Congratulations to our 2020 New Farmer Academy graduates: Becca, Maddie, and India!

2020 was a year of tremendous growth for our beginning farmer internship program, as well as for our interns. Happily, all three of them are planning to return to Countryside next season to continue developing the skills they need for a successful career in agriculture. We can’t wait to see them again in the spring.

In the meantime, we have three new farm cats to keep me company this winter. Meet Lady Calabaza, Baby Biscuit, and Murasaki!

What’s it like to participate in Countryside’s New Farmer Academy? Here’s what our 2020 interns had to say:

“We’ve had hands in the dirt, seeds in the soil, and a ton of learning (and laughs) along the way! The Beginning Farmer Internship has truly been not only one of the most purposeful experiences in my life, but the thing that has gotten me through the year 2020. The camaraderie between Ginnette, myself, India, and Maddie has been the highlight of the experience — connections are so important!


From trainings to on-the-farm labor and seed starting to harvest, I feel motivated to start my very own take on intentional agriculture… right after I save up some money, honey. Looking forward to another year of learning, camaraderie, and skill building!”


— Becca

“The New Farmer Academy has taught me many valuable lessons both personal and practical. There were so many aspects of this internship that I enjoyed it is hard to keep it concise.


One of my favorite parts of this internship is how we were able to pursue our own specific interests and passions within the field of agriculture. Through our classroom sessions I have really taken an interest is soil science and the impact that soil health has on the crops we grow. Therefore I was given an opportunity to expand my understanding within that subject. After learning several basic ways to test soil and analyze the results I was able to apply what I had learned by going to several Countryside Initiative farms to both sample and test the soil at different sites. I was also able to experiment with cover crops on Old Trail Farm in order to increase the organic matter of the soil. These projects not only increased my knowledge, but also invigorated my passion for the study of soil. I hope to continue learning more as there is an endless amount of knowledge concerning the biological and chemical composition of soil. Therefore, I will be going on to study such at Prescott College this coming spring semester.


Next season I hope to return as a second year intern and be assigned to a mentor farm. I would like to shift my focus to learn how to raise livestock and specifically sheep husbandry.


Overall I could not have asked for a better growing season and this is most definitely an experience that I will always remember.”


— India

“Now that I am drawing to an end with the Countryside New Farmer Academy I have found some clarity in the path I would like to pursue. From my experiences of working with farm animals such as hogs, chickens, and ducks, it is fascinating to see the holistic value they bring to the land and my life. The ability to nourish the land and our bodies are two completely interrelated aspects that aid in ecosystem diversity, overall well being, and social change. I hope to further expand and help others to reclaim the land where they are with the ability to grow nourishing foods in a  manner that promotes the well being of diverse networks of ecosystems as well as our own.


At the end of the year  will be starting a full time position at another farm called Purple Skies. I look forward to entering part 3 of the internship journey next year!”


— Maddie

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