This is the first in our series of posts on the TC3 Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Program from the students perspective. Current TC3 Sustainable Farming students were asked to write a reflection on their first semester in the program as a class assignment, and these are the results. Hope you enjoy hearing from our students.
You can view other TC3 Sustainable Farming student perspective posts by clicking the links below:
TC3 Sustainable Farming Student Perspectives I – Maria
This semester has been a whirlwind experience of learning at the TC3 Farm! As background, I was raised on an organic dairy farm in Cortland County, but my Dad always said the barn was “not a safe place for girls,” even though my Aunt was one of his partners; I guess she didn’t count. Suffice it to say, I never really worked on the farm I grew up on, only enjoyed their raw milk and the beef from the cows sent to slaughter.
Oddly enough, the food I grew to love as a kid is what led me back to farming! I lived in Maryland for a number of years and soon after moving there, I discovered raw milk was illegal to buy or sell in that state. During my research on how to obtain it, I started learning about all the problems the industrial food system is causing for the environment and the health of the public. I joined several buying clubs concerned with sourcing pastured meat and dairy, and sustainably grown fruits and vegetables for their immense health benefits. With my newfound knowledge, sustainable agriculture and community food systems became somewhat of a passion of mine.
After moving back home, I discovered the Farm to Table programs at TC3 and was immediately drawn to the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Applied Associates degree. I already have a Bachelor’s Degree in an unrelated field, so obtaining this degree will show future employers I am serious about transitioning to this field in some capacity. I say it that way because I am not yet sure what role will be a good fit for me and my varied background; I am hoping that completing all the classes will help me with that determination.
The material that Taylor and Todd have conveyed to us in these 15 short weeks is very interesting. I am fascinated to learn every bit of knowledge that they can impart to us. I’ve learned about how weed competition can affect plant growth because they are competing for the same nutrients in the soil. Similarly, removing the runners from strawberry plants allow the mother plants to concentrate on building bigger and better fruit. It had never occurred to me to do something as simple as succession planting, so when the time comes, all your plants will not need to be harvested at once. I was surprised to discover weeding is one of my favorite activities on the farm, primarily due to the satisfaction you feel after clearing an area and seeing how much better it looks, and knowing how much better the plants will grow. This may also be related to having joined a gym and telling my trainer I am specifically looking to get more fit to work on the farm!
I have become aware of so many different kinds of vegetables and am excited to see how they grow next season. Doing the seed inventory and checking out the seed sales sites had me imagining the harvest for next year the types of things I can make in the kitchen; this is where my Culinary 101 class will come in handy. I’m definitely looking forward to next semester and the ensuing adventures awaiting us in the fields.