My name is Katherine and I’ve been a volunteer here at Possum Tail Farm for the last couple weeks. My time here has been nothing short of great, the farm- and the Kahly’s- have challenged me and made me a stronger person in all the right ways. As a food policy major, I’ve spent countless hours in the classroom discussing the efficacy of various policy interventions to craft a more resilient food system, but I always felt that there’s no way to truly understand these food policies without a firm basis in on-the-ground agriculture. Although I worked on a dairy farm last year, it was nowhere near as intensive or informative as my time as Possum Tail has been.
A large factor in that has been how immersive my experience here has been, I think I’ve learned more from dinner table conversations about ethics, politics, and ecology from experienced farmers than I have listening to lectures in class. I don’t mean to discount my very informative (and expensive - don’t remind me) education, but one of my biggest issues with studying policy is the discrepancy between policymakers and those who are affected by their decisions. In a sense, working on a farm, walking the walk if you will, has helped close that gap in the way I view our food system.
A believer in the organic, sustainable agriculture movement already, I think that Possum Tail Farm has been a great fit for me, seeing how my lofty ideals fit into practice. An incubator of progressive food ideas, the farm has shown me a multifaceted view of what our food system can- and should- look like.
Beyond the intellectual and educational benefits I’ve gotten from working here- AKA my excuse to my parents to run off to West for the summer- I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Kahly’s and in West Virginia in general. Even though I only had to drive a little over three hours to get here from my hometown in Virginia, I feel worlds away in the best ways possible. I think that my enjoyment of the area is compounded by how inviting and friendly the family has been to me. Seeing West Virginia through their eyes is the only way I want to see West Virginia, and I believe it when they tell me that the views from their farm never get old, even after all these years. Every time I go out in the field, I get a new sense of satisfaction looking over the lush, rolling hills. Even the potholes in the road don’t dampen my drive through neighboring properties on my way into town.
I could opine about my newfound love for this state and the people in it for pages upon pages, but I’ll save that for my letters home to my family. But I will say, at risk of sounding too sappy, that I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity and experience, I know that I’ve gained an incalculable amount of knowledge about agriculture and myself in my relatively short time here.