On my first day at Island Farm, I had no idea what to expect. I am a junior majoring in Environmental Science and Geography, with varied passions. My interests are in fashion, sustainability, and agriculture- and I hoped that I would be able to learn more about at least some of these during my internship. This past semester I have been able to explore these interests and more during my time at the Island Farm under Ann Daisey. My role as an intern was to help with archiving and record keeping, community engagement, assist with daily tasks, and gain a holistic understanding of Island Farm and history on Roanoke Island.
Island Farm is a real living history farm recreating life from the 1800s in Roanoke Island. This is done through interpreters, programming, workshops, and self guided tours at the farm. The property was restored by the Outer Banks Conservationists, and serves as a center for community engagement and provides hands-on learning. There is plenty of land, with chickens, cows, and even a windmill!
A picture of the Etheridge house and kitchen garden at the Island Farm.
Thanks to the property being outdoors, I was able to have an in person internship experience at the farm following social distancing guidelines. Every day of my internship was different, and I never knew what to expect. Some days I would be helping with creating promotional materials for the farm, other days I would be helping in the garden. My tasks centered around helping out with activities at the farm, making engagement materials, and archiving and record keeping.
Another activity I helped out with was the annual pumpkin patch. Every Saturday, there was a pumpkin patch where there were different vendors, activities, and of course pumpkins for sale. I helped out with the weaving station, where we upcycled fabric scraps to create a community tapestry. It was really cool to interact with all sorts of people and teach people (old and young) to weave. It was a great example of upcycling and using scraps to make something great!
Weaving station at the annual pumpkin patch
I have learned a lot during my internship over the semester! Throughout the semester and touring the farm many times, I have learned a lot about the Etheridge family (the family owning the property Island Farm is on) and more about North Carolinian history. One aspect I have really liked was learning more about farming. I have learned about different crops native to the area and different gardening techniques. Another part of the internship I have really liked has been learning more about community engagement. It has been really interesting to see how Island Farm has stayed connected with the public despite COVID-19 restrictions through social media and socially distanced events. An example has been how members of the community have gotten seedlings of Hayman sweet potatoes, and people have interacted on social media to keep up with the growing. In addition, I have really liked creating tools such as virtual tours and scavenger bingo sheets for prospective visitors of the farm. I have liked the creativity and flexibility in my internship.
Additionally, I have definitely learned more about what I want to do in the future. I have really enjoyed the hands-on experience I’ve had at Island Farm, and see a future in working at a nonprofit or an organization centering around sustainability and community engagement! I also see how much I value variety in my work life, which is important as I think about what is next for me.
I am so grateful to Island Farm for an amazing internship experience and will take all the lessons I learn for my future.
-Janis Arrojado, class of 2022