Sunday, January 20, 2013


I first heard of Jubilee Farm from my friend Lindsay, when she joined their CSA workshare program.  She invited us to pick up their share while they were on vacation and we enjoyed a day on this beautiful property picking beans, raspberries and flowers to round out the standard box of produce we picked up.  There was so much bounty!!  This was the first time I had ever heard of working on a farm to 'earn' your veggies and in payment for your sweat equity you received a box of delectable produce.  I was entranced!  Our next visit to Jubilee was several months later for the October festival which included a trebuchet slinging pumpkins, roasted corn on the cob, planting seeds, a hayride out to the pumpkin patch and choosing a pumpkin.  We had a blast!

Tim and Lindsay moved back to Canada, I started grad school and then I returned to Jubilee Farm and finally met Erick Haakenson to plead my case of becoming an intern at Jubilee Farm for spring quarter 2012.  I wanted to learn about the intricacies of farming and have the opportunity to remove my 'rose-colored glasses' when it came to my ideals of farming, food and education.  Boy were my glasses removed!!  I ventured out to Jubilee several times during the winter to help out around the farm and acquaint myself with the 'lay-of-the-land'.  I ended up primarily helping with the cows in the barn - spreading straw/hay to build up their bedding, cleaning up in the barn, separating cows/calves and doing some apple tree pruning in the Espalier fashion.  Once spring quarter started I was out at Jubilee once a week - weeding, field planting, transplanting, moving cows, feeding cows, bedding cows in the barn, seed planting in trays, feeding the animals (pigs, ducks, chickens, sheep), pruning grapes and apples, packing CSA boxes, recovering greenhouses, cleaning out the barn and readying it for market to start,  and so much more.  It was exhausting, frustrating, rewarding, challenging and a truly educating experience.

I have the greatest admiration for the work that Erick, Wendy and David are doing at Jubilee Farm.  Their passion for the environment, farmland and farming is inspiring; however, I do have several critiques.  I did not feel that I learned as much about biodynamic farming methods as I thought I would; I felt at times like a laborer with no reward beyond being allowed to conduct an internship at Jubilee; at times the treatment of the people working at Jubilee was not fantastic and I definitely felt a generalized exclusion based on the fact I was only at the farm one day per week and perhaps my enthusiasm was viewed as naivete' with a desire to merely be out on the land to dirty my hands a bit without a deeper view of the complexities of farming.

That being said, so much came from my experience at Jubilee and I learned a tremendous amount about the incredible challenges and rewards of farming.  Through Erick and Wendy I gained a greater understanding of the importance of 'circular' farming, of returning to the earth more than what we take and the intricacies of how the land, plants and animals work together; I was able to participate in a wonderful spring festival; I learned of the Waldorf School and most importantly, I met Sarah Cassidy and was introduced to Oxbow Farm.  I do not regret my time at Jubilee and still think of my time there fondly and most importantly, my rose colored glasses were removed and I was able to begin digging deeper into the meat of farming, the food movement and the work I hope to be a part of.

"Listen to Erick and Wendy discuss the major changes in how we grow and distribute food with CSA biodynamic farming. "The Growing Revolution" is the story of Jubilee Biodynamic Farm in Carnation, Washington. It explores the farm's history, the growth of its CSA and Erick and Wendy Haakenson's passionate commitment to what Wendell Berry calls the agrarian mindset." (retrieved from

No comments:

Post a Comment