As a fitting last post of this season, Alexandre P. Wolf looks back on his semester on the farm.
Something about snow makes me sentimental and with the semester drawing to a close I find myself reflecting on my first semester as a graduate student at NYU. In September I waved off the department chair’s maxim that the program would go by quicker than any of us could imagine. Yet here I am, more than a quarter of the way through my graduate degree.
In all honesty, when I first visited the NYU Urban Farm Lab during orientation, I was disappointed that it wasn’t more developed. I had not realized that it was so new! This pessimism was short-lived as I came to realize how wonderful an opportunity it was to build something from the ground up. Although I had spent the first three-quarters of my life trying to escape my agrarian heritage, I was finally going to embrace it — just in a more cosmopolitan fashion. The farm was going to be an integral part of my studies. It was, after all, one of deciding factors in accepting the offer to join Food Studies. What hadn’t occurred to me was that in making it part of my studies, it would become part of my life.
I’ve devoted a large part of my semester to the farm, through both class and volunteering. Bobst Library is the only other place on campus where I have spent as much time. The library stands in stark contrast to the farm, but both are places of learning and community-building. Throughout the fall I would find myself studying in windowless section of the library, wishing I could be out on the farm. I would often use watering as an excuse to go to the farm and clear my head.
It is on the farm that some of my best relationships with classmates were forged. Using our hand to create something more tangible than a research paper brought us together as a group. Our class was fortunate enough to be the first to work on the farm, and we take great pride in knowing that we have built the foundation on which future urban farmers will cultivate crops.
Before having put the farm ‘to bed’ before Thanksgiving, I was on the farm a few hours every week. I deeply miss both the strenuous farming and the more contemplative (as much as Houston Street allows) activities like watering. The beauty of our program and class is that it has allowed me to exercise both my body and mind. While the class has come to an end I plan to stay involved, and am already looking forward to planning for the spring season. In the meantime, we’ll just have to wait for the snow to melt.