My name is Andrew Bostick ’12, and I am a student at Haverford College. As the introduction states, I will be spending eight weeks in Southeastern France this summer, learning about alternative organic farming methods and analyzing its economic viability as a model for the US. Having read a good deal about the industrialization of the American food supply and the environmental impacts it creates, I wanted to design an internship that would teach me more about the potential of organic agriculture in the context of another culture. The internship will accomplish both goals by introducing me to France’s organic farming culture while simultaneously teaching me skills and ideologies I can bring back to Haverford.
More specifically, I am concerned by the environmental, ethical, and ecological implications of farming on a large scale in the US. By concentrating livestock, applying excessive fertilizers/pestcides, and focusing on one-crop economies, Americans face mounting issues like livestock mistreatment, algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico, contaminated drinking water, obesity/diabetes epidemics, etc.
Ultimately, it all comes back to the unnatural methods we use in food production.
Considering these issues, the goal of my internship is to step away from the context of the American food supply and to assess the viability of organic farming techniques in another culture. My plan is to travel to four different organic farms located within a one hour radius of Lyon, France. By spending two weeks at each location, I hope to learn skills that could be applied to a student/faculty garden at Haverford, to experience agricultural practices that are less environmentally costly, and to think critically about the American food supply’s issues through the lens of French examples. The overreaching goal is to place myself in the food production system for the first time, ultimately learning how I can help lead greater change back home.