Intern John, reporting in. I come to the farm with a love of food and a collage of agrarian ideals picked up while studying engineering in Chicago. I spent the past two years working in restaurant kitchens and jumped on the opportunity to cultivate plants and raise animals here at Bertrand. I guess I’ll jump right in and spill some of my experiences onto the canvas for you.
I arrived on the farm with taped up glasses, a pasty complexion, chock-full of allergies. Two weeks deep and I have a healthy looking rosy-copper tan; tough, dirt-studded hands; and an acceptable tolerance to the festival of pollen and barn-dust that envelops me. My vision is still 20/500, but so far, my theory is supported that manual farming is one of the healthiest activities a person can do.
Life on the farm has been 70% satisfying, 30% frustrating. The satisfaction comes from snapping off crisp stalks of asparagus and rhubarb, placing seeds and seedlings into fertile layers of compost and soil, collecting and cleaning eggs from the hens, and constructing satisfying meals out of this abundance. It feels great to share this work and food with the community–the Niemiers, the other interns, and the neighbors that have passed through and those who will in days to come (you, hopefully!). The frustration comes mainly from the pressures of production and the distance between my ideals and reality. Scratch it, let’s rename the frustration “drive” and end on that note.
‘Til next time,