Where Are Our Interns Now? Part II

interns-iiWe got such great feedback last month about our article on our Summer Internship Program that we figured we would continue to focus on the power of that program.  While winter seems as though it would be a quiet period here at the farm we are knee deep in planning for our 2017 Season.  A key piece of that process is to recruit for our Summer Internship Program with our college partners near and far.  There is time spent at local college recruitment events and on communication with students inquiring about spending their summer here at the farm.  Believe it or not by the end of March most students have their summer commitments in place so the next couple of weeks will be critical for our Internship Program.

We are extremely proud of the work that our interns engage in here at the farm and are even more excited when the seeds that we plant with them grow into great ideas and work after they leave us.  We thought that we would check in with a few more of our former interns and ask how the internship experience impacted them in making future decisions and updating us on what they are doing now.  The emails that we received speak for themselves and we are really proud of all of the students that we have been able to work with over the years.  We are also very proud of our ability to share the great resources of our farms to impact students, their understanding of non-profit work and how they use this learning in to make career decisions.  If you know of a college student looking for an opportunity for this summer please let them know that CHP is an option!  

Matt Moore, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy, CHP Intern Class of 2015
Interning at CHP rounded out my food and agricultural education at graduate school by providing me with hands-on experience. Whether you’re trying to effect policy change or help someone eat healthier, it’s extremely important to consider all perspectives on food-related (or any field) issues. As an intern, I had the opportunity to plant vegetables, meet politicians, and engage with staff and volunteers from many different backgrounds. Food brings so many people together, and interning at CHP reinforced how integral it is to people’s lives, but also that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to policy or nutritional questions. CHP certainly helped to prepare me for future work in the fields of food and nutrition. And of course, being able to literally see the fruits of your labor provides incredible motivation.

Claire Weston, Holy Cross, CHP Intern Class of 2015/2016
I am the Outreach Coordinator at a small non-profit (deja vu) called the Community Science Institute (CSI), that enlists volunteers to monitor water quality in nine different watersheds, including those that feed into Cayuga and Seneca Lake. I manage volunteers, coordinate events, create educational presentations and displays, and dabble in fundraising. From that description you can probably tell that working at CHP strongly guided my interests and influenced my projected career path. I’ve found that I have a strong desire to engage with the community in a meaningful way and I can say that, without a doubt, interning at CHP helped to cultivate that passion. Furthermore, CHP provided me with the skills needed to work effectively with large groups of volunteers and the awareness needed to guide and inspire them. As any CHP staff member can testify to, engaging the community and utilizing the passion and drive of volunteers is hard work but incredibly rewarding and of paramount importance. Finally, CHP prepared me for, and instilled in me, the desire to play an integral role as part of a small staff. I don’t fade into the background at CSI and interning at CHP made me really appreciate that. I felt valued at CHP, and so, moving forward, I have made it a point to maintain that sense of pride and importance in my work.   

Leta Branham, Clark University, CHP Intern Class of 2016 (currently studying in Senegal)
Interning at Community Harvest Project has really inspired what I want to focus my academics on. I’ve become very interested in food security and food justice, along with agriculture and issues of race. Studying in Dakar Senegal for the semester provides the perfect backdrop for all these interests to come together. While here, I’m taking classes in environment and development as well as history of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Additionally, I hope to learn about agricultural practices are here and how that relates to food justice, especially in a country where water is very scarce and expensive.

Stephanie McCulloch, Ithaca College, CHP Intern Class of 2015
During my junior year of college, I was offered an internship at two different nonprofit organizations, one of them being Community Harvest Project. At the time, I had become extremely passionate about food justice issues, and I was looking to learn more about how sustainable farming could play a role in remediating these issues.  Looking back, I know that I accepted the internship with CHP because I would truly be a part of their mission statement.

When I first started working for CHP, I did not know a lot about farming. However, within two and a half months, not only did I learn how to do everything to keep the land productive, but I became much more aware of how CHP’s work benefited the community. I believe it is CHP’s success in providing food to so many people in need that influenced me to continue on to graduate school. CHP has found a way to incorporate sustainable practices into its system while providing people with healthy food. It is the idea that all efforts to produce this food are not to make a profit, but to make a difference in a person’s life by promoting health that convinces me my efforts at Tufts can help me do the same. The incredible feelings of love, empowerment, and joy I had during my time at CHP, I hope to have again when I assist in making agriculture policy changes that benefit the health of people and the environment.

I owe a great deal to Community Harvest Project for giving me the bulk of my farming knowledge because without it, I would not understand the work involved in producing food. If I did not have this farming and educational experience, then I believe I would not be as prepared to determine what changes to the food system need to be made, from the soil plants are grown in and how the food is distributed. I have so much more to learn to make my career goals a reality, but interning for Community Harvest Project convinced me that working hard in this next life chapter will be worth it.

Read the rest of the February Sprout!

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