Annie Arbuthnot '12

MHC Student Garden
Major
: biology Minor: French

This past summer, I spent eleven weeks living on campus and interning at the MHC Student Garden.  The Pioneer Valley is beautiful in the summertime, and it was wonderful to be outside working with my hands growing, harvesting, and selling the garden's organic food.  I spread compost, mixed organic fertilizer, propagated seeds in the MHC Greenhouse, transplanted and direct-seeded plants in the garden, started an herb garden, harvested, and sold food to the MHC Dining Services as well as to locals at the South Hadley Summer Market.  The internship also includes a research component, and I chose to study garden ecology.  I wrote a collection of garden-inspired poetry meant to explain interactions between plants and pests, as well as those between pests and pesticides.

Some of the most rewarding experiences I had this summer were the connections I was able to make with members of Dining Services, folks at the South Hadley Market, and local area farmers. As part of the internship, I volunteered at multiple farms in the Pioneer Valley, and went on tours of even more.  I also toured local food production operations, including dairy's, breweries, and creameries.  It was fascinating to see the scale to which small farmers in the Pioneer Valley were producing delicious local foods.  Another great perk to the internship was going to the annual NOFA conference where I was able to attend a wide array of workshops about organic farming in the Northeast.

I currently work as a Garden Manager for the Student Garden.  This fall I helped organize the annual Fall Harvest Festival by planning various garden-related activities and bringing in musicians to perform in the garden.  After the harvest, we planted winter rye to protect the soil for the next growing season.  I strongly encourage anyone who is interested in gardening to apply for this position.  I had a great summer living in South Hadley and volunteering in the Valley, all the while being totally immersed in the gardening lifestyle.