Sunday, May 10, 2015

Clark Fork Organics Internship by Matthew Freeman

Are you sure you want to shut down your computer now?  The window on my screen prompts me to click proceed or cancel.  I look out the window, the sun is out, and big sky country is living up to its name. It’s 11am on an April afternoon and already starting to get hot outside. I choose to proceed. My computer checks and double checks that it’s closed every vital application, then the screen goes dark with an audible click. I feel the invisible tethers of modern life loosen. I check my pockets: wallet, keys, pocketknife, pen, chap stick, but no phone. Perfect.
I head outside, strap on my helmet, hop on my bicycle, and hit the river trail. It’s a five-mile bike ride from my apartment to Clark Fork Organics (CFO) , the perfect distance to shake off any trailing anxieties or lingering feelings of obligation associated with student life. Clear of those negativities, I fill myself with excitement at the knowledge that I get to spend the whole afternoon playing under the sun in the dirt.

By playing, I mean working, but the difference is not always clear to me at CFO. When I show up I take time to look at all the different seeds I planted, it’s absolutely amazing how fast they can grow in a week. Because it’s early in the season, much of my time at CFO has been spent in one of the larger greenhouses planting seeds or transferring starts to larger trays. The last time I was out there, though, we started planting starts into the fields.
Out at CFO I find myself in a state of relaxation, despite the heat and the gentle pressure to plant quickly and precisely. I signed up for Wilderness and Civilization for a brief escape from the screen wielding masses in my Media Arts classes, and being out at CFO has solidified my stance. On a personal scale, I’ve realized the importance of connecting yourself to something bigger.

Spending time planting and nurturing things has helped me develop a greater respect for the vegetables I pick up at Orange Street Food Farm every week. I believe everyone should spend time volunteering or working on a farm, developing a closer connection to their food and their earth. I’ve gained a lot of perspective at CFO, as well as a personal sense of accomplishment and happiness. I look forward to volunteering at the P.E.A.S. Farm this summer and continuing my agricultural learning far into the future.

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