For ten weeks, I have had the great opportunity to work as part of the farm staff at Weavers Way Farms in Northwest Philadelphia which was funded through Penn State Extension. My overall experience at Weavers Way Farms was positive. I highly enjoyed working with the farm staff and was able to make lasting connections both with the staff and consumers in the community.
The mission of Weavers Way Farms is to provide a different experience for community members that allows for interaction with both the farmers and community members. This is primarily seen through their CSA. The Weavers Way/Henry Got Crops CSA is different from most CSAs as the food is grown in the city, they have an educational component to high school students, all the produce comes from either of the Weavers Way Farms, and the CSA is part of a food co-op. With these four components, I was able to gain perspective on the connection of agriculture to the community and diversity in the agricultural industry. I gained different perspectives through hearing stories of inner city teens and then also conversations with urban residents as they would come to the farmers market. Being able to be immersed in the culture and in the community of Philadelphia helped me gain different perspectives and allowed for personal reflection.
I have had a lot of experience with agricultural legislative processes and agricultural education. Most of my coursework and internships have revolved around ag business management, ag policy and agricultural education. This internship was different for me because it gave me a different outlook into the agricultural industry that I haven’t had much experience with. Although I live in a rural town, I haven’t experienced heavy farm work before. This internship interested me because I would have the opportunity to not only work on farms and be a part of a farm team, but also having the urban agriculture experience within the community of Philadelphia.
Being involved in agricultural education courses and FFA throughout high school really showed me that there were career opportunities to explore in the agricultural industry. From this realization, I have known since I was sixteen that I wanted to work in the agricultural industry one day. However, how I wanted to work in the agricultural industry has changed over the course of the last couple years, primarily based on opportunities that were presented to me during each season of my life. For a while I wanted to go into the public sector and work at a government agency like the USDA. While I would still be open to that option, after this experience/internship of working at Weavers Way Farms, I would love to go into the private sector and also explore opportunities there with urban agriculture and community engagement, possibly even internationally.