This summer, Denisonians gathered all over the world to work, do internships and continue their studies. Emily Myette, a rising elder from Black Diamond, Washington, spent ten weeks of her summer working on an organic farm in Kutztown, Penn.
Rodale Institute is an experimental organic farm that researches and experiments with the best agricultural practices. Their goal is to share their knowledge with farmers and educate people about the health benefits of organic farming. Denison’s environmental studies department has developed a strong bond with the Rodale Institute and sends a student to the farm each summer for an internship. This year, Myette was able to obtain this internship.
“I took a sustainable agriculture class with Dr. Aguilar last spring semester and absolutely loved it,” Myette said. “I heard about this internship from my environmental studies professors and applied in the spring and was lucky to be chosen for the internship.”
While at the Rodale Institute, Myette learned different organic farming techniques, how to grow certain crops, biological pest control and disease prevention. She said: “I loved learning about all the little things that add up to a huge wealth of knowledge about organic farming.
This learning experience turned out to be everything she was looking for in a summer internship. “I felt like I was constantly learning while I was there, but I can’t imagine getting to a place where I feel like an expert. There is an endless amount of things to learn about organic farming.
Myette found herself extremely tired after a typical day at Rodale. “On a typical day, I would get up at 5:30 a.m. to go for a run and make myself breakfast, then I would start work at 7 a.m. I would work in the fields from 7 a.m. to noon to harvest the produce and turn it into market shares or CSA. , or cultivating and/or transplanting new crops. At 1 p.m., she would have finished her work in the fields and headed to the communications office to help with social media, event planning and coordinating volunteer placement After a long day of work and learning, she was ready to pass out early to rest the next day.
Although his days were long and tiring, the experience was worth it. Myette found it particularly gratifying when visitors came to the institute. “People came from all over the country and even other parts of the world to learn from Rodale’s research experts and everyone was so passionate about sustainable agriculture.”
She also explained that she finds it satisfying to see her products go directly to consumers at farmers markets. “I could tell them how I had just harvested their food that morning and knew it was fresh and delicious because I also ate food from our farm every day.”
Myette is a double major in environmental studies and political science, president of Ladies’ Night Out, and an executive member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. After graduation, Myette hopes to move into environmental policy, specifically food/agricultural policy. The Rodale Institute was able to provide her with the practical experience she was looking for as she pursues a career in politics.
She said, “I would definitely recommend this course to anyone interested in organic farming. Although it was hard work, “it helped me bond with the other interns, and it’s satisfying to be sore after a long, hard day of work, doing something you’re passionate about. ”
Photo courtesy of Emily Myette