Always learning

Blog written by Jessie Yip
July 24th, 2018

I don’t remember how I found out about Farm School, but I signed up wanting to work with animals. I’d always wanted to be a vet, but I’m not very good at academics. I figured even if Farm School could give me even a little bit of exposure to working with animals, it was worth a shot. Now it’s halfway through the year and I am learning lots and having so much fun!

The livestock and apiculture components are my favourite courses in the program. We have pigs, chickens, ducks, two farm cats, and so many visiting dogs on the farm! I have learned practical, hands-on skills to manage and care for the animals. I’ve really enjoyed going on field trips to see all the different organic livestock operations. The animals on the farms are happy and healthy. The operations are not harmful to the environment and the farmers we met have so much integrity. Raising pastured animals and ranching is definitely something I can see myself pursuing down the road.

Before Farm School I had wanted to get into beekeeping, but was too hesitant to try it on my own. I am very happy that beekeeping is part of the curriculum. My first experience with hives was during one of the classes and it went very smoothly. The second time with the hives was a little more hectic. I got stung twice that day. First time on my pinky, and second time right on the tip of my nose! Getting stung on my finger wasn’t so bad, but my nose hurt pretty bad. On the bright side, I’m definitely not allergic to bees! I want to have my own bees in the near future. First as a hobby and maybe eventually as a business.

It’s been amazing learning about all the different crops and their varieties. I’ve enjoyed seeing the process from seeding in the beginning all the way to harvesting. Harvest day is my favourite practicum day on the farm. Learning how to harvest different crops during the season has been such a useful skill. Working in the fields has really changed the way I see food. I’d never appreciated how much time and work went into planting a single head of cabbage, or bunch of carrots.

Time has gone by so fast since Farm School started. Thinking about the end of the program makes me sad sometimes, but there’s still things I’m looking forward to. I’m excited to learn about the fall harvest crops and food preservation for the winter months. It will be satisfying to wrap up the growing season and learn about the kind of work that needs to be done in preparation for the following year. I hope we will also learn how to harvest honey and wax during our next few beekeeping classes.

I’m not sure if I am going to start my own farm business anytime soon when school is done, but I do want to be a farmer! I want to work on different farms first because there is still so much to learn. I’m hoping to use farming as a means of travelling and seeing new places for the next few years. I’m interested in possibly going to school for ranching and livestock operations when the time comes.

Me and seedlings

Recently, my sister and I were talking about school. She asked me, “What’s your end goal?” I told her I didn’t know. Not having an “end goal” to work towards would have made me nervous before, but going to farm school has changed that. Now, I think it’s okay that I don’t have everything mapped out. I am actually really excited that I have so many different opportunities and pathways I could take instead of one rigid road. I’ve learned that farming is full of surprises and unpredictable changes that happen without notice. Many farmers we have met on field trips and visits are all unanimous about one thing: You never stop learning. I hope I never stop learning new things about farming and go down every and any road that I can.

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