Erik helped us identify it as an Asian Lady Beetle. The coloring of an Asian lady beetle can range from light tan to orange to red- making it potentially difficult to distinguish from an American ladybug. While it is similar to a lady bug there are some notable differences between the two beetles. For example, I learned that the Asian lady beetle is generally larger than a normal lady bug. Also, it tends to have more spots than a lady bug- averaging about 19 per beetle. Lastly, the most identifiable feature of the Asian Lady Beetle is the black “M”-shaped marking behind its head. While ladybugs do have the ability to bite, a person will more likely be bit by an Asian Lady Beetle than a lady bug- they seem to be a bit more aggressive.
After doing some research, I found out that the Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis, is so named because it is found commonly in Asia. It is believed that they were introduced to the United States when they were released by the USDA for biological control of aphids.
Lady beetles can be beneficial because they feed on aphids and other insects that can damage plants. Although they are beneficial, they can be annoying to many home owners because they will crawl into cracks and crevices of homes and buildings during the winter and will seem to “swarm”.
Brazos Valley Food Bank
This week at the Howdy Farm, we completed our final harvest of the season. The final harvest consisted of a few different varieties of lettuce, and after being washed, bundled, and loaded up- we took it to the Brazos Valley Food Bank. We were able to donate about 84 lbs. of lettuce to those in need! Last week, we donated about 38 lbs. of lettuce and rainbow chard. It has been a wonderful feeling to give back to the community while doing something you love- gardening! Not to mention that this gives me hope to solving hunger in the community, it just takes some time and a few dirty hands!
Learning about Compost
As a Nutrition Major, I am required to take classes covering food safety. These classes love to go over topics ranging from sources of to consequences of foodborne illness, and everything in-between. In my food bacteriology class, a recent concern has been mentioned regarding microorganisms found in fecal matter (AKA- manure). This has brought my attention to one of the key aspects of organic farming- compost. While not always, manure is often used as organic matter in compost piles, among other things such as egg shells, and chicken poop. Each of these are known to contain potentially harmful microorganisms. Putting two and two together, I can't help but wonder... does the composting process naturally prevent these microorganims from being harmful? And if so, how?
Luckily, it was brought to my attention that during composting, most pathogens are killed within days by high temperatures through aerobic composting! Also, I found out that the root systems of plants act as a filter- and provide protection against many harmful microorganisms!
Howdy! My name is Marissa Albers and I am a Nutritional Sciences Major pursuing a minor in Horticulture! For the past 2 years I have wanted to have an internship at the farm, and I am so thankful that I've finally been given the opportunity to be a part of the internship team. This semester I have a goal to learn something new every day that I'm at the farm, and to never take what I learn for granted.
Howdy! My name is Marissa Albers and I am a Nutritional Sciences major pursuing a minor in Horticulture. My passion lies with food and where it comes from! I would eventually love to work with food security by helping malnourished populations find sustainable solutions to their hunger and nutrient deficiencies. I am excited to learn about how to grow healthy, local produce and to help bridge the gap between the community of Bryan/College Station and their food source!