Student offers organic farming trip over break

Posted by Bradley Morris

Students from Skidmore College will soon volunteer at nearby organic farms during spring break from March 11 to March 18.

This farming program was set up by first-year student Anna Graves.

Most of the farming activities will occur in the morning. Organic farming is the main focus of the program but there will be other activities throughout the day.

Besides farming, the program offers skills such as cheesemaking with professional cheesemakers, learning yoga, working on nature trails, maple sugaring and taking tree sap and turning it into maple syrup.

"Afternoons are different traditional skills for the mind and body," Graves said.

The farm Graves and her volunteers will be volunteering at is named "Full and By" in Essex, New York.

The deadline for filling out an application was on Friday, Feb. 11, but, by contacting Graves, it is still possible to get information about the trip.

The process for setting up this trip took a large amount of planning on Graves' part.

"I had to call a lot of people and talk to [cheesemakers]. [Right now I'm] trying to negotiate prices and services," Graves said.

Nine students confirmed they will be part of the trip and Graves said she has 25 applicants as of Thursday, Feb. 10.

Current pricing for the trip is $250 per student along with a suggested donation, not only to help pay for the outing, but also to simply help out the farm. Graves said she is hoping to get some grant money to help pay for this trip and help out the farms.

Graves' inspiration to set up this trip came from her own interest in and experience at working on farms. Her interest in farming started about eight years ago after learning about the importance it has on our everyday lives.

"I worked on an organic farm in 2009. I was inspired to get people to work on farms. Organic farms need more people to work. They need free labor and that's essentially what [we're] giving to them," Graves said.

Her interest in farming made her content to see the amount of people who wanted to get involved with the local organic farm, after receiving all the applications.

"I'm amazed at how many people are interested. It is really important to foster a farm community here on campus," she said.

It's great the school has a program like this to help people learn about how to grow their own food."

Graves' goal is to have students learn more about agriculture.

She wants every person to become more aware of his or her decisions about food, to have less of a dependence on technology and non-renewable resources and to gain a more sustainable lifestyle.

Graves hopes to see students bring these lessons back to campus after break and influence others to take interest in supporting their local farms.

"[I want them to] open their eyes to a different way of living… [and] make this a part of their lives and spread this to others," Graves said.

Interested students should contact Anna Graves at agraves@skidmore.edu as soon as possible.

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