Monday, February 11, 2013

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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Forget February and any Valentine’s Day blues: think ahead to warm months and the Alpine strawberries that show up at the Yale Farm each June, and apply to be one of our summer interns for the 2012 season. Applications are available here and due Friday by 10:00 pm.

Forget February and any Valentine’s Day blues: think ahead to warm months and the Alpine strawberries that show up at the Yale Farm each June, and apply to be one of our summer interns for the 2012 season. Applications are available here and due Friday by 10:00 pm.

Monday, January 30, 2012
This winter has been weirdly mild so far, but that hasn’t stopped us at the YSFP from getting excited about the coming of summer. There are two awesome ways to get involved in the coming months:
Apply to be a Harvest leader. Facilitate incoming freshmen’s first experiences with Yale and each other by spending a week with them on a small-scale organic Connecticut farm. Work during the day, hang out at night, cook fresh food and sleep under the stars. This year’s trips run from August 19-24, with leaders arriving August 15 for training. No experience with food, farming or the program is required and all are encouraged to apply.
Or, if you’re looking for something a little more intensive, apply to be a Yale Farm summer intern! Spend 12 weeks on our one-acre market garden, learning the principles of small-scale sustainable growing and meeting some of the folks who do it full time in neighboring cities. Experience with farming, gardening and growing is encouraged but not required; a love of cooperative work and the great outdoors is a must.
Unfortunately, both of these opportunities are limited to current Yale undergraduates; non-Yalies seeking positions in sustainable agriculture should check out Good Food Jobs for alternatives.

This winter has been weirdly mild so far, but that hasn’t stopped us at the YSFP from getting excited about the coming of summer. There are two awesome ways to get involved in the coming months:

Apply to be a Harvest leader. Facilitate incoming freshmen’s first experiences with Yale and each other by spending a week with them on a small-scale organic Connecticut farm. Work during the day, hang out at night, cook fresh food and sleep under the stars. This year’s trips run from August 19-24, with leaders arriving August 15 for training. No experience with food, farming or the program is required and all are encouraged to apply.

Or, if you’re looking for something a little more intensive, apply to be a Yale Farm summer intern! Spend 12 weeks on our one-acre market garden, learning the principles of small-scale sustainable growing and meeting some of the folks who do it full time in neighboring cities. Experience with farming, gardening and growing is encouraged but not required; a love of cooperative work and the great outdoors is a must.

Unfortunately, both of these opportunities are limited to current Yale undergraduates; non-Yalies seeking positions in sustainable agriculture should check out Good Food Jobs for alternatives.