Many small-scale farms, especially organic ones and even more especially
those growing vegetable and fruit crops, use summer apprentices or interns
as part or all of their outside labor force. The interns, typically college
students or new grads, work and learn on the farm in return for housing
(usually rustic) and a stipend (usually low).
More often than not, it's a satisfactory arrangement for both grower and
intern. We've hosted more than 30 summer interns at our farm, some of whom
returned for a second and even a third year. But I often wondered what
would happen if someone decided that our summer interns had to be managed
like migrant farmworkers. I knew that the housing wouldn't pass muster
(heck, my own house wouldn't pass muster!).
Last year, good friends of mine in Maryland found out what would happen. As
a result, Martha Daughdrill and Paul Benton of Newburg Vegetable Farm in
Newburg, MD, aren't farming anymore. They've written about the experience
for Growing for Market, a newsletter for market gardeners published by
Fairplain Publications in Lawrence, KS.
Lynn Byczynski, editor and publisher, has given me permission to post their
article on my farm's Web site. It's at <www.flickerville.com/Migrants.htm>.
Flickerville Mountain Farm & Groundhog Ranch
Specialty Produce and Flowers
Nothing is easy. The best is worth the effort.
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