Where did all the interns go?

It’s that time of year again. Time to say goodbye to the interns as they head back to school. We had a good season, the garden was more productive and less weedy than last year, thanks to all the hours spent mulching by the interns! Although the interns have gone, the vegetables, market and heat continue, making this time of year my least favorite. But rather than whine about the fall planting that needs to be done, the residue that needs to be composted, the trellising that needs to be taken down and the cover crops that need to be sown all at the end of a busy season, I would rather take this time to pay homage to the interns of 2011.

Let’s do alphabetical order, starting with Kathryn Allen.

Kathryn is a soil science major, and that’s always cool. Additionally, Kathryn is a natural at field work. She’s quick and efficient, and I never heard her once complain about the heat and the stresses of manual labor. She never even complained about fish emulsion duties! Kathryn always cared about where our excess produce ended up, and took it upon herself to make special trips to KARM to deliver unsold produce to make sure there was no veggie left uneaten. She was also quite good at making delicious basil syrup drinks for our farm potlucks. And her lavender shortbread was amazing. Hats off to you, Kathryn!


Now onto Kirsten Eisele.

Kirsten is an enthusiastic gardener in every sense. On her breaks she could be found with her nose buried in a gardening book and was full of tips and tricks to improve our production. Kirsten was also devoted to volunteering and had a very busy summer! She volunteered at Beardsley Community Gardens and for Food in the Fort, and at the Wisner’s Farm in Dandridge, TN. She left the farm in late July to move back to Alabama to start her own operation. Best of luck to you, Kirsten!


A huge thanks to Tiffany Morrison.

Tiffany is best known as the “safety lady” in the Institute of Agriculture, but we learned more about her through her volunteering at the farm and participation in the internship program. Tiffany is interested in learning more about sustainable agriculture, community gardening and the local food movement, so sacrificed her precious time to help us out with harvesting, planting, weeding or whatever needed done. She was most valued for throwing herself into any task and completing it well. My best time with Tiffany was planting potatoes, when she was patient with me as I corrected my (multiple) crooked rows! Tiffany also took great photos of the farm and helped set up a community garden at her child’s daycare. Thanks Tiffany and good luck in Austin!


Here’s a bit about Liz Newnam.

Liz studies in the Food Science program here at UT, and was great at knowing when to pick produce at it’s peak! Liz was also our marketer extraordinaire. A contributing cartoonist for the Daily Beacon, Liz was adept at coming up with the perfect pun for our market sandwich board. Since she’s left, we don’t even try anymore! A people person and a natural saleswoman, Liz really shone at our markets. She was also excellent at keeping our farm log book up to date. Come visit us again, Liz!


Last but not least, Ann Ramsey.

I’m not really saying goodbye to Ann, as she has decided to stay with us for awhile (yay!) Ann is an anthropology graduate student, and came into our program with a well-needed perspective on the importance of the social aspects of organic farming and sustainability. When I think of Ann over the summer, I think of her harvesting. Ann was queen of the packing house. She was quick and skilled at sorting, bunching, washing, packing and recording our market inventory. Not to say Ann didn’t put her time into the field. She’s planted, weeded and mulched her fair share, for sure. Ann is also quite good at the market, chatting it up with all the customers, and even remembering them when they return! (Something I’m not as good at, myself!) Glad you’re staying with us, Ann!

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our other support this summer, from Andrea Menendez and Alex Mindermann. Andrea was our “water quality gal” who would also help us at the market and in the gardens in a pinch. Andrea was always trustworthy and reliable, and a pleasure to work with. We hope she comes back next summer! Alex spent his third summer with us at the organic farm and was indispensable for helping me with my biopesticide research. Alex is a detail-oriented, thoughtful worker who is an asset in the field. Good luck on tour, Alex, and congratulations on your graduation!

I’ll close this homage on Daniel Priddy, who was my right-hand man and intern coordinator this year. Daniel basically planted the spring garden on his own (with some assistance from me) and was instrumental in the success of the program this year. Daniel is one of those rare breeds of generalist student workers, in that he excels at most everything we ask of him, and always does it with positive attitude. He’s pretty much an all-around awesome guy, and we are glad he’s staying with us again!

Interns, thanks for the great 2011 season! We miss you already!



Kirsten, Daniel and Liz

Ann, Kathryn and Tiffany