Intern-In-Residence

by Emma Parish July 30, 2017

 

 

My plan in early February had been to fly across the country, from Arizona to Massachusetts, to spend my college break as an intern at Copicut Farms, a small, family-owned livestock farm. Having just finished my freshman year of college at Northern Arizona University and wanting desperately to get out of my small town and do something I hadn’t ever been a part of before, that seemed like a good route to take. Not too extreme, right? A walk in the park. Just a little summer job, back in two months! Bye Mom, love ya! So, I packed a less-than-fifty-pound bag (per airline requirements) of my most logical work clothes, muck boots, a sun dress, and I took off. Thus far, there have been a lot of firsts. My first time flying across the country— first time flying by myself for that matter—, first time working on a farm, first time east of the Dakota’s, first time eviscerating a chicken…

  It has been two months since I first set foot on the east coast, and it has been such a good experience (or rather collection of insane and enthralling and wildly new experiences) that I was inspired to coordinate with my college advisers to allow me to extend my stay in Massachusetts through my fall semester.  Under the mentorship of an inspiring professor, and with the help of several advisers, I’ve developed a plan for a new project that will allow me to earn credit hours towards my degree, and will allow me to opportunity stay on the farm to finish out the remainder of the season.

 I hope that over the remainder of this season, I can not only learn more about farming, but also learn how to put into words this story I’ve found myself lucky enough to be a part of. A family farm, endeavoring to supply high quality food to a local customer base, is about much more than just production of goods. It is built upon relationships with customers who we look forward to seeing at markets, and on the turning of the seasons, and growth of the animals. Just a couple of weeks ago, we received the batch of 400 turkey poults to raise for Thanksgiving. Looking at them at a week old—little more than fuzzy cotton balls with tooth-pick legs—I realized that I couldn’t leave mid-way through the season, with so many loose ends left untied.

 I had to see those turkeys come full circle. From brooder, to field, to a customer’s Thanksgiving table. I had to know how summer looked fading into fall, and fall into winter, and how the farm and all its various parts shifted and changed. I had to see how the farmers and customers interacted over food, and how their choices were affected by the culture surrounding small local food movements.

Over the coming season, I’ll be doing my best to put the farm’s stories into words, and convey some of the values and philosophies behind local food production and consumption.I hope you’ll check back to see how things are progressing throughout the remainder of the summer, and into the fall and winter! 

          



Emma Parish
Emma Parish

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