Our next Bob in the Summer Intern series is MPA student Peter Braden. Pete interned at a non-profit organic farm in upstate New York that focuses on sustainable agriculture and education. Alongside his interests in horticulture and policy Pete is also the fundraising coordinator for LSSA and organized Madison’s first ever Bloomsday event earlier this summer. Here are Pete’s experiences in his own words:
During the summer of 2011, I interned at Canticle Farm, a non-profit organic farm in Allegany in western New York State. I am planning a career in sustainable agriculture, and this internship provided valuable exposure both to the techniques of farming and to non-profit management. The farm managers and president were patient and enthusiastic when explaining the farm’s operations.
Because it does not use synthetic herbicides or pesticides, Canticle Farm’s production methods are labor-intensive. Most of my time was devoted to studying and practicing sustainable growing methods. I learned a great deal about biological pest control, efficient use of land and water, and the value of crop diversity and rotation. The internship also exposed me to some of the challenges and pleasures of non-profit management, including volunteer training, outreach programs, and financial analysis. I also met like-minded people with whom I hope to collaborate in the future.
Most importantly, Canticle Farm clearly illustrated the contrast between outputs and outcomes that has been such a significant element of my education in the La Follette program. Far from being a simple vegetable production facility, the farm is deeply engaged in the educational, environmental and social welfare of the community. Canticle Farm produces far more than crops. As its Farm Manager remarked, the farm is “not just growing vegetables, we’re growing farmers.” In my experience, it succeeded on both counts.