I met Mariah, one of the new interns, the other morning. While she was helping Catherine in the kitchen, I had a chance to ask her how she was liking the internship so far and she said she was loving it! She googled her way to Keipos by searching ‘permaculture’. She loves food (like, a lot!) and wanted to figure out ways to merge that love with design. Mariah studies design at Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio, so you can see where she got this design + food idea! Many other internship opportunities were presented to her, but she decided to come home to Omaha for the summer and work on the farm instead.
When I asked her what she has learned so far, she said she’s learning just how much her body can take. “Some days,” she said, “you feel so defeated and broken.” In her personal blog, she states that “farming is abuse”. Yet she loves this type of work - she feels challenged and is doing something important, something larger than herself. It feeds her soul.
One of the hardest things for Mariah so far has been learning that she can’t be good at everything. She has always been a hard worker, but on the farm one has to have certain skills to perform certain tasks. It’s hard not being physically strong and feeling like she sometimes get in the way of others but she thinks her confidence (and strength!) will grow over the internship. One of the most fulfilling things for her is knowing that she is a part of the process that brings food to people’s tables. She feels a call to grow food for others and she is fulfilling that dream (short term) this summer and couldn’t be happier about it!
Mariah is only ⅓ of the way through the internship but is already dreaming about how to use the information she is learning on the farm. Hoping to use her design skills, she wants to make products that correspond directly with the best farming practices. She would like to do that either directly with farming equipment or more on the consumer side, with products and appliances helping people in the post-harvest areas of cooking and preservation. She is really interested in the new vertical farming craze going on all over the world - mostly because it’s not organic! These systems don’t use soil (along with other requirements that make it organic) but otherwise, it’s a great idea for growing food and feeding the world. Mariah has dreams of designing a system of sustainable agriculture that can be urbanized. Farmer Jon once said that all of Omaha could be fed with the abandoned lots around the city, and that inspired her!
It’s clear that Mariah is a hard worker inspired by the environment around her. The internship has already taught her so much in 4 short weeks...I can’t wait to get to know her more around the farm and through Keipos events.