By Arielle Dubowe
Ag. Communications Major
This summer, I decided to do something different in terms of expanding my food knowledge and career. Instead of working in a corporate office in a city somewhere, I chose to do marketing work for W.D. Henry & Sons Farm, an organic farm located in Eden Valley in Buffalo, New York. Yes, I took a risk, considering my lack of a farming background (or a background involving any dirt at all). Yes, I may go to Cal Poly, one of the top agricultural schools in the country, if not, the world. However, it cannot compare to the invaluable experience of living on a 350+ acre farm in operation since 1888.
Not only do I get to live on the farm, interact with farmers, and fully immerse myself in the farm world, I also get to make sure W.D. Henry & Sons Farm stays in business for a long time. The farm, like most farms across the nation, is trying to keep up with the times by using marketing strategies such as having a strong online presence and recognizing the buying power of millennials.
Part of my internship is finding the best direct marketing practices to insure that there will never be a shortage of customers. My biggest responsibility lies with the farm’s flower business, which is their main production. Before coming here, I barely knew anything about flower marketing trends and what’s hot right now, but that’s the exciting part—I get to constantly learn while being on the farm.
Regardless of my lack of farming experience, I do not lack the passion of acquiring knowledge in the food and agriculture world. That’s why I’m spending the summer on a farm because I sought out answers. And perspective, too—that’s an important one. How can I work in the corporate food world when I lack the perspective of the very person who grows the food in the first place? People should be knowledgeable about their own jobs, especially people in the food industry. If my dream is to work for Starbucks or Trader Joe’s, how can I make it come true when my face is turned away from the life-sustaining fields, the farmers, and the sun?
Being from the city should not be my excuse for not learning about the farming world. In fact, it is the reason why I should immerse myself into the farm lifestyle and culture. While the city taught me so much, including cultivating my “foodie” personality, it’s only one perspective. I need various perspectives in order to be a more honest, passionate, and knowledgeable food advocate as I pursue my career dreams.
So her’s to a summer full of risks, perspective, passion, and fresh sweet corn which will make my knee’s go weak.