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Alumni Profile: Lia d’Hemecourt '11
I obtained this internship through the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). MOFGA is the oldest and largest organic agriculture organization of any state in the US. MOFGA’s purpose is to provide a support base for organic farmer’s throughout the state of Maine, to encourage the development of local and organic food systems in Maine, to attract new organic farmers to Maine, and to educate consumers about environmental issues related to agriculture and the importance of sustainable, local food production. MOFGA runs an apprenticeship program which places interns such as myself with organic farms throughout the state of Maine. This apprenticeship program is designed to provide people with all ranges of farming experience with an agricultural education. Through this program, I procured an internship at Longmeadow Farm in West Gardiner, Maine. Longmeadow Farm is a family-owned organic produce farm with about two acres in organic production.
As an apprentice at Longmeadow Farm I was involved with all different aspects of the farm operation and had many obligations. Each day I assisted with a variety of activities such as planting, transplanting, preparing beds, cultivating, watering, and harvesting. All work at the farm is done by hand using hand tools. No tractors or other machinery are used. I also assisted with washing and sorting vegetables for the three farmer’s markets that Longmeadow Farm sells at and for the fifty-member CSA that the farm operates. I worked five full days a week for the duration of the summer. I felt that I was an integral part to the farm’s daily functioning. As an apprentice, I also attended weekly sustainable agriculture related workshops sponsored by MOFGA throughout the state of Maine. These workshops ranged in topics from soil health and weed identification to biodynamic farming and urban gardening. I found these workshops to be an important part of my learning experience as an apprentice.
I found this internship to be an invaluable learning experience. Before my internship, I had many ideas about why sustainable agriculture is important in theory, but I had very little concrete knowledge of agricultural systems. At Longmeadow Farm, I came to understand how a farm really functions as well as how to grow healthy, organic vegetables. It was amazing to see how much planning goes into making sure a farm runs smoothly. My internship involved a lot of hard work but it provided me with important skills that I hope to use in future work that I do.