Intern Name: Madelynn Longley'16
Major: Environmental Studies
Intern Title/Name of Organization: Communication Manager, Bakers' Acres, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm in Avon, MN
How did you find out about the internship and what was the application process? I came across this opportunity after meeting with Laura Hammond in the Experimental Learning Office. I had a meeting set up with the farm manager/owner, Lisa Baker, over coffee to learn more about her farm and the internship opportunity. The application process included a cover letter and a resume along with your favorite recipe and joke.
What were some of the highlights?
Working alongside Lisa and a fellow classmate of mine was an awesome experience for me. Having very little knowledge of the business and labor side of agriculture, I felt like a sponge soaking in all I could during my first days of the internship. Being able to be a part of something that I could actually apply my skills and knowledge gained from class first-hand was an awesome integrating experience.
What was a "typical day" like? What were some of your major responsibilities?
My role as a Communication Manager included the primary responsibilities in the internal and external communications with Bakers' Acres. In this, I helped create a communication brief for the farm, which listed all the projects and goals we had for the current season. I also contributed in the creation of the welcoming packet for all the CSA members, which would increase the communication from farm to members during the season. Lastly, I put together preservation and storage tips for CSA members so they could keep their yummy fruits and vegetables good for as long as possible.
Once it started to warm up, my role shifted gears a bit and took my work outdoors. I was exposed to the fun parts and the not so fun, but all incredibly crucial parts to farming. From rock picking in the fields, to checking on the chickens and starting seedlings in the hoop house, this internship really gave me a real world experience of what it takes to be a farmer.
What were some of the challenges of your internship?
One of the challenges that turned into a great learning experience for me during this internship was working independently. This was a challenge at first because in school we usually are guided by professors and mentors to finish projects in collaboration. In my internship I was forced to take responsibility for my own work because if I did not get it done, the consequences would only fall on me. This was a great lesson for me because that is how it is in the "real world."
What did you learn?
During this internship I learned a number of things. Being able to see what goes into the growth of a business from the roots, the sustainability of a business over time, and the importance of community in local farms was an eye opening experience for me, especially with my interest in agriculture. Lastly, being able to discover the pride a career and lifestyle like this can give a person was one of the greatest lessons I have gained from my internship.
What advice would you give other students interested in internships?
I would encourage students to use resources such as Career Services and the Office of Experimental Learning to help you find great opportunities. Both of these services really want to help and genuinely care about your internship experience. I also suggest to reach out to people in your network; most people and companies love helping students out if they are willing to put in the work. Never be afraid to ask questions.