Kendra Dawsey ‘13 explores cultural culinary traditions in her own college kitchen:
Over the summer that I spent working at the Yale Farm as a Lazarus intern, we grew collard greens. It was strange to grow something that I only knew as a food that my mother cooked on special events and holidays, or when she wanted to do something other than pasta. It was also strange hearing my fellow farmers call the big fans of leaves “collards” — putting emphasis on the d that my family always left out. It was a familiar food in a new space.
I didn’t realize how culturally tied I was to this food, and other staples in Black American/Southern food like cornbread, sweet potatoes, grits, and all the rest. It took me a while to realize that not everyone ate them. I didn’t do a particularly good job of absorbing these traditions of cooking either. Whenever my mother or grandmother was in the kitchen, I was doing homework or watching TV. This still goes on — over fall break, my mom shook a turkey leg and seasonings in my direction with the intent of teaching me, and I fended her off with staring at my computer screen and murmuring “I’m busy.”
This year is the first time that I’ve lived off campus at Yale and had to cook my own food on a regular basis. My first experiment with cooking the food I grew up eating was a sweet potato. Instead of calling my mother to ask for directions, I looked up a few recipes online, and then didn’t follow any of them. I tried cooking it with a friend and wounded up stabbing it with a fork, and then alternating between sticking it in the microwave and oven, and then hacking at the potato for it to cook faster. It was not a success.
I decided to try again with collard greens. I never watched my mother or grandmother cook them with a particular distinction — I only remember seeing the huge leafy greens fill the sink and then eating them a few hours later. Collard green can be a very laborious vegetable to cook — my grandmother in particular boils the collard greens for hours in a pot, leaving them sweet and buttery. Additionally, in typical Black American/Southern fashion, you cook it with leftover bacon fat and some ham. But being a busy college student, I didn’t have the time or ingredients for any of that. So I decided I would try my own sort of method for collard greens one Tuesday evening.
First, you clean the collard greens so that they are free of any dirt and debris. It is usually helpful to do it in a large sink, like a kitchen sink, but this one took place in a freshly scrubbed and rinsed bathroom.
Then, take the collards and remove them from the stalks. The leftovers should look like this.
Don’t worry, all of these greens will cook down really quickly!
Cut the collards into one inch pieces so that they are easier to handle, and then boil the collards in hot water for about fifteen minutes, or until they are soft and a vibrant green. Then strain to remove excess water.
Told you they cooked down!
Now, get a pan for sauteeing, and put in a tablespoon of both butter and olive oil, and then some chopped garlic to taste (I used about two cloves). Stir in the collard greens and add salt and pepper. Sautee them, stirring constantly, for about five minutes. Then remove from heat and add some lemon juice for a light tangy taste.
When I ate them, they tasted very similar to (but not quite like) the collard greens my mom made, and they took much less time to do! I’m glad that I found one more thing to cook that reminds me of home.
The Yale Farm, Hyperlinked
by Adam Goff ‘15
None of the tomato varieties grown at the Yale Farm are light blue. Our hoes, broadforks, seeders, and shovels aren’t blue either. The pizza oven is made of red bricks, the sinks shine a titanium silver. There are no blue eggplants, blue beets, blue compost piles, or blue weeds. Aside from a couple pairs of jeans, one or two blue harvest buckets, and the sky above us, the farm is blue-less.
Yet I often expect to see light blue hues on the farm to mark all of the hyperlinks. On Wikipedia, Facebook, and much of the web, light blue marks a hyperlinked word, which when clicked will whisk you to another article. I can hyperlink surf from a Wikipedia page on Cooking to an article on Caramelization and end up reading about Aminio Acids. Light blue text marks a portal from one idea to another.
On the farm I see these hyperlinks everywhere. Our Winter Mustard Greens link me to Season Extension which takes me to Canadian Hothouse Tomatoes and their Ecological Footprint. When I am Weeding my mind hops from Migrant Farm Labor to Unionization. I weigh fresh-picked Cabbages and wonder how to improve Yield Data Collection on Diversified Vegetable Farms.
I look at our one-acre urban farm and I see nested ideas and stories, one connected to the next connected to another, just waiting to be clicked on. So don’t be surprised if you dig up one of a Yale Farm potatoes and find it tinged light blue. Be curious, for that blue potato isn’t crawling with mold and disease. It is brimming with connections for you to explore. All you have to do is click.
Science, Pseudo-Science and Figuring Things Out
by Erin Vanderhoof ‘13
It’s generally surprising for people to hear that I’m a Women’s, Gender and Sexuality studies major and interested in eventually becoming a doctor. I’d say that I identify as both a scientist and a skeptic, and even though that might seem to make no sense, it says a lot about the nature of scientific knowledge. As a WGSS major I’ve learned about scientific knowledge that have really shaped the way I approach both science and working on the Farm.
My freshman year, I read Foucault for the first time, and felt my connection to science shift. Through Foucault, I learned that when we think about knowledge, we have to think of the sociocultural factors that affect how and why that knowledge is made. Essentially, when something is regarded as true, there is a cultural investment in making the “truth” that is different from (or even transcends) the materiality of facts. At a very fundamental level, science is a human institution, especially when commenting on humans, and it is governed by culture and by natural law, and the difference between them is always shifting. This is important because it reminds us that we have the power to push back against science when we think it is incomplete and attempt to create our own truths.
I’ve gone on this theoretical tangent because I wanted let you know that I’m not the only person who thinks science and skepticism can coexist, that it’s possible to be a person who acknowledges climate change and benefits from western medicine without necessarily taking every journal finding as received wisdomthe gospel. In fact, I think healthy skepticism is necessary to continued scientific knowledge.
But how does this all connect to food?
On the Yale Farm, we use organic practices (though not necessarily Certified Organic™) practices because we think it’s the most responsible choice for both human and environmental health and sustainability. The word “organic” means a multitude of things, and there are plenty of scientific studies that prove the benefits of organic practices and there are nearly as many claiming to disprove it. Though there is a perception in agriculture and science writing that organic enthusiasts are luddites, There are a wide variety of organic practices, yet it seems like sometimes they’re rejected as being unsupported by science or behind the times when compared to more “modern” agricultural practicesscience. I have to admit that I came to like the idea of organic on a gut feeling instead of totally understanding the science. [AR1] But the more I’ve delved into food studies — both the sociocultural and ecological aspects — the more I’ve discovered that it’s too simplistic to say that some practices are more “advanced” or “scientific” than others. Some of the practices that were once hailed as cutting edge, like widespread pesticide and herbicide use, have since proven to be more harmful than helpful.
Recently, I’ve read a new round of studies claiming have tried to prove that organic agriculture doesn’t make much scientific or nutritional sense. But I remain unconvinced because it seems that so much of what we would call pseudoscience is just science that hasn’t been understood or incorporated into our paradigms yet. So I’ve been really excited to read a few articles about how science is coming to accept ideas about food and human bodies that were long ago proposed by the amorphous field of alternative medicine. One, from the New York Times, is about how gluten-sensitivity that isn’t related to Celiac disease, once decried as impossible, is gaining endorsement from doctors. Some doctors and researchers think it might even be proof of leaky gut syndrome, a condition common toly accepted by alternative medicine but often dismissed by medical doctors as quackery.
Another piece, a fascinating longread from the New Yorker, talks about how researchers are completely revising previous knowledge about the role of bacteria in the human gut. Originally, doctors aimed to eradicate bacteria from our intestines before discovering that even the worst of bacteria — for instance, the one that causes stomach ulcers — might have a productive reason to be there in the first place (in this case, doctors think it might help us understand the recent increase in the incidence of asthma). I highly recommend both of these articles to anyone looking for a reason why problem-solving depends on those looking to further the scientific consensus and those willing to work outside of it. They speak to the importance of cultivating both a scientific and a skeptical mind.
Memories of a Summer Spent in Food: Praiano, Italy
Kyra Morris ‘14 reflects on the way that food shaped her summer farming in a coastal Italian town:
If you were to go to Casa L Orto you would fly to Naples, take a train from Naples to Meta, and then take a bus from Meta to Praiano. The bus winds along the coast road that skirts the edge of the cliffs and by the time you arrived in Praiano your stomach would be wound into knots. As you climbed out of the bus and into the sun, you would have in front of you what my friends and I call “the Vettica hill”—a hill that just keeps going up. It starts out steep and then it climbs to a point before dropping down sharply into the other part of town. The Vettica hill will take you past the grocery store Tutto per Tutti, past Pasquale’s barber shop, and up a steep ramp to the gates of Casa L Orto. You stop, out of breath. Through the ironwork of the gates you can see only the domed white roof of the villa and the surface of the water sitting still as fabric below the cliffs.
I spent this past summer farming at Casa L Orto, a villa in Praiano, Italy. Praiano is a tiny town an hour south of Naples “in the heart of the Amalfi Coast.” Casa L Orto belongs to Carol Lewitt, the widow of the famous American contemporary artist Sol Lewitt. The property includes nine terraces available for farming, all of which had been abandoned for period of ten to twenty years before Carol began a project to restore them. The process is still very much in its initial stages, but she hopes to turn the property into a eco-tourism destination with an outdoor kitchen and outdoor cooking classes.
During my summer there, the farm at Casa L Orto was a farm without an outlet. The farm had three interns and a farm manager to maintain it, but without a partita IVA we could not sell any of our produce or even set up a farm stand. Instead we simply gave food away. In the mornings we would go down to the terraces and weed or stake tomatoes until the sun became so hot we felt our bodies baking. After a break for lunch we would walk into town (up and over the Vettica hill) and distribute vegetables. Sometimes we would bake or cook with our produce before distributing it, but other times we would simply carry a bag full of cherry tomatoes on each arm and a bag of eggplant in our backpacks. Sometimes it was difficult to find a home for our produce because though Praiano no longer has an agricultural economy, almost every family has a small garden. But where we did find a home for our vegetables, we always received something in exchange.
One of our first afternoons in Praiano we made zucchini bread. I had never thought about the oddity of this American dish until we were met with skeptical looks when we declared to Pasquale the barber that we had made him “panne di zucchini.” The following evening Pasquale called to us from the opposite side of the fence that separates Casa L Orto from his shop and passed a plate of cookies over to us.
This was only the beginning of our food exchange. In exchange for tomatoes and peppers we got gelato-making lessons from the guys at the gelato store, in exchange for eggplants we got free drinks from Luigi who owns one of the hotels in town, from Salvatore at the restaurant Bare Mare we got donuts and cappuccino. One morning we woke up to find that one of the construction workers who worked alongside us had left us a box of fifty plums from his plum tree. I hesitate even to call it a food exchange, because there was no calculation involved in this exchange of goods, only an ingrained tradition of generosity.
With all the vegetables that we did keep for ourselves we cooked everything from the simple pasta dishes to elaborate risottos. Toward the end of the summer, every night turned into a dinner party. Our friends would begin to arrive around ten thirty and then cooking process usually began around eleven. When we were too tired to cook, we would walk down the hundreds of steps that led down to the beach—La Praia.
We always ate at Bare Mare, run by our friend Salvatore and his mother Clelia. The experience of eating at Bare Mare is difficult to compare to any restaurant experience I have had in the US. The restaurant consists of about fifteen tables arranged on a cement patio overlooking the rocky beach. The restaurant has no theme or idea, just has really good food, and especially good seafood. If we wanted to order from the menu, we had to ask for one. Otherwise Salvatore would start bringing us dishes.
The dishes at Bare Mare are not fancy and they have probably been approximately the same since the restaurant opened. Each dish is designed to showcase a specific seafood and that’s about it. Your fish doesn’t come with vegetables on the side or any complex garnishes. Yet I hesitate to call the food at Bare Mare “simple food” in the way that Alice Waters might use the term because it is not consciously simple. It is prepared with care and with an eye to taste and tradition.
I lived closer to food this summer than I ever have this summer, not only because only a few sets of stairs separated garden and kitchen, but because food embraced me on all sides. Food was the thread that tied together our friendships with Pasquale, Salvatore, and others. It was also the first topic of conversation. Whenever we ran into a friend the first question, “how are you doing?” was quickly followed by “what did you eat today?”—“che cosa hai mangiato oggi?” Sometimes when I am walking across cross campus, I wish a friend would stop me and ask: “what did you eat today?”
Nace Cohen ‘14 writes about the politics of and issues surrounding food labeling:
I would consider myself well-educated when it comes to food terminology. I know the difference between organic and all natural, between cage-free and free-range, and between pasture-raised and pasture-finished; but that doesn’t mean I know what I’m getting when I go to the store, and it doesn’t mean that I know what the most environmentally friendly/sustainable/humane/responsible purchase is. This is not as simple of a problem as it may seem, and no, it is not due to lack of education on my part.
There are two major problems with our system of food labeling. First off, there are too many different labels, some with meaning, and some created with the intent of confusing consumers – what does artisan mean when it refers to Tostitos? Second, there is too great of a variation between different products under the same label – does organic just mean spraying with an organically approved pest control, or does it say a lot more about the environmental impact of that crop’s production? These are very different problems, and they require very different solutions.
The fact that companies are allowed to make vapid environmental/ sustainable/humane claims about their products is absurd to me. Shouldn’t our government have a monopoly on these types of buzzwords so that consumers are not constantly left wondering whether “all natural” is a term that carries any meaning? The fact that corporations are allowed to intentionally mislead consumers about this information is unnecessary and appalling.
The second problem, however, that there is a high degree of variation within a label category, seems much larger and more intractable. The fact is, farms are diverse and are so by necessity. Trying to capture all of that diversity with a few labels is impractical if not impossible. Calling the spinach from a five-acre farm in New England organic and the spinach from a 10,000-acre farm in California organic misses something important about the nature of these products. The organic label sets a baseline standard, and because it is a label that products either do or do not qualify for, there is no incentive to exceed that baseline. Rather, because it is cheaper to clear the bar as minimally as possible, those farms that barely pass it will outcompete those that exceed the standards, and production of organic food will tend to the lowest common denominator. Ultimately it is we the consumers, not to mention the health of our planet, that suffer.
Farmers’ markets have seen this disparity and tried to do something about it. By having the opportunity to meet the people growing the food, consumers have direct access to more complete and accurate information about what they are getting. However, it is difficult to envision the continued growth of a market which has such high costs associated both with buying and selling food. I don’t mean the price, but the time cost both of producers and consumers put in is tremendous, particularly on the side of the producers who have to commit people to the direct marketing of products. However, this is the best, and only, solution that there is right now. That should change.
I was a little worried about writing this post because I don’t have the solution to the problem we are facing. I don’t think that the solution is better labeling. While that may help, it will inevitably fall into the same trap of regression to the minimal standard. I think that the root of the problem is the disconnect that exists between consumers and their food. In the past consumers knew, and trusted the people that grew their food. Then when people moved to cities they knew and trusted the people that sold their food. Now consumers are being told to trust the labels on their food, but should they? I don’t think so.
Brendan Bashin-Sullivan ‘15 writes about his recent trip to Tokyo and the way we conceive of efficiency in the food system:
If fish were self-aware, and had developed a notion of retributive justice, and could conceive of an afterlife, they might cast the Tsukiji Central Fish Market in Tokyo as fish hell. Approaching the market you see the small fry in the various outbuildings, those who have been gutted for a particular organ or chopped to pieces, or marinated, or hung out to dry. These are the outer circles, and you sense that the fish have gotten off easy because of their size. It is when you reach the final circle, through roofed, shabby, blood-slick wet concrete paths that weave between brightly lit stalls, that you see the tuna. They are maybe not fish anymore exactly. They are frozen solid. Their pectoral fins have been cut off, leaving a pair of huge handholds on their sides. Capable, bored-looking old men with cigarettes hanging from their mouths run the fish through bandsaws, cutting the frozen meat, nose to tail, into wedges and planks, which stay rigid. Some still have skin, fins, and spines attached.
Full disclosure: fish hell, to me, was awesome. It was the most fun I had in Japan. I got blood on my boots. I ate ramen standing on the street with the capable bored-looking old men with cigarettes hanging from their mouths. I ate perfect cubes of fatty tuna. I got out of “lost in translation” angst-core mode and got a little goofy. This all happened at about 6 AM on a blisteringly cold late-December day in the largest fish market in the world, while tens of millions of dollars’ worth of fish were changing hands on the auction floor not a hundred yards away. Eerie calm and contained chaos and everyone trying to pretend that they weren’t having a great time because they were up against realness. Especially me.
And I guess that’s what I grapple about now. I would take a job there if you offered me. I would get strong and competent, good at driving tiny carts around tight corners, good at flensing and hacking tuna-bodies into manageable pieces. I would develop sixth and seventh senses, and never fall down on the job, or get cut on the bandsaw, and I would throw and catch the necessities of the job effortlessly. Tsujiki seems to allow states of grace to coalesce around, in and through it. It has the sublime rhythmic efficacy of an organ, a heart pumping fish through a vast network into every tiny corner of Tokyo. And for that reason I found it intensely beautiful.
But in another sense Tsukiji is emblematic of a deeply problematic relationship with the ocean. I read a phenomenal book this winter, Paul Greenberg’s “Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food”, which complicated the excitement I felt for Tsujiki. It’s not as simple as “oh, killing fish is cruel, this is a murder-market, I will abstain.” I don’t think that. I think that any place so foundational to the life of a city is above that kind of reductive thinking. In providing a solution to the problem “distribute 2000 tons of fish to 13 million people”, Tsukiji has outpaced moral indictment by several orders of magnitude. My problem is one of trophic levels and efficiencies. I’d like to dig into them with reference to the frozen, finless tuna.
In Four Fish, Paul Greenberg engages in a sustained investigation of the way we extract nourishment from the ocean. The subtitle of the book is telling: The Future of the Last Wild Food. Greenberg astutely points out that we have never really progressed past a hunter-gatherer relationship with sea life. We are able to catch more fish in less time now, but we have yet to meaningfully domesticate, or even steward the sea life on which we most depend: tuna, salmon, cod, or bass.
Tuna are especially problematic in this regard. Tuna are apex predators who expend enormous energy to make catches. This is responsible for their fatty red flesh. But the same feature that makes them delicious also makes them a highly inefficient source of protein: Greenberg’s going estimate is that a tuna must eat 50 pounds of smaller fish in order to gain a pound themselves. In a sense, the frozen tuna blocks at Tsujiki are frozen chunks of lion meat: the culmination of a food chain. It is telling that the French phrase for seafood is fruits-du-mer: the fruits of the sea. We have historically underestimated the trophic level of seafood, because the processes that generate it are obscure to us. But we cannot continue to hunt and gather sea-protein as we have: it becomes clearer with every diminishing catch that our needs demand an extractive relationship with the ocean that is no longer sustainable.
Tsukiji’s impressiveness, then, stems not from its correctness but its efficiency. And the discord between how well Tsukiji does its work and how bad that work really is gets at a problem I’ve been trying to mull for a while now: why is industrial food able to monopolize the quality of efficiency? Conventional industrial food production points to an illusion of efficiency: it claims that it is able to get the most food to the most people with the least waste. A common thread of opposition to re-localized or de-industrialized food production revolves around a perceived loss of efficiency, and attendant food shortage.
But Tsujiki, properly understood, teaches us a more important lesson: the efficiency of industrial food is not absolute efficiency. It is an efficient fulfillment of a desire built on habit and preference that does not inherently account for the future. Tsukiji shows us that the processing, sale, and distribution of fish can be centralized and optimized in exciting and authentic ways, ways that speak to Japan’s history and culture as well as the lives and livelihoods of those who work the market. But that efficiency is more reason to ensure that the fish entering the market are harvested in an attentive rather than extractive relationship with the ocean.
We need to reinvest the efficiencies of distribution into maintaining efficient production: rebuilding aquatic ecosystems, pioneering oceanic farming and ranching techniques, protecting baseline genetic diversity, distributing our impact among species that can endure it, and aiming for greater trophic efficiency than the tuna’s abysmal 50-to-1.
We cannot see or predict the ocean nearly as readily as the land. This has meant that we pay less attention to it, that we consider ourselves subject to, not responsible for, the mysteries of the deep. Our impact, however, has long outstripped this mindset, and we have acquired industrial strength on the ocean without the corresponding advance in care or attention. There is a competence and a grace to be found here as a species. The sublime power and mystery of the sea is a reason to approach it with reverence and humility, not to excuse ourselves from our responsibility to act cooperatively with it.
Sadie Weinberger ‘13 reminds us that the Farm Bill isn’t the only piece of legislation that affects farms and farmers in this country:
About a week ago, the satirical “news source” The Onion published an article headlined “Congressional High Priest Concocts Farm Subsidy Bill In Legislative Cauldron.” Despite its utter absurdity, I often feel that the Onion writers are pretty much the only ones who really know what’s going on these days. You don’t have to read the article to get the joke: the process of creating the Farm Bill has been, and always is, so complex and inaccessible to the public that it may as well be some dark ritual conducted by men in black robes in the dead of night. And, in fact, I read one more jab into the quip, which is that even the members of Congress do not completely understand what they’re doing when they “concoct” the bill.
This might seem like old news; after all, the Farm Bill is renewed every four years, and that should have meant a clean adoption of a new bill—or, rather, a revised bill—by the end of the 2012 session. That was me making a little joke, since we all know Congress doesn’t work like that. The fact is, Congress is even now introducing new bills that would affect the provisions of the Farm Bill, and we ought to be keeping them in sight. The end of 2012 didn’t mean the end of farm-related legislation, despite the cessation of talks and workshops revolving around Farm Bill activism.
In fact, just in the last week, Congress has introduced two such bills: the Farm Program Integrity Act and the Protect Our Prairies Act. The former, a bipartisan bill introduced on February 12, aims to close the loopholes in farm program payments that allow non-working or absentee farmers to receive subsidy payments. The bill allows for payments to working farmers and one additional non-working manager per farm. In fact, the House Agriculture Committee considered this proposal last year as well, but did not adopt it. Many sustainable agriculture organizations, including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, are strongly in support of this bill, especially as we consider the new Farm Bill.
The Protect Our Prairies Act is part of a conservation effort folded into the Farm Bill that basically pays farmers not to farm certain areas of land in order to prevent erosion and development of valuable landscapes. This bill, also bipartisan, is a bit different in that it is actually designed to save taxpayers and the government money by prohibiting federal commodity payments on newly broken native sod and reducing federal subsidies by 50% on that land. Loss of grassland in prairie areas has led to erosion, fewer opportunities for small ranchers, and damage to local ecosystems and economies.
We should keep in mind that even though the New York Times stopped publishing articles about it, the fight over the 2012 Farm Bill is not over yet. Agricultural legislation is being introduced and passed all the time. Let’s all keep an eye out and keep ourselves informed.
Farm intern Justine Appel ‘15 gives a personal account of the Lazarus Summer Internship:
It’s impossible to pick which day of the Lazarus Summer Internship was my favorite, but here are some contenders: The day we pressed 1,300 soil blocks (imagine eleven large wooden flats loaded with brownie-like cubes of soil) and filled them with lettuce seeds so tiny they looked like coffee grounds. The day I hung hundreds of feet of twine from the top of a hoop house so that our climbing beans could grow upwards into a beautiful curtain of vines and leaves. Maybe the day we sliced up 25 basketball-sized cabbages, soaked them in brine, and packed them into big white buckets to ferment into incredible sauerkraut (if you think sauerkraut is gross, you clearly haven’t tried making your own). Perhaps the day we visited the gorgeous Thimble Islands, and when the tide was too high to continue clamming, went trolling through the water at such a high speed that we would go flying whenever we hit a wave and couldn’t contain our screams and laughter. Definitely the evening of our visit to the Yale-Meyers forest, eating blueberry crisp out on the porch and sharing stories as the sun went down.
The Lazarus Summer Internship is the Yale Sustainable Food Project’s summer-long program in which six Yale College students manage the Yale Farm. This includes preparing beds, seeding, irrigating, and harvesting crops, and finally selling them at the CitySeed farmer’s market at Wooster Square every Saturday. But what the internship offers beyond that is what makes it extraordinary. The interns get to go on weekly field trips to organic farms around Connecticut, and take weekly classes on topics such as the economics of small farms, food lexicon, and soil science. The educational dimension of the internship showed us how the principles and techniques of organic farming could apply to farms much bigger than our beloved acre, and farms that were more animal-based (including a sustainable oyster farm!) than ours. We picked the brains of brand new farmers, struggling farmers, farmers who managed large heated greenhouses, and farmers that had experienced significant losses due to pests and diseases.
At the end of the summer, we went to the Northeast Organic Farming Association summer conference: three days of classes and workshops taught on everything agricultural, from worm composting to efficient irrigation to increasing food access in impoverished urban settings. Between the beginning of June and the end of August, all six of us had gained not only an understanding of how to grow and care for a diverse array of crops, but also tremendous insight into the world of sustainable food and the many paths we could take to get more involved. The YSFP staff taught us not only how to make perfect pesto and how to properly grow leeks, but how to think critically about the big picture issues inherent in our food system.
The internship, like the Yale Farm itself, demands real effort from your mind and your body. Most days, I would come home and collapse on the couch with a book and a big spoonful of peanut butter, lacking the energy to even hop in the shower and wash all the soil out of my hair. But, also like the Farm, the rewards far exceeded the amount of work we put in. Fresh vegetables to take home every week, the opportunity to pick up several new skills and experiences every day, and the lasting bonds we formed with each other and with the incredible staff far surpassed the value of our monthly stipend.
I cannot recommend this opportunity more strongly. All of this past summer’s interns had different areas of interest, and different reasons for wanting to work on a farm all summer. If you love to learn, and more importantly, if you love to eat, you should spend the summer on the Yale Farm and see what crazy adventures it brings.