Meet the Farmers!
Erin Buckley, Class of 2017
I am a rising senior, environmental science major and peace and justice minor from Haddam, CT. This summer I am lucky enough to be working full time at the permaculture site, and it is truly a blessing to be able to spend my days down there in the sun and with the plants. During the last school year I was a work-study student for the Office of Sustainability, and helped create the crop plan for this growing season. As a MOVE Core Team leader for Outdoor Volunteer Efforts, I was also able to lead groups of volunteers down to the garden every week in the fall and spring, and we created the field plots, built the raised beds, and helped in the construction of the hoop house. Throughout all of this hard work in creating the site, I have come to really appreciate the way in which our site is benefitting our community. Growing food for the students and staff at St. Michael's, and donating the rest to families who cannot afford to regularly buy fresh, healthy produce, has been rewarding in a multitude of ways. The connections between the health of the land and the health of our bodies is very prevalent in this permaculture site - being able to care for the garden and in turn being able to feed myself and individuals in my community provides a very clear and wonderful relationship with the food that I grow. In the future, I am interested in pursuing a career that combines elements of outdoor education and teaching sustainable agriculture practices with populations who are especially vulnerable, including low income communities, prison programs, and urban neighborhoods. My favorite plant down at our permaculture site is the sunflower, and my favorite vegetable right now is a tie between the kale and potato (with peppers as a runner up). My hope for the future is that more people will come down to the garden, with their classes, with friends, or just to roam around and explore.
Jessica Reid, Class of 2017
This is my second season working as a Saint Mike's garden crew member, and it is a pleasure to be back working on a bigger, more involved growing site with a permaculture mission. I am a rising senior majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Classics, with heavy interest in how food systems are integrated in communities across cultures. Last year, I was able to watch the permaculture site materialize from an idea to the beginnings of a foundation: the garden crew laid down markers for fence, tilled, picked up trash on site, and even did a bit of experimental planting. I then left to study abroad in Nepal for a semester, missing Fall harvests and site development. When Spring came, I couldn't wait to get back into the dirt and help move the permaculture site forward. It was a busy Spring, and many hands were involved in building the hoop house, constructing beds, and early planting. In the few slow moments at the garden, I love looking around and reflecting on how much has changed on that piece of land, how many students were able to benefit from the work, and how much it may develop in the future. The summer has been one project after the next, and sharing this job with Erin has been busy and fun. We have not just improved our gardening and gotten a bit dirty; we have worked together to improve our problem-solving and planning skills (even if we don't finish all that we plan to). I look forward to the beginning of the school year, when students are back to work on and enjoy the site. I hope to see the garden quickly become well-integrated with the rest of the campus and be a place for all different groups of students, staff, and faculty. My favorite crops in the garden right now are beets and potatoes: I think Erin and I both agree that potatoes are the most fun to harvest!