Monday, June 6, 2011

Meet Our Farmers-- Nina Berryman

Our farming team at Henry Got Crops grows and shrinks with the change of the season. At this point, there is only one year-round employee, myself, the farm manager. I hope to one day soon make our seasonal Education Coordinator year-round to work with students throughout the entire school year. We also have a full time, seasonal apprentice, a full time, summer intern, and part time, summer students who make up the team. Then of course, during the school year we have about 6 classes from Saul who work and learn on the farm on either a weekly or biweekly basis. For the next few weeks a member of our team will be profiled in the newsletter. I grew up in the woods of Vermont, surrounded by fantastic examples or sustainable agriculture. Of course, while living in Vermont I never once thought about agriculture as a career choice, and it took moving away from Vermont, to the Canadian city of Montreal where I went to University, to realize that I wanted to be a farmer. After studying Environmental Studies and Geography at McGill University, I moved to British Columbia to attend an 8 -month, ecological gardening program. Here I lived on a very remote island, on a farm, learning hands-on the basic principles and practices of sustainable agriculture. While I loved the rural countryside of both Vermont and British Columbia, I was drawn to the challenges and creativities of urban farming. At that point the idea of growing food in the city on a scale that was larger than a community garden was new to me, and I thought new to our society. I was excited by the innovation involved. While this excitement has not worn off, I have since learned that the idea of growing food in cities is as old as cities themselves. Determined to gain experience in urban farming, I started searching for urban agricultural opportunities, back on the east coast. A few google searches later I found Weavers Way and applied for one of the apprentice positions on the farm. That was 2008 and the first year Weavers Way Farm offered an apprenticeship. At the end of the season our farming team at the time decided the farm was ready for an expansion and myself and the other apprentice, Nicole, started Henry Got Crops, turning Weavers Way Farm into Weavers Way FarmS. Nicole and I co-managed for two years, and this is my first season solo-managing at Henry Got Crops. Nicole is back at the original Weavers Way Farm site, where we apprenticed, which is officially named the Mort Brooks Memorial Farm. I’m certainly not on my own this year though, thank goodness! You can read more about the rest of the team next week!

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