A day on the farm from one intern’s perspective
I’m thankful for Minnesota summers. The days are filled with bright blue skies, warm temperatures, sounds of chirping birds and bumblebees happy to pollinate our abundant landscape of flowers and plants. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by all of these things when I’m working alongside 11 fellow interns outside at Cornercopia, a certified organic farm run by students and one lovely leader, Courtney Tchida, on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities’ St. Paul campus.
Our days on the farm begin outside by the toolshed, where we lather up on sunscreen and gather any tools and gloves necessary for morning tasks. Depending on the day, Courtney has handy a list of tasks that need to be completed among the team members. In May and June, there’s always a lot of planting and field work prep to do. As we enter July, our days are filled with harvesting, weeding and general maintenance. One of my favorite parts about interning at Cornercopia is that the majority of work is done through teamwork. When we are planting, we each take on different roles such as measuring out the rows, raking, placing the plants in the holes, or “tucking the plants in” (which just means covering any exposed root parts with soil).
As an intern, I assist in the daily operations on the farm work as a marketing and food composting manager. In this position, I have the opportunity to interact with the customers that purchase our produce. With the help of two other market interns, we are in charge of running the farmers market on the St. Paul campus from 2 to 5 p.m. and the University of Minnesota’s farmers market from 11 to 2 p.m. every Wednesday through October 8. The market in St. Paul is done in conjunction with the meat and dairy sales through the Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science, and the market in Minneapolis is located right by the McNamara Alumni Center. Come and check us out at either location!
Other interns on the farm work on coordinating our awesome volunteers, doing outreach to local schools and summer programs for tours, researching ginger (yes, we are growing ginger, turmeric and galangal root here in Minnesota!) and tending to our 300 broiler chickens that will be ready in fall.
Interested in volunteering or taking a tour of the farm? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org We’re always looking for help harvesting, weeding and planting! We guarantee a relaxing, fun staff of interns to work with.
If you are looking to dig into the “dirty” details of organic farming, consider applying for an internship position next summer. Applications usually come out in mid-March and are due in April. Can’t commit to a whole summer? The University offers a class titled Student Organic Farming: Planning, Growing and Marketing (HORT 3131), taught by professor Julie Grossman and our manager, Courtney Tchida. This year, it will be offered in fall 11:45–12:35 on Tuesday and Thursday, with a lab on Tuesday mornings. Check it out!
In more upcoming news, Cornercopia will be having its annual open house, Wednesday July 27, 6–8 p.m. Come to learn about the farm, take a tour and sample some of the yummy produce we are growing!
Photos courtesy of Moriah Maternoski