Autumn means harvest time at the Book & Plow Farm, and the Daily Hampshire Gazette spoke with Maida Ives, manager of farm operation and education, about the merging of the academic and agricultural years.
“It is peak vegetable and peak student season,” she told Noah Baustin, communications coordinator at CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture), writing in the Gazette.
“Many farmers race to be the first to market with crops as they come into season. At Book & Plow, however, summer is the time to lay the foundation for when campus is flooded with students in the fall,” Baustin wrote.
“This is the moment when everything converges, and our brains split into two,” Ives said. “We’re continuing crop care, field prep, and cover cropping. But we’re also welcoming new students to the farm, hosting orientations, and even having pizza parties while the weather is good.”
“Each autumn, Ives hires on 25 Amherst College students to work on Book & Plow Farm. Many of these student employees have little to no experience with the type of physical labor required on a farm. Ives finds it rewarding to see how the students grow and learn from the work throughout the semester,” Baustin wrote.
“I have a lot of students express pride that they were able to do it. They feel themselves get stronger, more capable of doing the physical work, and more confident understanding the decision-making that happens on the farm,” Ives said.