2018 Intern Experiences
The Earthly Delights Farm Internship is eye opening. Through the experience I not only expanded my knowledge of the natural world but I gained courage and respect for our earth and all its mysteries. Casey’s enthusiasm and awe is contagious. She is so patient to transform her students from simply curious to seriously inquisitive. She taught us that more important than answers are the questions. Learning about how things grow, how humans impact the earth and our individual role in the system permanently changed my perspective.
This internship opened my eyes to so much more than I thought I knew with the food industry, industrial agriculture, the multi-facetedness of the GMO debacle, CSA magic, and beyond. The thoughtfully selected readings shared so many perspectives and philosophies of our food culture, broadening my understanding helping me along my path of sustainability. Even more rewarding and immediately valuable and precious is the sacred practice of seed saving. I am so grateful for the wisdom you shared with me, us. I will be able to feed myself and the community surrounding me- for life! More importantly, teach them how to grow their own medicine and lifetime supply of seeds too. The ripple effect of this knows no bounds. I am much more confident in planting, harvesting, timing plantings, the in’s n out’s of running a CSA.
2017 Intern Experiences
It is impossible to describe the Earthly Delights experience unless you go through it. Believe me I have tried to many friends and family members. I hope that anyone who undertakes this journey recognizes it for the gift it is. You will work hard, but this is not the indentured servitude that many other farm internships might be. This is the knowledge that comes from 14 years of hard-earned farming experience, wrapped up and given to you in a beautiful package. Casey will teach you even more that you knew there was to learn. You will experience the straight-up magic of growing food and learn how you can create an alternative to the global food system you must be sick of if you found yourself on this page. Oh and you will probably double your lifetime intake of veggies!! Please make sure you can embrace this experience to it’s fullest, you will not regret it.
One of the greatest impacts this program had on my life was the realization that the best and safest hands for the future of my food to be in are my own. Who is in control of your food? Do they have your best interests at heart? What’s the big deal with eating out of season foods, anyway? What impact does the food you eat have on people elsewhere in the world?
I applied to the internship program for several reasons, but my main and broadest interest was, how do I become a better steward of the earth I was entrusted with? And that, in a nutshell, is exactly what I was able to walk away with. Stacked on top of that is the knowledge of the circle of food life and the ability to plant, grow, harvest, and save seed from darn near anything that grows from the earth. What I learned danced back and forth between “how do I get the earth to feed me?” and “how do I feed the earth?” And that resulting symbiotic relationship is exactly how the future of my food was entrusted into the best hands possible.
Spending the season with Casey will challenge everything you know and feel and believe about the world’s food systems, at home and abroad. Some of these challenges will be comfortable. Some will not. All of them together will change you. I guarantee you will not be the same person in the end as you were in the beginning.
My advice to you if you apply and are accepted into this amazing program: Be prepared to be fully present. Be prepared to dedicate two days of each week for the next eight months. Prepare (and allow) yourself to be emotional. Get ready to allow 6 people deep into your existence. And be ready for many, if not all of your views to be challenged. Take advantage of the opportunity to write down everything you can during journal time. Don’t assume you’ll remember everything. Soak in the meal times. It is such a special time with these people who will become family to you.
One of the best things to me about the Earthly Delights Farm is that it’s in the middle of freaking town, but as soon as you walk through that gate, you’re in the middle of nowhere, and everything around you is tamed yet nurtured wild. You will watch the earth change season to season through the lens of the farm, and you will also watch yourself change season to season through the lens of the farm. This experience made me believe in magic.
Yes, you will learn how to feed yourself, but you will learn so much more.
No matter your level of experience with plants or gardening, you will find this experience to be very rewarding and extremely valuable. This is a very unique opportunity to learn from a very passionate and knowledgeable local farmer and seed saver. You will feel connections with the earth and with each other, as you enjoy the changing seasons and the feeling of accomplishment. Your confidence will grow along with the food. You will start to understand the rhythms that govern the farm and in turn, will feel more in balance with nature. From the big picture global food system, to the basics of botany and worm sex, this internship is all encompassing. Be prepared to work hard, to laugh (and cry), and to learn more than you would expect. You’ll be glad you made the commitment.
In my year on the farm, I learned to be brave. I learned to plant seeds and to care for them until they were able to care for me. My advice for anyone entering this internship would be: be brave. Be prepared to change the world if only by changing your own. Casey has an incredible understanding of the world around us. By pointing out both our flaws and our strengths as humans, producers, and consumers, she was able to help me (the biggest pessimist ever) believe that we can make the world what we want it to be. Kick ass out there. You’re going to have so much fucking fun!!
My experience as an intern on the Earthly Delights farm has changed my life in so many ways. I was a complete novice at the beginning, having only successfully tended to a locally, “organically” grown tomato plant in a pot on my patio the previous year. I was knowledgeable of the many ills of our “big Ag” pharmaceutical food supply and had spent the last few years learning about real food, trying to clean up my diet and heal my body. I wanted to eat food that I know where and how it was grown. I was a complete outsider to the local “food system,” beyond shopping occasionally at the Farmer’s Market and, most often, the Co-op. The blessings of this program are abundant, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. I cannot express how helpful and meaningful this has been for me. Our whole crew would like to continue, yet there currently is not a Level 2 Intern Program available. Casey is a very special person and a patient, capable, knowledgeable and even loving instructor. With driven, purposeful care, this tough lady has put together a curriculum that covers all the basics and beyond. She shares her wisdom, experience and skills in a no-nonsense manner that is straightforward, funny and endearing. If you come on board, bring your common sense and sense of humor to the farm! Be on time for Casey and the rest of your crew and be ready to rock it. You must be adaptable and able to improvise. “Progress, not perfection” is a mantra that may help future OCDers like myself with picking up the pace weeding, planting, harvesting, etc. The work can be physically tough, and you get dirty. Be prepared! Wear appropriate clothing and shoes. A word to the wise: wear pants and long sleeves if you must get up close and personal with zucchini and squash plants when they get big and prickly. There is never a dull moment with Ron, the farm dog on the prowl. The field trips are awesome: the worm farm, the water treatment plant and the other amazing farms! Major bonus! I pray that the new interns will be blessed with a group like we had this year. I love and am thankful for everyone on our crew and the friendship, love and knowledge I have received from them during our time together. What they have given me by sharing themselves and their different life experiences has helped me grow in many ways. I love and am missing the camaraderie we shared. Work always seems easier when you’re doing it together! It is visually beautiful beyond description and we cherished seeing every little bit of progress and things sure change quickly being there just twice a week! I have learned a great deal about how to work with, feed and care for the soil that is the life blood of the seed and the food I was seeking to learn to grow. I understand what a seed is, how it develops into a plant and how that plant develops into crops and produces seeds of its own. I now know how to harvest, process and save all kinds different types of seed.. The circle for me was completed when I helped package seeds we had harvested into packets for the Snake River Seed Co-op to be sold for the next season. My determination to be “plugged into” our local food system is even greater, and I have a much better understanding of how it works and how important it is to support and promote. I must continue to be a part, help, play a role…somehow. Many people don’t take the time to think of where their food comes from and this experience might not even matter to them, yet to me, it is indescribable. It is hard work. It is wholly fulfilling, body, mind and soul. It is freedom. It is rebellion in that it is taking back our power to sustain ourselves. I have gained a new-found connection to the earth, to the people I have had the privilege to meet and work with of like mind, to the farmers and seed savers across millennia, to the downtrodden farm workers of today, to my Heavenly Father and to my place in this world. This internship is a priceless gift and I cannot thank Casey enough for making this her mission and sharing it with us.
I’d tell someone who gets this internship: “You’re one lucky human!”
It’s been such a privilege to be a student here at Earthly Delights Farm. I’ve learned more in this internship from Casey than I ever imagined or expected. This has been a life changing experience that I’d do over again in a heartbeat. I didn’t want to end.
2016 Intern Experiences
Having just recently completed my internship with Earthly Delights Farm, I can happily say this internship is truly a keystone event in my life. If you have ever wanted to master your understanding of how to grow food for yourself, your family and/or others this is a wonderful program. And when I say food, I really mean from plant to seed to plate. The seed saving portion of this internship is certainly the greatest in Idaho and one of, if not the greatest in the country. Casey’s care and thoughtfulness as a farmer-mentor was evident every week as I learned everything from the most efficient way to harvest potatoes to how to hand pollinate cucumbers to the impact of global trade agreements on subsistence farmers in Guatemala. If you’re considering this program, my only advice is to make sure you’re in a place in your life that you can really commit the time. This program is jam packed with information for you to scoop up by the handful, but you have to be present and have the space in your life to take it all in. Oh and you really should ride your bike to the farm – besides that wonderful spirit satisfaction you get up front parking! Lastly, this is one of the greatest learning experiences in my life and I will be forever thankful to Casey and my fellow interns for it.
If you are ready to take your gardening skills to the next level or considering entering the food production business, this internship will be life changing! I went into it with a totally open mind and willing to do whatever I needed to do. It was hard at times, like when the weather was really cold or the project was particularly tedious, but I was inspired by Casey and my fellow interns and wanted to do a good job for the team. There is a strong element of camaraderie and solidarity in learning how to farm together. I learned about farming techniques, socio-political aspects of growing food for others, the US and global economy, how to prepare new-to-me foods, the science of pollination and fruit production, how water shapes a farm, relationships between eaters, producers, and landowners, and so much about my own goals in this community. I would recommend this to anyone who is able to commit themselves to the experience who wants to play a bigger role in our sustainable food community. It was amazing and I will be forever grateful.
Get that application in pronto! This internship is eye opening and soul filling. Casey has created the perfect multifaceted experience here. You get so much more out of this than just learning to farm. You learn about food, plants, seeds, your local community, the world, yourself and even more. My advice would be to jump in with your mind open and your shovel ready, it’s going to be an unforgettable ride.
This experience was worth all my time and sacrifice. I feel like the time I put in on a weekly basis wasn’t enough for what I got in return. Casey is generous with her knowledge, her patience, her time, and food(and seeds!) that the farm produces. The curriculum was astounding. It opened my mind to relevant topics, it empowered me to become more educated and helped me find a way to be proactive, whether that be in conversation, politically, in the community, my own garden, or in simple decision making at the grocery store. You will find out that Casey is driven by a raw, radical, heart full of passion and pure love for this work. She holds herself accountable, and teaching others is one response to, ‘What can be done about it?’ She is an incredible teacher and will meet you wherever you are, day by day. She values what everyone brings to the table in conversation and on the field. She surrenders control, lets the interns make decisions, and to make mistakes as a part of the learning curve. She seems more concerned about educating both her interns and her CSA members than making a profit and this is the purity in which I refer to. This can be seen in the vibrancy of the food she grows, and the smiles of her CSA members. I have worked on several farms, and I have never experienced this. It was a day dream come true but better. Working with the interns helped me become more tolerant, taught me how to engage with different work styles, communication styles, and how to traverse deeply personal and passionate subjects respectfully. I learned an incredible amount from the beautiful array of people she choose as interns. This diversity in people reflects the diversity of her fields and aspects to the internship. Not only do you get hands on experience growing food a full season while working with others, you learn about soil health, seed saving, plant breeding, pollination, wild foraging, and so much more. You will learn about so many varieties of plants, your head will spin and you will keep coming back for more. You will see more bees in the field, along with other pollinators, and worms in the soil then you may have ever seen. Casey quickly became one of my favorite people, the internship became one of the best decisions I’ve made, and I learned more than I could have guessed or share here. You must find out for yourself. If you have a calling, deep down, to reclaim the position in growing your own food, in learning about the process of doing so, learning to save seeds, to maximize your space at home, to become a mover and a shaker in this growing local, national, and global agricultural scene, this is the program for you.
It’s a big commitment but if you have the time and the inclination its an amazing experience.
2015 Intern Experiences
Committing to an internship at Earthly Delights is a great decision on so many levels. The obvious benefit, you are signing up to spend time with a passionate, empowered, educated, honest, and wise mentor who will answer your questions, appreciate you, and do her best to make your experience what you want it to be. Casey is a person who genuinely believes in the work she is doing, not only because its her business, but because it is critical for the future well being of our entire community and planet. Her passion is powerful, contagious, and inspirational and spending time supporting and learning from her vision will only empower you and increase your faith in the good of humanity. You are definitely going to gain invaluable information on the technical aspects and the physical act of farming through this internship, but you will also gain a broad view of why small scale farming is so important for the future of agriculture around the world. The internship is extremely well structured and jam packed with information and expanding ideas, but you still have the opportunity to pursue extensive knowledge and experience in anything specific in the farming world that interests you. Not only will you be learning from Casey, but from your intern peers, the land you are working, and from yourself as well. This year’s intern crew brought together a beautiful diversity of perspective and a great deal of passion and genuine desire for learning and connection. We learned from each others ideas, observations, and questions and inspired each other to believe even more deeply that good change is possible and happening all around. The farm itself is a magical piece of land that you will instantly fall in love with and look forward to rolling around in every week. This internship gets you outside, in the dirt, moving your body, doing good work that is critical for the health of our community and our planet. You’re going to feel real good. And then there is you, learning the systems, gaining information, trying new things with a great support group, being encouraged, absorbing minerals and vitamins from the dirt and sunshine, pushing yourself, discovering your own value in a community effort system, discovering new interests, asking questions you never knew you had, feeling what it’s like to work directly with the earth, what it’s like to take care of the Earth that takes care of and gives life to you. This internship was the highlight of my week, every week. I will never forget my time on this farm, working with Casey and our incredible group this year, seeing a real life example of a healthy, natural community based system that you can feel so good about on absolutely every level of your being. Just commit to bringing your passion and a ready to work attitude for a few hours every week and the magic will envelope you and reward you.
Definitely do it. You won’t regret it. t is a chance to grow, learn and meet like minded individuals. It can satisfy the urge to take action in a state of global environmental emergency. You gotta see Ron with the hoses. It’s hilarious. Don’t piss Casey off. hehe.
2014 Intern Experiences
Hops, coffee, blood sausage…. some things are an acquired taste. Soil is not. Getting your hands in the soil is primitive and satisfying. There is something truly magical about the feeling you get from preparing the soil, planting seeds, watering, weeding, harvesting, and then, finally, enjoying the fruits of your labor. Working on Earthly Delights Farm is not easy; a year on the farm is a grind. The weather beats up on you, manual labor is in abundance and some days you might want to stay in bed but you know your seed crop will not be taking the day off.
To put it simply, however, this internship is amazing. Casey’s passion for the farm is contagious. She’s a natural teacher and takes the time to share all she knows in regards to farming and more. This internship is such a value to our community for allowing city-folk to get their hands in the soil and truly learn where our food comes from!
I feel like a lens was removed from my eyes, and now I see things in a different way. I was aware of the local movement, and aware of what was “right and wrong” as far as wastefulness, re-using, and good food, but that is different than feeling with your heart the origins of every product in the grocery store. The internship allowed me to develop a much deeper connection to the food and products I buy because I can see more clearly what had to happen for them to arrive before me.
This is a commitment that is more than just two days a week, learning how to grow food. It’s an emotional commitment that will forever change the way you look at the world, your community and the grocery store. It’s a commitment to a new group of people who count on you, your labor and your input to smoothly operate a small farm. It’s not something you can skim the surface of and bow out when you feel like it, it takes a lot of physical and mental input and what you receive in return is ten-fold what you put in. This is not your granny’s gardening class, it’s an opportunity to plug into the community in a permanent way and truly make a difference in your own life and those around you.
I applied for this internship because I was tired of sitting in a classroom, feeling powerless to change the world; I wanted to do something tangible, and what’s more tangible and significant than the food we put in our bodies every day? But I gained so much more than the ability to grow my own food from this internship. I learned about all the hard work it takes to run a farm, a CSA, and a seed business. I learned the challenges specific to the local food movement in Boise by touring local farms and meeting incredible farmers and gardeners. I made lasting friends with amazing people. And, I gained an incredible friend and mentor in Casey. You will get dirty, work harder than you ever imagined, and get super personal with squash—and it’s all worth it! My advice: Do it! It is a huge commitment of your time and energy, but anything worth doing isn’t easy, and your life will forever be changed for the better.
It is a beautiful, life-changing experience. I would recommend that you have more than the 10 hours where you will be working at the farm. It will be better if you have the time to linger after lunch, if you have the time to really read and think about the articles, and the time to not feel pressured about making lunch. It is not an adventure to be squeezed in amongst an already busy life. Do yourself the favor of having time to savor the experience. Have the time and energy to give of yourself fully in order to reap all the benefits of participating in this program.
2013 Intern Experiences
Working on a human powered farm is “grind it out” kind of work. Every ounce of effort is worth it! The very act of being in the dirt, tending to the land, and experiencing the seasons through farming is no doubt one of the most important experiences of my life. I am humbled by what the farm has taught me. It has given me a place in the cycle of life. My relationship with the land has become more sacred. Additionally, the community of people that I have shared this experience with are some of the most inspiring friends in my life. I’m so grateful to have been a part of this program.
The Earthly Delights internship isn’t a walk in a park. It’s a farm. Be prepared to not want to come to the farm. Be prepared to have every muscle in your body ache. More importantly, be prepared to experience the most educational, emotional, intellectual 8 months you’ve ever had! This isn’t just an internship about learning how to farm. It’s really about how you interact with the world.
For me personally, I expected to learn basic gardening and farming methods. I also had an inkling of maybe wanting to be a farmer. Over the course of the internship, I realized that I in fact don’t want to be a farmer. Rather be a supporter of local food. The internship taught me the importance of farming and knowing where our food comes from. You’ll learn that onions produce their seeds like fireworks! Who knew?
If I could sum up my advice for a future intern it would be this: Set your expectations, beliefs, and judgments aside. And be open minded. Casey is a wonderful, patient teacher. If you are willing to work hard, expect to learn a lot!
I came to the internship looking for the opportunity to make connections with other people and to gain experience in all aspects of farming, from planning and planting, to harvest and marketing. I was already a gardener, and loved getting things to grow, but after working with Casey, I feel like I have the skills and the confidence to lessen my footprint on this world by growing much of my own food. I loved the internship’s combination of hands on farm experience with the discussion of the philosophical aspects of how our society views and uses resources. The farm’s emphasis on Permaculture is exciting to me because I believe that permaculture is an important way for our society to approach the future as we deal with climate change, diminishing resources, population growth, etc. Earthly Delight’s program as a hands on, local way to get these ideas into circulation, first at the individual and neighborhood level, and then spreading outward in ever increasing circles. Like so many former interns have said, this internship has changed my life. It has opened my eyes to the need for sustainability in our agricultural systems and the need for those of us who consume to inform ourselves about how our food is produced. I worked hard, in the cold, in the heat, in rain, in snow. I rode my bike a lot. I made friends. I ate some incredible food. I am so grateful that I made the commitment to this internship program – and it is a big commitment, of your time and your effort: to yourself, to the other interns, to Casey, to the CSA members, and to the earth.
Oh boy! I am only beginning to understand what this monumental experience meant to me. Last night I cooked up some winter farm squash for a potluck and I loved knowing that I had been involved in every stage of its life. It was lots of hard work and a big commitment but the sense of accomplishment and pride I feel for being involved in this project really leaves me at a loss for words. All in all, it’s tons of fun and one of the best things someone could possibly do but just be prepared to work hard and not bail out for optimal results!
2012 Intern Experiences
You are making a big commitment to yourself, the farm, the CSA members, the future of our local seed + food movement. In order to get the best results, know that your attendance + dedication is very important to this internship. It is a lot of fun but it is a lot of hard work + provokes many o’ thoughts + ideas. This internship was one of the most influential, life-changing, positive experience I’ve ever taken part in. Stick with it, put your work in + you will get a lot out of this amazing internship.
As with anything in life, it’s the journey that matters. The farm is a beautiful place because it is a canvas where you get to play with and learn from the most real teachers in the universe.. time, weather, and good company. The experiences are multifaceted. There are times where you feel on top of the world covered in horse crap, or with your fingers so cold you can’t feel them anymore. You get to experience the loss in death, and appreciate the aesthetics in color and flavor, smell and texture, the allbeit “taboo” subject of sex, which drives the creative engines of this living planet. My advice would be to eat a good breakfast, bring layers, good shoes, and don’t be afraid of the future, because as farmers, or earth lovers or whatever, your ride is about hope… you trust that the seeds you plant, physically and symbolically, have this crazy infinite potential in them.
Kristy Kuecken RETURNS!
The internship has been a life-changing event for me, especially being lucky enough to do it twice! It has changed the way I think about and see the world. The skills I have gained, the knowledge of how to grow food and the friends I have made all have made me a different person. Thanks Casey!!!!!!!!!!!
2011 Intern Experiences
When I applied for the Earthly Delights internship, I was only looking for some hands-on experience under the tutelage of an experienced farmer. That was basically it. I wasn’t in the market to change my beliefs, make friends, or truly learn what “eating local” means on a daily basis. If that is all you want, to do some hard work and learn a lot about growing food, know that you’ll get it, but be prepared for so much more. Through article discussions, on-farm lunches, friendships with rad like-minded folks, and a lot of hard, satisfying work, I can honestly say that my life has been changed for the better. Sorry for the cliche, but it’s true. The way I cook is tastier and more nutritious, my beliefs and ethics are a bit more polished, the meaning of “community” is radically different than what it had been. I could really go on and on. Just know that if you show up, work hard, and have a good attitude, there is so much waiting for you at the end of the season.
This internship has been one of the most important investments of my time. In a changing and turbulent word, I am now confident that I have the skills and knowledge to help sustain my community and myself by growing food.
Learning about seed saving was one of the most amazing parts of the internship. I saved seed from my spring arugula plants and then planted a fall crop with those seeds. When my little arugula sprouts began to grow, I had the most prolific and abundant feelings. That was the first time I had grown vegetables without buying seeds from a store.
Being an intern at Earthly Delights Farm will put some hair on your chest. You learn to get up early, bear the heat, rain, wind, snow, cold, and other unfavorable conditions, think on your toes and outside the box to make things work in a pinch, and the virtues of hard work. I have become a stronger person in many different realms because of the internship.
Working on Earthly delights farm was a life changing experience. A chance to not only learn about growing food but also a chance to challenge and expand my worldview as well as make new rad friends. It was a bit of a time commitment and also a lot of good old fashioned hard work; however, it was so much fun to spend time with everyone else and to have the one on one attention of two fine farm mentors. I would definitely recommend this experience as being a rather fun and positive one.
I would tell anyone considering applying to definitely do it, especially if they have never done anything like this before. The farm is a phenomenal and magical place that I always looked forward to visiting, and I gained an extremely valuable amount of knowledge about small scale organic farming along with a lot of other things I never thought I’d learn on a little farm in Idaho, thanks to the wonderful variety of people I got the pleasure to work with and get to know.
2010 Intern Experiences
I chose to be an intern late, I think it was early spring already, after my friend, Harry died. I wanted to do something completely different for a while. I am a Farmer’s daughter and I’ve planted random seeds a few times, but never really grew my own food. Everyday after we worked, I’d go home and do what we did on the farm at home, from pruning raspberries and fruit trees to planting beets, leeks, and even soy beans. At the end of the season I even got to plant a little magic garlic at my house! I had a fabulous salad garden and a mediocre salsa garden, but I always had any vegetables that the farm was harvesting that week, and my menu has been full of fresh food for many, many weeks. Fresh salsa has been a staple in these last weeks, along with tomato soup, and frozen vegetables are stuffed into my freezer. Ok, vegetables weren’t the only perks of this season, I genuinely liked my fellow interns and Casey and Lori, I feel so lucky that this particular group of people convened for this season. We had great conversations and discussions and fun too! Someone always seemed to take on just the job I was reluctant to do, or generous in allowing me to do the job I liked doing. It’s a big commitment, and tedious sometimes, but really well worth the time and effort if you can take some time out from your life to learn about good food and farming and friendship.
The ladies of Earthly Delights organic farm surprised the heck out of me. I knew a fair amount about seeds in the dirt coming in, but was learning something new every week as the season went on. There’s alot of passion for their farm and just as much knowledge between those two. Lori and Casey, I’ll miss you ladies.
2009 Intern Experiences
I love digging in the dirt, doubling digging (digging down two depths) even. I really do. And if anyone would have asked me that five years ago I’d have looked at them cross-eyed, looked left then right and wondered who exactly they were talking to. But things change and they surely did once I became a volunteer at Earthly Delights. Long before I got started digging, I was a new CSA member: new to having a vegetable subscription and new to eating vegetables, well ones directly out of the dirt anyway. I wasn’t even sure what to do with some of the vegetables; some of them I’d never even heard of: kale, kohlrabi, and jerusalem artichokes anyone? I would hurry home with my share with great expectations, only to dig them out of the bottom of the fridge, rotting away two weeks later. After cautiously trying some new recipes and mimicking Casey’s delicious lunches I learned how amazing these crazy looking treasures were. No more uneaten greens in the compost now.
Not long after being a CSA newbie, I was enticed into working at the farm. After working in a cubicle for ten hours a day the garden looked like heaven on earth. I was invited to volunteer and I jumped at the chance. A few years later I was signed up as an intern, to not only be a digger but to learn from seed to harvest how all the magic works.
The first intern day, a chilly day in early spring l was just the beginning of an awesome (and sometimes grueling) spring/summer adventure. Farmer Casey and Farmer Lori, as I like to call them, were a great duo. Casey full of energy and vigor early in the morning; I’ve never met more of an A.M. person in my life, was a great teacher at describing everything from compost science to names of local edible “weeds”. Lori full of patience, wisdom, and perfectly timed subtle humor selected radical intelligent articles about growing food, showed me how to pick the perfect tomato among many other harvesting tricks, and shared the best veggie frittata I’ve ever had.
And I know as I write this big long thing I will sound more and more like a hallmark card but I am being completely honest. The other interns became like my second family. There is nothing like bonding over back breaking work: from huddling under a tree washing the harvest in the middle of a late summer rain storm to pitch forking horse manure from the truck into wheel barrows, wheel barrow by wheel barrow to the garden beds.
Twice a week we would gather together over a beautiful lunch harvested by our very own hands to discuss the trials and tribulations of farming and life. Daily life really can be that good. Thank you Monica, Crystal, Tawnya, Bob, Casey, and Lori for helping me remember what us humans are here for.
I don’t know what my life will be like this year without the internship. It got me out of the bed in the morning, gave me something to look forward to, stoked my imagination and gifted me with renewed enthusiasm.
I doubt if I will be able to stay away completely…………it was an awesome experience and I don’t want it to ever end.
I heard about the Earthly Delights apprenticeship opportunity through my employer, Healthwise. It’s a testament to the company I work for that not only do they advertise opportunities like this, but they supported me taking 8 hours a week out of the “normal” workday to follow my heart and participate in this program. And am I happy they did! While it could have been stressful to work full time and devote 8 or more hours a week to the farm, it never felt that way. The hours working outside lowered my stress level and there is nothing more therapeutic than physical labor and good conversation. And we had plenty of both at Earthly Delights.
I am grateful to this internship for the life lessons it afforded me. I learned much more than how to start a garden, tend it through the growing season, and put it to bed in the fall. And while this is the knowledge I signed up for, I gained so much more. I spent time with people I probably never would have met otherwise. And my fellow interns opened me up to new lessons and ideas. We talked about everything: health, religion, nutrition, spirituality, friendship, enemies, plants, sustainability, vegetables, cooking, the “good old days,” business, politics, and love. Nothing was off the table and on more than one occasion, we spent an afternoon getting different perspective and opinions on an issue one of us had brought with them that morning.
This internship is a commitment, don’t get me wrong. The farm and Casey and Lori are depending on you. It’s not easy. But they teach you so much and it’s so much fun.