Students Experience Life on the Farm

Read our guest bloggers perspectives about their experiences at Nourse Farm.  

Hello! We are Hayley and Michelle, two dietetic interns from Framingham State University assigned to Nourse Farm as part of our 1,200-hour internship to become Registered Dietitians. We have spent approximately two months here in order to better understand the connections between farm, food, and nutrition.  Here are some of the experiences we wanted to personally share with you:

 “Nourse Farm is a new internship placement site for Framingham State University. It is also a unique site since the university has never assigned dietetic interns to conduct nutrition outreach activities on a working farm.  Nourse Farm seeks to link individuals and families with their food.  Farm store patrons can participate in a variety of food-related activities (pick-your-own, community supported agriculture, product tastings), all of which highlight various aspects of the farm to plate movement. As a dietetic intern placed here, I stepped out of my comfort zone, having not always fully connected food production with nutrition.  From my experience working at Nourse Farm, I now understand how much work a farmer puts into the production of our food. I actually planted seeds, stalks and plants on a weekly basis and finished exhausted, thirsty, and covered in dirt.  This physical labor enhanced my overall appreciation of the effort it takes to produce food.  An everyday farmer does this kind of work in his/her high season for greater than eight hours a day, sometimes even seven days a week.  My experience at Nourse Farm has helped me understand how much work goes into the food production that ultimately gives us the nutrition to help us live and be healthy. This knowledge and appreciation is something I can take into my professional career as a Registered Dietitian as I will help people understand the flow of how our food is planted in the ground and served on our plates.”

-       Hayley Ruff

“As a temporary representative of Nourse Farm, I was able to see how interested people are to learn about where their food comes from. There are some big social questions being raised in our culture right now: is mass production of food a good thing? Is it as flavorful as what is grown on smaller, local farms? Can processed, prepackaged food meet our nutrition needs the way whole foods can? When I buy food that is mass-produced, where does my money go? Why are there large-scale foodborne illness outbreaks that make the news, like spinach being recalled for E. coli contamination?

I’m not sure we have all the answers yet, as a culture. What I do know is that as a nutrition professional I will be guiding people in answering these types of questions for themselves. For that reason, the opportunity to learn and experience first-hand how food is grown has been invaluable to me. Farms have so much to teach us, as many of us are well-removed from how to plant, grow, harvest, preserve, and even cook food. There are many systems in place to keep us separated from those processes. What we lose in that separation is true connection to what food really is: life force, vitality, longevity, and survival. Being part of this labor of love, from pushing a seed into the dirt to shaking your farmer’s hand and thanking him, gives cause for celebration of something so basic and necessary as food.

So get out there this summer: come to Nourse Farm to pick your own berries, learn about community-supported agriculture (CSA) shares, or taste a farm-made salsa. Experience an afternoon at a farm that is working hard for you!”

-       Michelle Ritter