Education in farming practices is most effective in the field, where hands-on activities provide new experiences for those without a farm background. One of the educational missions of the Foundation is to provide and opportunity for students to work side-by-side with experienced farmers on the long-term rotation and other projects under way at GPF. This summer we have two interns joining the farm team, and both are excited about this practical learning arena.
Jane Coghlan is an incoming junior at Arizona State University studying Sustainable Food Systems with a minor in Nutrition. She returns for a second year to join the GPF field team. Jane is from a small town in Texas called Argyle which is just north of Dallas. “I did not have any farming experience until my internship last summer at the Grain Place. I enjoyed it tremendously, so I came back again this summer to continue learning and building experience. I love farming because every day I learn something new and form a deeper connection to the land and animals. David Vetter’s way of farming with nature is a big inspiration to me. I hope to positively influence the world through organic farming like he is doing”. The resident farmers at GPF reported that Jane learned plenty in her time on the farm in 2019, and are delighted that she is returning for a second experience.
Jingyue Zeng is a senior Agronomy major at UNL and will graduate this summer. “I have devoted my passion to plants for all of my life, I have always liked to take care of plants and watch them grow when I was young. I have worked for a Chinese company in my hometown last summer, measuring, recording and reporting the growth of pineapple for 32-acre pineapple field, and helped to do weed management and prepare fertilizer mixtures. Organic farming has a special interest for me. I have also learned about the agricultural industry here by attending a meeting of the Nebraska Wheat Board”. Jinghue was a student in both the Agroecology and the Organic Farming classes at UNL this past spring, and is a volunteer intern at GPF this summer.
We look forward to welcoming additional interns to work with the farm staff at GPF, and can provide housing and a modest stipend when grant funds are found to support this important educational activity. In the near future, we’ll share interviews with these two interns here, in hopes that we can attract more students interested in learning about organic farming and livestock integration as well as value adding on the farm. If you have questions, please contact GPF board member Glenda Vetter for details on opportunities.