Monday, November 10, 2014

Polyface Farm to Bright Arrows Farm

I'm Back!!! 
Polyface "Egg Mobile" in the foreground with cows in the distance.

I was head of daily rabbit production.

  I'm back home in good old Southern  Mississippi after a 16 month working opportunity at the famous Polyface farm in Swoope, VA under the teachings of the acclaimed Joel and Daniel Salatin!  

  As a little girl (after, of course, deciding against a career in professional ballet) I knew I wanted to be a farmer. As a child I loved practically everything that had to do with being outdoors. I loved helping my dad and granddad work, I loved working in the garden, and I especially loved working with animals. As I grew I realized that while farming wasn't an easy job, the pros far outweighed the cons in my mind. ...Getting to work with multiple generations of my family, getting to see every sunrise and sunset, getting to get myself good and dirty every day - these were all benefits that I would never want to give up for any "normal" job.

I got to work with LOTS of cute bunnies!

 As a teenager I had lots of questions. "Where should I go to college if I want to be a farmer?" "What should I get a degree in?" "Should I even go to college?" "How does one become a farmer?"

  I applied and was accepted for the Polyface summer intern position in 2013. Soon after going to Polyface as an intern, I realized that what I needed in order to be a farmer was not a college diploma telling me I could be a farmer... What I needed was hands-on, practical, guided, experiential learning. That's what I got at Polyface. Over the course of that 4 month commitment (June 1 - Sept. 30) I realized that since that's the type of farming I wanted to do, I wanted more of the same guided learning that would help put me years ahead of where I would have been on my own.

  I decided to stay for the year long apprenticeship (Oct. 15 - Oct. 15).  During that year, I had the opportunity to learn further and more in-depth. I had the privilege to take part in and learn from some of the decision making that goes on at Polyface and needs to happen at every farm. As new interns came this past summer, I had the chance to put what I had learned to use, and learn more, by teaching. Over my 16 months there I had the honor of being welcomed into the Salatin households like family!

Polyface pork enjoying an acorn glen in the mountains.

I also acquired a kitten - Toulouse

I got to experience learning from Joel Salatin himself! 
Rainbow over Polyface!

Another example of species stacking: cows grazing ahead of broilers.

Pastured Turkeys

Overall it was a WONDERFUL experience and I wouldn't trade my time at Polyface for anything in the world!!! I made lifelong friends, gained invaluable knowledge, and learned from the best!

Now that I'm home, I hope to put to good use all that I learned at Polyface to begin healing the land to which I have access; to create community and bring people together with good food; and to carry on the farming heritage that I have and we all share as Mississippians.

 - Hannah

One of the Polyface herds changing paddocks.
**No editing has been done to these photos.** 

No comments: