“Yes, I can drive a tractor!” by Allie Babcock, University of Michigan intern


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Bright and early on a Monday morning the members of the Washtenaw Food Hub meet over a delicious breakfast of locally raised eggs and vegetables to talk about the very food they are eating. The members of the Food Hub, like the Farm at St. Joe’s, are focused on how to make farming part of community life again. With a focus on building sustainable farms determined to bring access to fresh foods to the community, these farms are living their mission to change the way we as a society think about food. My experience working at the Farm has really shown me how important community farms are to live the message of health and what an impact everyone in the community, from community leaders like St. Joe’s to small volunteers such as myself, have on the food industry.

 

Currently, I am an undergrad at the University of Michigan hoping to eventually become a dietitian. When I first came to the Farm I was surprised to see how interactive the hospital, community volunteers, and local markets were in the entire food process. My hand in the process was to help plant tomatoes and get the hoop houses ready for the summer crop. I have to admit that after coming back only a few days later, I am quite attached to my baby tomato plants! (and the tractor, which to the surprise of Farmer Dan I had no problem starting up by myself – maybe just a bit too eagerly). It is so interesting for me to think about how satisfying it is to know that I have helped start something that will eventually help the community feed their families.

 

As someone who is interested in health and its link to food, I cannot help but wonder why it has taken me this long to really work with the raw materials of nutrition. We are all so disconnected from the food process that it seems like farming has become somewhat of a novel past time, but perhaps that is part of the problem that our society faces when it comes to poor nutrition. From my short time at the Farm, I can say that I have an admiration for the work that the hospital has put into bringing people in the community closer to the food they eat. In the future, I hope that I can look more into local sustainable farming as a basis for good nutrition and a better community life.

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