Now to introduce you to the Polyface Real Farm Experience Team. First, let me explain how this program works. We accept 6 individuals per season and they make a commitment to be with us from June 1st to September 30th. They work with us 5 days per week and take turns working one weekend per month.
They learn and do everything that we do. The slogan for this experience is "Spend a summer with us and leave years ahead" and it's true. Mostly we focus on the broilers with this group. They learn everything from staring the chicks, to building the pens, to processing the finished broiler and marketing to the customer. However, they do learn snatches of cow moves, pig operation, turkeys, rabbits, gardening and everything else that goes on around here.
For food: We provide meat out of the Polyface supply for their meals and once per week (usually it's been Saturday evenings) we grill out with everyone together. Right now they are taking turns one night per week eating dinner with the Salatin families - either at Joel & Teresa's or at Daniel & Sheri's, depending on where the apprentices and Matt are that evening).
This year we have 4 guys and 2 girls. This is the first year that we have been able to have girls - mostly do to lack of adequate housing in the past. This year we were able to secure an apartment in Middlebrook (about 5 minutes away) for the girls to stay in. The guys stay in a mobile-classroom-turned-bunkhouse which we all call "the Roost", complete with a small kitchen, bathroom and bunk beds.
Now to introduce the girls:
(Picture - Cutting up broilers - Katrina on the left, Amanda on the right)
Amanda Henderson is from Detroit area, Michigan. Before she came here, she was in the peace corps for 2 1/2 years working on a rural well drilling project in Bolivia. She came to us looking for a career change. When I asked her what her favorite job is here at the farm, she said that she loves it all. She likes the different variety of jobs that Polyface has to offer.
Katrina Fowler comes from Dallas, Texas. She just graduated from NYU with a degree in Nutrition. She loves to bake and read for fun. And the only job that she doesn't like here at the farm is cleaning the broiler totes after processing. :o)