Melanie Long – Intern at Grow Dat Youth Farm
3-Course Interview with Ian McNulty of The Gambit
What did you think about farming when you first started here?
Long: I was miserable. It was horrible. It was dirty, and I had to clip my fingernails because of all the dirt getting under them. But after a while, I’d be out here early on those Saturday mornings seeing the sun rise and seeing the cypress trees glowing, and you remember that you have this sense of purpose, that you’re part of something bigger than yourself. It’s giving back to the community but in a different way than normal community service. What would any society be without food?
What have you learned here beyond food and farming?
Long: I’ve become a lot more self-directed and learned how to push through something tough. At school, I had a really hard physics class, and I thought I’d have to go to summer school for the first time because of it. But I got up early to work on it, got extra help and I passed. I was used to getting up early and working through things anyway because of the farm. If it was a year earlier, I probably would have just slacked off.
What’s it like providing others with food you helped produce?
Long: It’s gratifying to see it being used and being appreciated. I usually give (produce) to my grandma, and then I’ll go over to see her the next day and it’s all in this soup on the table and it turns out really good. That’s the fruit of your labors, literally.