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News & Notes

Tales Told and Lessons Learned: 2019 Through the Eyes of Glynwood’s Apprentices

By Clayton Smith, Development and Communications Coordinator

As snow covers the fields and our animals are moved into the barn to stay cozy for the winter, it’s safe to say that Glynwood’s 2019 farm season has come to a close. However, before we look ahead to the potential of our 2020 growing season and think about exciting things like the new cohort of farmers that will join us, we want to take a moment to appreciate some of the specific memories that made this year a special one for our apprentices.

Eli, one of our Livestock Apprentices, recalls a rather character-building incident that happened while herding sheep. “I remember moving the sheep to the root cellar field when the entire staff of Gramercy Tavern was watching. I was carrying the bucket (we were still doing jogging-pace moves then, to make sure the sheep took the corners well), and running backwards. I got them into the paddock but didn't realize someone had left the water trough (empty, thankfully) right in my path. I ended up in the trough, of course, and all the spectators applauded, with what I can only imagine was a mix of amusement and pity. But a bad day on the farm is better than a good day in a cubicle.”

Christina, a Vegetable Apprentice this season, experienced some animal-related drama of her own while living with the Livestock Apprentices. “One night before bed, once I turned off all the lights, I started hearing a ‘mooing’ sound. Soon I realized that all of the cows had escaped from their enclosure and were standing in our front yard.” Christina also shared a goofy yet meaningful moment during the first spinach succession of the season in which she and the vegetable apprentices got on their hands and knees and tasted the crop “like a good animal was a down-to-earth, magical moment.”

Another of our Vegetable Apprentices, Mik, told of the “season-long ‘pun-lympics’ which went on among the Vegetable Team both in our house and in the field.” This is exactly what it sounds like: a competition to come up with as many farm puns as possible throughout the day. Only an activity as ridiculous as this one could both bond a team and simultaneously bring out people’s competitive edge in a contest that’s debatably more embarrassing to win than to lose. 

Though stories like these helped keep the mood light throughout the season, our 2019 Apprentices are walking away with some meaningful experiences that they won’t soon forget. Pun-lympics aside, Mik was also able to take time to appreciate some of the unique initiatives that Glynwood pioneered this year. “Seeing the Regional Cooking for Health event come together and seeing all of our partners collaborate was gratifying,” he said. This cooking workshop brought together healthcare providers, food professionals and laypeople for a day of hands-on learning at Glynwood, and ideally will lead to many future gatherings exploring the movement of food as medicine.

Christina feels especially lucky for the opportunities that she had to learn and exchange during her time on the farm, mentioning that she’s learned as much from the other apprentices as she has during formal workshops or lessons. “Eli and I bonded over mending and darning clothes. Now when I find holes, I see opportunity rather than annoyance!” 

One of Eli’s most valuable takeaways is a deceptively simple mantra from Shane LaBrake, an instructor who taught our apprentices a variety of skills from chainsaw safety to tractor maintenance and clearly has no time to dance around the point: “Read the F-ing manual.”

We’d like to give a big thanks to our entire 2019 cohort of Farm Apprentices: Emily Lupico, Kione McAulay, Christina Miller, Travis Nash, Mik Pozin and Eli Roberts.