Interview with Jonathan Kilpatrick – Polyface Summer Intern 2013

Today marks week number three for the Polyface summer interns. So far, the interns have experienced only a small sliver of what the summer will hold.

Summer 13 002-001a

Back Row: Dakota, Jubilee, Hannah, John, Michael ~ Front Row: Miriam, Jonathan

I’m excited to introduce you to Jonathan Kilpatrick. At 22, Jonathan hails from Middle Granville, New York. He is the third born of three sisters and three brothers.

Summer 13 003-001aJonathan, how did you find out about Polyface?

I first read about Polyface in the Smithsonian Magazine in ’01, then got Joel’s books after that as they came off the press. I’ve always loved animals so it was natural for me to continue to seek out farming material. I subscribed to the Stockman Grass Farmer and always read Joel’s columns first before diving into the rest of the magazine. In 2005, I came to Polyface’s Field Day. I actually applied for the summer internship program twice. I got in the second time.

What marked the first moment or experience when you knew you wanted to farm?

There are several, but this one is probably the most memorable. I got my first chickens when I was eleven. I only had 5 of them, but I remember being very excited when I got my first eggs. Growing up in a farming family also helped to encourage my interest.

What is the one thing that most people wouldn’t know about you when they first meet you?

I’m a perfectionist, which makes it really hard to be a farmer. I drive my brother Michael {intern 2012} crazy. He likes to just get things done. I like seeing vegetables in straight rows and all the farm equipment parked neatly at the end of the day. I like seeing everything nice and neat and orderly. I’m a perfectionist, but some things don’t matter.

Which animal is the most like you and why?

Squirrel, because they don’t stay in one place very long and they climb trees. My friends call me a squirrel.


What piece of advice would you give to a young person wanting to farm?

Start small, but dream big. because you can do a lot with a little. We started with just a few perennial beds and then used the profit from that year to build another one and then a hoop house after that. Don’t go into debt. Avoid it.

What great advice! Thank you for sharing, Jonathan.

Hen House Readers, do you have anything you want to pass onto Jonathan?

Happy Friday!

I’ll see you all next week with another interview from a Polyface Intern. Do you have any specific question you would like asked?


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About Sheri Salatin

Sheri is married to Daniel Salatin. She is the marketing director at Polyface Farm and stay-at-home mom of three children. Sheri is passionate about clean food and is enjoying working the land along side her husband. When not farming, Sheri can be found reading, writing, sewing, baking and serving in her church family.

6 Responses to Interview with Jonathan Kilpatrick – Polyface Summer Intern 2013

  1. paula says:

    hi , the question I would like to ask is. what advice would you give to someone interested in farming who grew up in a nonfarming suburban area ?

  2. Cyndi Lewis says:

    I would like to know what they hope to do after their internship, specifically… not just “farm”.

  3. Great interview! I love how homey and personal everyone on your farm relates to the public…yet with internet it reaches the nation. You folks are doing so much to promote local family farms all over,as well as responsible organic livestock raising. The seeds planted are inspiring many others to start small and grow/buy local. I recently traveled from Fl. where local coops are starting, to Pa., where i have now met a new young person starting a small forest farmstead, and trying to get a permaculture course in at the college. I, at being retired , am introducing sheet mulch gardening, to this area.

  4. Carol says:

    You are a wise young man! Doing what you love can be difficult sometimes…but well worth it. Staying debt-free is the way to go. Have a fantastic summer! I hope you are journaling…you will be glad you did 🙂

  5. Melissa from MA says:

    You drove our lunatic tractor Tuesday – it was good to meet you. At 56, I feel as inspired as you! Starting small is the way to go when you go off on your own. Then hopefully, like me, your mistakes/learning opportunities, like mine will be small/many!

  6. joann loirng says:

    had the pleasure to having lunch with Jonathan and Michael at gypsy hill park this afternoon..when I set down I said to my self..these a Midwestern farm boys..i was was from Wisconsin and one from upstate new York..folks just want to say two of the most polite informed young men I have met in was a treat for this an old woman…most young men will not take the time to talk to a woman old enough to be their grandmother..meeting these young men gave me hope for the future..want to add the chicken was out of this world..think it was the best I have ever eaten..the chef said first you most start out with good chicken..and yes it was polyface farms.