I’m from Nashua, New Hampshire. I recently graduated from Keene State College, where I studied Environmental Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. I am passionate about exploring the intersections of humans, animals, food, and landscapes especially minority communities and damaged ecosystems.
I chose to spend the season here at Calypso because of the wide variety of topics covered from blacksmithing and spinning, to tree grafting and soil science. No other programs offered the full breadth of what I am interested in, and none were in Alaska, a place I’ve always wanted to visit!
A few highlights: My favorite part of the program by far has been living on the farm. There is nothing quite like being able to pick your dinner straight out of the ground or watch the sunset (as much as you can) over the fields. Also, the challenges and joys of living in such a small community have been an unexpected highlight of my time here. I’ve also loved learning how to spin and letting my creativity run with all the possibilities for teas, tinctures, tonics, and ferments from all our herbs and wild plants.
How will you apply what you’ve learned this season? I plan on taking what I have learned here and, eventually, starting my own orchard focusing on teas, tinctures, fruit, mushrooms, and berries as well as to continuing to dive into animal justice and animal sanctuary work. I also plan on continuing to learn and to grow whatever food I can wherever I can until I am able to start my own farm one day.
I am from Pittsburgh, PA. I studied two and a half years of a Chemistry degree and ended up dropping out in my junior year and tried farming and I haven’t stopped since. I enjoy growing and drying herbs for tea, cooking, baking and playing the piano.
Ever since I left college and pursued farming, I have become very serious about starting my own farm, and the Farmer Training Program incorporated many of the aspects I was trying to get my hands on to be able to do so. Being able to come out of the program with a full farm plan is so vital to being able to start to bring my farm dream to reality.
A few highlights: Besides being in the field and doing the hard work which I truly enjoy, I also love being able to go to market and interact with the people buying the produce. I also am super interested in the value added products side of things so learning how to make salves, tonics, teas, ferments & preserving was super awesome. And I now have a major wool and spinning obsession ever since learning how to dye wool and spin.
How will you apply what you’ve learned this season? I will definitely be applying what I have learned here in many ways. I work on a local farm back in Pittsburgh and I have ideas that I learned here to implement there. Until I make my farm plan come true, I will be able to grow upon the lessons and skills I learned here in other farming jobs and endeavors.
I am originally from the Ithaca area of upstate New York. After graduating from Cornell University in 2010 with a degree in Applied Economics, I pursued a Fulbright Fellowship exploring agricultural finance in Mexico City, Mexico. Returning stateside in the fall of 2011, I worked in agricultural consulting and moved from Trumansburg, NY to Sedona, AZ to San Diego, CA before arriving at Calypso. I am interested in food production systems and chose to spend a summer at calypso to learn about diversified vegetable production and operating a CSA. I have had countless first-time experiences on the farm this summer from blacksmithing and spinning to kohlrabi eating and snowflakes in August, but my favorite activity has been going to the Southside Community Market every Tuesday. In addition to meeting so many fantastic people at Calypso and in the Fairbanks community, the program has prepared me to live a more self-reliant lifestyle, run a CSA, and create programs that combine community, food, and education. Upon completing the program I intend to pursue a master’s degree in agricultural economics and hope to have a career teaching about food systems while operating a farm of my own. Thank you Calypso, it has been an awesome summer!
I was born and raised in the borderlands between Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky. I received my BFA in fiber and textile art from The Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, and focus mainly on costume, puppetry and performance.
I chose to spend a season at Calypso because I wanted to reconnect with the physical world around me, live more simply, learn new skills, get my hands dirty, and have an adventure in the Far North. I wanted to become more self-sufficient in an environment where others might share similar philosophies and share their stories. I was searching for a well-rounded program that touched on everything– homesteading, animal husbandry, farm production, environmental education, and new making skills.
Three of my highlights from the season are what I’ll call the three “M’s” the making, the microbes and the magic. The making refers to all of the new creative skills I have explored here: blacksmithing, working with birch bark, wool spinning and natural dyeing. The microbes refers to an “Ah ha!” moment I had one day while watching steam come out of the manure-hay as we mucked out the barn for the compost pile. I was so in awe of the microscopic world producing all that energy, encouraging plant growth and health! The magic is in everything on the farm: feasting on luscious green vegetables that I planted as tiny seeds in the spring, watching dragonfly larvae float around the pond, and observing the perpetual cycles of life and death in a farm system.
The Calypso experience has been everything I could imagine and more. I am filled to the brim with new love, confidence, knowledge, and inspiration! The greatest thing I have learned is that I can do it! Anyone can do it!
I’m from the Twin Cities region of Minnesota. My interest in farming was first piqued while working on the campus farm at St. Olaf College, where I studied Studio Art. I’m exploring how to make a livelihood sharing food, creativity, and wellness. The individually-tailored nature of the Farmer Training Program, as well as the variety of people and activities going on at the farm, made Calypso the perfect place to pursue all my interests. I wanted to be in a hands-on learning environment, gaining the confidence and skills to grow my own food. Every day in the field is a chance to pick the brains of experienced farmers.
One highlight of the program has been the weekly integration of creative skills such as spinning, block-printing, blacksmithing, dyeing, and thrifty problem solving. Being around other people who are making things has been a great source of inspiration! This season we have also been familiarized with and forage native plants around the farm, which has changed the way I experience nature and expanded my idea of community. I love going out in the boreal forest behind the farm and noticing how things are transforming.
Immersing myself in this environment has taught me so much about growing food and leading a self-sufficient lifestyle, providing the education I had hoped for and sparking my curiosity in a host of new pursuits. The Whole Farm Plan has been an invaluable and challenging exercise, allowing me to explore how my personal mission and skills might be translated into a farm that shares fullness of life with my community. I have finished the program full of inspiration and the momentum to keep learning and moving toward a future farm!
I am your typical Midwestern Hippie from Madison, Wisconsin, just hanging outside in all conditions. My two favorite things growing up were food and movement. After high school, societal pressure brought me to UW-Milwaukee, where I spewed out familiar information while breaking through my pocket book. Those years also introduced me to large scale food injustice that I had never witnessed. Without much progress in my studies or personal direction, I proceeded to drop out, ride my bicycle, and work on organic farms in the Wisconsin/Minnesota area. I began working for Whole Foods, and got an insight into food production and sales on a larger scale. A few years later, a Permaculture Design Course connected me with other like-minded folks, leading me to the program at Calypso. I could not have made a better decision.
Why did you choose Calypso’s Farmer Training Program? Uhhhh why not spend a season here? I have learned new skills, brought back old ones, and discovered some I will never do again (Darning).
A few highlights: The biggest highlight all year has been the weather. The speed at which life exchanges energy can only be witnessed through working outside. In addition, the amount of genuine people that have shared their skills with us has been a blessing. Every day is LITERALLY something new with someone new to meet. There are no dull days around here.
How will you apply what you’ve learned this season? I plan on applying these skills for the rest of my life. My goal since I was a teenager has been to own and share a piece of land. I am unable to confirm the degree of “farming” that will consist of. However, I will be doing my best to leave this world with more life than which I took.
Where are you from? Originally from Delaware, but now I live in Bar
What drew you to the Farmer Training Program at Calypso? I wanted to come learn how to farm, how to use power tools, to learn about basic construction, blacksmithing, and in general, just other life skills that I’ve never had the opportunity or resources to learn about. I was also interested in the farm planning aspect, and being able to learn how to set up a business plan that I can take back home and actually put it into action has been life changing.
Hello, I am a creator from the Big Island of Hawaii. I recently graduated from UH Hilo with a B.S. in Tropical Horticulture and certificates in beekeeping and plant tissue culture. I love to surf, all thing ocean-related, warm & humid climates, soil science, plant physiology, being inspired by and feeling deeply part of nature, good food and growing it too!
I came to Calypso to challenge myself and to force growth by getting a little uncomfortable. I think it’s working. Despite growing up on a coffee farm, I know very little about growing food and farm planning, and my university lacked a hands-on approach to farming. I came here to get my hands really dirty!
A few highlights: Finally seeing the seasons change and the garden pop into existence was a phenomenal sight! It’s inspiring to think about how that pop of growth is possible within us every year, week, hour, and second of our lives. I am stoked to have learned so many new homesteading and farm activities: Birch bark weaving, massive seed plantings & transplanting, harvesting crops, drying herbs, making tonics, and mucking the barn! It’s difficult to whittle it down, but I am still crocheting a hat, so maybe that’s my favorite thing so far.
How will you apply what you’ve learned this season? I plan to move to California to build a microgreens & vermiculture business, based on the farming and business planning knowledge I gained here. I want to make positive change by teaching people about the wonders of plant and soil processes, so often overlooked. In time, I will return to Hawaii to diversify the coffee orchard through responsible resource management and a CSA. I aim to feed as many people as I can from a source of well-meaning, and what I learned here will surely be applied for the rest of my life.
What drew you to the Farmer Training Program at Calypso? I’m from Anchorage, Alaska. I initially found out about the Farmer Training Program a few years ago while researching farm apprenticeships Alaska. Calypso seemed like they had something unique to offer and I really resonated with the style of farming they practice here. The diversity of the farm, the focus on individualized learning as well as the whole farm planning exercises were especially attractive to me. Tom, Susan and Christie have all been incredibly generous with their time and have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share.
What do you look forward to this season? I really enjoy being outside and working with my hands, especially on sunny days! I find a lot of joy in working with plants and the opportunity to observe them throughout their life cycle. I’m looking forward to learning more about how to run my own farm, ecology, community, earth skills and self sufficiency.
I am a native Fairbanksan, graduated in the spring and will be going to the University of Alaska, Fairbanks next year. Earning 6 college credits and being able to start my own business, or be a MVP in future farm jobs, sounded like a great way to spend a summer. The killer leg muscles from hiking up and down the hill each day was also an added bonus.
A few highlights: Being a “bad” Alaskan, I thoroughly enjoyed finally learning chainsaw basics. In between the long work day and laborious activities, it was a great relief to have such practical, but seemingly unrelated (but actually relatable) activities such as knitting, crocheting, and sewing. The ultimate highlight is of course, the impromptu musical outbursts that occur every Tuesday and Thursday in the washing station for harvest days.
How will you apply what you’ve learned this season? I’d like to live in a farmstead-commune society where there are families that are specialized i.e.: gardeners, beekeepers, bakers, herders, builders, etc. I’d be the goat gal, providing fresh milk and dairy products from the happy goats on my small scale creamery. A bit dreamy? Absolutely.
I consider Michigan, Bolivia and Yosemite home, and have a background in Sociology and coffee roasting. I chose to spend a season in Calypso’s Farmer Training Program as I thought it’d push me to grow in my understanding of raising one’s own food, and living more simply and resourcefully, but while also living abundantly.
Three highlights: 1.) That Which is Wood-Fired: There isn’t much that’s more satisfying than brick-oven baked pizzas after mornings in the fields, washing off and relaxing in the sauna, or spinning skeins of wool in the fiber studio as it rains outside and the wood stove blazes. 2.) The complementary privileges of living alongside and working with such talented individuals, and having access to quiet, peaceful walks alone in the boreal forest. 3.) The satisfaction and empowerment that comes from finding things that you doubtfully put into the ground to have grown as you hadn’t imagined possible, and to be very good.
Impact of the Program: I feel that I am much better prepared to grow my own food, farm on my own and implement various techniques of living more sustainably in my own life. The hands-on experiences and introductions to myriad skills has been just as helpful in allowing me to cull areas that I consider less important to focus on, as it has been in introducing me to new ideas and practices. I’m also thankful to have experienced a season of the Alaskan lifestyle, and despite distance, will always feel a certain camaraderie as I go barefoot further into the season than is considered reasonable by those in “America”.