We aren't all lucky enough to have grown up with acres and acres of land to explore, had the oppotunity to watch a calf being born, or hear the sweet chirp of newborn chicks, but there are many opportunities to get a farm experience these days. Farms of all kinds across the country and around the world are offering internships, apprenticeships, farm stays, and WOOFing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) experiences to the young and old alike.
In recent years there has been a steady increase in the interest of going back to the land. As a nation we have become so unhealthy and disconnected to the food that we consume, that many young people today long for an experience that puts them in touch with the earth and her seasons. The average age of a farmer today is about 55 years so clearly young farmers are in demand. One way to get real farming experience is to take part in an internship or apprenticeship on a farm.
We started our internship program four years ago and have had wonderful luck with it thus far. Our first year we hired one intern, the following year two, then three the following and this year we are up to four. We believe strongly in passing along our knowledge and experience of sustainable farming and the program also ensures that the pricipal farmer or farmers don't get burnt out. In order to have young people jump right into farming as a career, we have to show them that farming doesn't have to be all dirty work. We like to go into the behind the scenes work such as marketing, creating lasting relationships with customers and chefs, and the financial side of it all. There is a lot to learn and your typical farmer wears many hats.
So what will an intern or apprentice bring away from a season on a farm? The most important things I think that are gained from the experience is a deeper connection to the food that we eat, a reverence for the land and an understanding of the cycle of life; these are all things that will help anyone no matter what career they choose. We want to instill a love of the land and a deep respect for the animals and their place here. We hope that all of our interns and apprentices leave with that respect and take it forward into the world to make a difference.