Intern Experiences

Alumni Survey, Feb. 2007

What our former interns are saying:

“My time as an intern fueled my interest and confidence to the point where I am now, two years later, launching a co-operative organic farm with like-minded friends – most of whom have also taken CRAFT internships.”

“The internship has surpassed my expectations. I feel that a lot more responsibility than I had realistically expected was passed along to the interns. This allowed for some autonomy and increased the learning curve quite a bit. I cannot thank everyone enough for the opportunities they have offered me.”

“Weekly chores, participation in all aspects of the farm, offering us as much autonomy as we could comfortably handle. The constant brainstorming on more efficient methods of doing things engaged our minds. The farmers’ willingness to hand over tasks is one of the greatest qualities of the internship. It would be pretty difficult to not feel responsible in this environment.”

“The CRAFT program is a tremendous opportunity to develop relationships with other organic farmers, visit their farms, and see how they run them.
“Just think how many of the world’s problems we could solve if everybody was committed to and capable of growing even some of their own food?! And what better place to start than with oneself.”

“By the season’s end, I was shocked at my own transformation. The experience had left me with holes in the knees of all my pants, permanent dirt under my finger and toe nails and, most importantly, an intimate understanding of and genuine respect for the organic movement of here in Ontario.”

“The farmers are committed to producing keen young organic farmers, something that the natural environment and communities in which we live will benefit immensely from now and into the future.”

“The experience was wonderful. Myself and the five other interns got a solid introduction to tillage, weed control, soil biology, seeding and transplanting, greenhouse management, tractor and equipment maintenance, harvesting, seed saving, raising chickens, budgeting, CSA management, and farmers markets.”

“For young people who don’t come from a farming background there is an enormous amount to learn before one feels confident enough to take the plunge into organic production. I strongly believe that CRAFT farms offer an indispensable opportunity to the experienced and inexperienced alike by providing an unparalleled mix of theoretical education and experience over a complete growing season.”

“During the season we were given the opportunity of choosing an area of concentration. I received private instruction on tractor maintenance, repair and operation, oxy- acetylene and arc welding and field implement maintenance, repair, design and operation. I really appreciated the chance to work at altering existing implements to better fit our needs. In these instances I was often asked for my ideas, and got a chance to discuss the problems and solutions at length. Being responsible for projects or chores on the farm helped to challenge me and let me think as a farmer must think.”

“The internship was a transformative experience for me. Not that it converted me from an urbanite to a full-fledged farmer. I already had an interest and experience in sustainable agriculture before my internship. But I have a better idea of what farming is now, and what it could be. I received a high-quality experiential education that struck a fine balance between hard work and learning-through-doing about the operation of a viable business and having a lot of crazy fun and being to be a part of a dynamic community. For me, the learning-through-experience approach was invaluable.”

“With the amount of responsibility given to us as interns, the internship gave me many tools, and I feel much closer to fitting into a farmer shoes than ever before.”

“This internship has made me realize how much I still don’t know about farming and everything related to it! But at the same time, the internship has fulfilled my expectations in terms of learning how to grow vegetables, from starting transplants to harvesting. I feel a lot closer to my goal of owning my own farm. I still have a lot to learn, but I am getting there.”

“As a past farm intern I can attest to the great value of this hands-on education in organic agriculture. Sadly, few such opportunities exist in Canada at present, despite a growing interest in organic agriculture at our post-secondary institutions and the large number of farms taking interns and WWOOFers. What sets this internship apart from academic institutions, technical training programs and many of the farms offering internships and other forms of hands-on learning is the exceptional balance of the best features of each of these styles of education. These is a flexible pedagogical approach that blends structured theory components, long hours of hands-on learning, and firsthand visits to a wide variety of other farms. The end result of this diversified approach is a more complete education for interns, the whole of it presented in at atmosphere of mutual support, shared responsibilities and deep caring for each other and the work being accomplished.”

“One of my favourite things was going on walks of the farm. It gave me more of a sense of ownership of the farm, and thus gave me more energy and drive to get things done. Seeing the farm as a whole also taught me a lot more about farming than just doing the tasks alone. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to talk about farming and share my knowledge with the public.”

“I am not going to start farming in the next little while, at least in any conventional sense. But I carry the knowledge and values I developed as an intern with me in much of what I do. As such, I am currently focusing on developing sustainable food systems as part of my Master’s program in Community and Regional Planning.”

“This farm is a solid, fun and tremendously welcoming community. Fitting in here was like cuttin’ butter with a hot knife. Being part of a group of inspired interns and farmers provided a supportive forum for discussion on the topics we were experiencing and learning about day by day. The internship gave me a more firm understanding of the movement of organic agriculture in Ontario; strengthening my commitment to farming.”