Fields of Farmers | Especially for Interns Part 2


It’s all about the spirit of the intern.

This chapter is specifically address to the intern.

Cover--Fields of Farmers

Joel writes:

I liken internships to immersion experiences. It’s like a baptism. You’re completely overwhelmed. You’ve got a new living situation, new work situation, new learning situation, new food value situation. That’s a lot of newness to absorb all at once. On the human stress curve, this is an off-the-charts spike…

Internships are everything new. All that you have known before is tossed out and you start a fresh. But it isn’t always that easy, is it? You come to the table, uh, farm rather, with your own conceptions and ideas. You have to be willing to toss out those “perfect” ideas and become immersed in the farm where you are interning.

Jump in. It’s all about immersion. To keep the analogy alive, don’t circle the pool like a finicky child, dipping your toe in to see if the water is too cold. If you’ve been picked as an intern, all the circling was finished when you said, “Yes!”. Now it’s time to jump in, full body, completely committed. You’ll make a bigger splash that way, and hte mentor will love you for it.

When we do our two-day checkouts with interns every year, it is sometimes very easy to pick out the person who is going to be willing to jump in with both feet. Their enthusiasm is contagious.

Joel tells the story of one particular intern checkout.

Somehow, the information about his train arrival was missed and we weren’t at the Staunton station to pick him up. Instead of sitting there waiting on us for hours and hours (he had no cell phone), he started walking. I remember this like it was only yesterday, we were all out in the backyard having a cookout and this young man walks around the corner of the house, “Hi, I’m ‘Johnny’.” We all looked at each other with a horrified expression. Oh no!

But Johnny was happy as could be. He walked 8 miles from the train station and never once held it over our heads about the miscommunication. This is the spirit we look far. The willingness to go above and beyond, roll with the punches and be a team player no matter what comes.

You can learn something from anyone. They may be the strangest person you’ve ever met, but I’ll bet they have something to teach you. They might even be a horrible teacher, but if you’re willing to LISTEN with an open heart, I’ll bet you’ll learn more than you ever thought possible.

Spirit. It’s all about the openness, willingness, fresh look. Spirit.

So before you apply for an internship anywhere, ask yourself:

Am I open to learning from this person even if I don’t like them? Even if I don’t agree with everything they do? Can I commit myself to “doing it their way” for the season? To really search and understand the why and not just the how?

If you can approach your internship with this attitude, you will go far. Much farther than you’ve ever imagined possible.

For discussion, can you name one thing that you learned from someone who you never expected to learn from?

What made you open to listening to them? What originally turned you off from them?

Has this lesson carried into any other areas of your life?

If you’re just tuning in, here’s what we’ve covered so far:

If you’re just visiting today, you can buy Fields of Farmers from Polyface here or Amazon here.

See you next time!

Happy Friday!

2006 LANDSCAPE-001

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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.
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2 Responses to Fields of Farmers | Especially for Interns Part 2

  1. Kristin says:

    Observation is really key for me. After being around people, it’s really neat to go back in my memory and see what it was I noticed about particular people and what I can learn from them. I’m sure this happens a lot at Polyface. This post was inspiring!

  2. Pingback: Fields of Farmers | How It Works – Vetting and Selecting | Polyface Hen House