Theme: interns

News from the Farm | May 27, 2024

Hi you all! My name is Hannah; I’m both the newest intern and the newest Hannah on the farm. After four months at the farm, I don’t know that I can accurately write about the entire intern experience, but I can surely share some of the simple joys that have been adding up in my time here – the easily looked over, sneaky building blocks to a fulfilling life. 

An obvious simple joy from this week: biting into the first apriums of the season. I grilled them in some pork fat with a little bit of balsamic, and then topped them with goat cheese and basil. I think Hannah Muller did something pretty similar, so I guess it might be the way to go. 

Shearing the sheep with Rye this week was a joy for a lot of reasons. I’m a knitter, although I’ve been feeling relatively uninspired, probably because it is a tough pill to swallow that even my hobbies require effort and work. And an even tougher pill to swallow: the hardest things in life are often the most rewarding. Two days back to back wrangling the sheep into the barn for shearing reminded me of this. And it’s slightly embarrassing to admit, but the colors and the curls of the wool were so beautiful it made me want to cry! 

The interns have been going to barbecues and sharing countless tacos with all of the crew members who have taken us in as family. It has been an absolute privilege to not only work alongside everyone on the crew, but to be welcomed into their lives and their homes. My mom is coming next week and I can’t wait for her to meet all of the people who have watched over me in my time here. 

Everyone deserves a shoutout, but if I had to choose, it’s the irrigation crew. They’ve been hauling steel pipes around the farm to make sure the plants are getting water as the rain has stopped. And the best part is they wave back at me every time I see them, which is at least five times a day. Chica, a woman who does a number of absolutely essential tasks at the farm, has brought me close to twenty flans and cakes at work in the past few weeks, deserves a shoutout too. 

I’m a frequent reader of newsletters, with one of my favorites being From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy. While I don’t agree with all of her stances on eating, I certainly agree with the care and the thought that she reserves for food. I bring this up because I firmly believe that growing and eating food are deeply political acts. Maybe you don’t agree with me here. Maybe, if I’m too tired to start a new knitting project, you are too tired to think about the political ramifications of each meal. All I’m asking is that you are thoughtful.

And finally, thank you for reading. I love writing but haven’t written anything in a while; getting to share some of my week is getting added to the list of simple joys for the week. I hope that you take care and that you have something that you are looking forward to, because we all deserve that.

Hannah O’Leary

News from the Farm | April 15, 2024

Today’s News from the Farm is an interview with an awesome member of our team, one of our interns, Saeko! She is part of the 2023-2024 Japanese Agricultural Training Program cohort. She came last September and will be with us until the beginning of October when she’ll head to UC Davis for a few months of classes before heading back to Japan at the end of the year. 

[Read more…]

News from the Farm | August 14, 2023

A few weeks ago, we shared an interview with Isshin, one of our interns. Today I’d like to share an interview with Mai Inoue, another Full Belly Farm intern, and also a member of the 2022-2023 Japanese Agricultural Training Program cohort. You may have met her at a Saturday Palo Alto farmers market or Pizza Night over the past year, plus she pops up at the occasional Thursday Marin farmers market. And if you’ve gotten a bouquet of flowers this season, you’ve definitely been a recipient of her handiwork. She’s a great cook and baker (and often can be found making cookies with Oakley and Waylon), she takes sun protection seriously (she can always be seen with her super wide-brimmed hat), and is incredibly nice. And a fun fact about her is that she worked at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in the dining hall, both cooking and talking with the athletes and coaches!

I interviewed Mai after work last week and have a slightly edited version of our conversation below. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | July 3, 2023

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of our interns, Isshin Itaka, who is also a member of the 2022-2023 Japanese Agricultural Training Program cohort. He arrived last August and is a staple of the Saturday Palo Alto farmers market crew, in addition to doing many other tasks around the farm. He takes great photos and videos (and is very tech-savvy), asks excellent questions (about farming, English vocab/pronunciation, and more), and is a hard worker, putting in countless hours after work for his farm back in Japan (more about that below). [Read more…]

News from the Farm | April 10, 2023

Hi everyone!

My name is Marie and I’ve been an intern at Full Belly for the past 11 months. As my year of internship and my time in the magical Capay Valley is coming to a close, I thought it was high time to say hello to you all and share a bit about my experiences here at the farm. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | March 13, 2023

Hi everyone, this week’s news is coming from Carly, a new Full Belly Intern!

I’ve spent the last two years living in Whitefish, Montana; a town famous for skiing and spectacular mountain views. While there, I worked on two organic veggie farms through cold mornings and hot smoky afternoons. And, although I loved Montana, my partner and I decided we needed more farming than the short summers up North can offer us. We decided to pack up all our stuff and head to California, a place where, in my mind, it’s always warm and the sun always shines. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | January 23, 2023

At any given time, there are probably five or six interns living and working on the farm. Interns commit to at least a year working here and over the farm’s history there have been at least 300 interns. While here, they do a little bit of everything, and are key members of our farmers market teams. After they leave the farm, it really depends, but some of them do start farms of their own. This past week, I caught up with three former interns to find out what they’re up to. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | July 11, 2022

Hi Full Belly Community!

My name is Amyah, and I am the flower intern at the farm this season. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | June 20, 2022

Full Belly Farm is a special place for many reasons, and high up on that list is the people. Since almost the very beginning of the farm, interns have played a key role in the farm community. This week, I sat down with two interns, Yasuaki Saito (left, in both photos) and Kosuke Kato (right) to learn about their background and their experience at Full Belly Farm. They both arrived last September as part of the Japanese Agriculture Exchange Program, a program that Full Belly has had a relationship with for many years. The program starts with two months in Washington State taking English classes, then 13 months working at a farm (mostly on the West Coast), and then concludes with two months at UC Davis. They’ve done a little bit of everything (including filling in for a home delivery route) and are great members of the team. [Read more…]

News from the Farm | May 9, 2022

Hi Full Belly Family,

My name is Alexa and I’m a part of the current crop of interns at the farm. I am writing to you on a week that feels oddly ceremonious for me; one year ago, I laced up my boots, put on a new pair of Carhartt pants, and started my first official farm internship at a small organic farm outside of D.C. After 5 years spent working in the healthcare and software industry in Chicago, I had decided I wanted something different for myself. While the decision about what exactly I wanted didn’t come quick or easy, you could say that peppers are the reason I decided to take a leap of faith to leave one life and start another. Let me explain…

[Read more…]

News from the Farm | November 29, 2021

Kosuke and Andrew  —  

It is crazy for me to realize that my time at Full Belly ends in two weeks. I remember the first day, July 6th, 2020 when I spent that day and most of the week harvesting potatoes in the blazing summer heat.

The last year and a half has flown by and has been so enjoyable. Many days I could be doing a variety of tasks. Some days it could be everything from harvesting, planting, building a cooler and then ending with loading the delivery trucks. I spent many hours harvesting sunflowers, eggplants, peppers, and so much more. There were many days of planting transplants as well as seeding crops. In the spring, I spent every Sunday taking care of the greenhouse and watching the plants grow and learning how to take care of them with Andrew Brait’s advice. This summer, I was in charge of our sunflower harvest and bunching efforts. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | October 18, 2021

Being on the farm for the last 15 months I have come to learn the seasonal rhythm of the farm. After being here for over a year, when I see the change in seasons, I know what it means we are going to be doing. Summer is busy with lots of harvesting. As soon as we get to August, we start transplanting lots of fall crops. In the beginning of September we plant strawberries for next year and we continue to transplant and seed crops. Then as October begins, we plant garlic. Later this month will be getting flower transplants, bulbs and corms in the ground. At the same time as we are planting, there are lots of other crews working on harvesting and weeding. While summer is definitely the busiest time of the year there is so much to do the rest of the year and there is always so much going on: harvesting, weeding, and the never ending project list. It seems once one thing on the project list gets finished, we add at least two more things, ensuring we are never not busy. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | October 4, 2021

NOTE: Farming is both physically and emotionally difficult work; it’s filled with plenty of heartbreak and sadness to accompany the positive and awe-inspiring moments. In addition to produce, we also raise animals and this brings even more emotional highs and lows. We don’t always talk about those harder moments and instead often focus on the cuteness of the babies or on how they help our soil fertility. But we think it’s important to talk about the whole experience. Kendall, one of our interns, wrote this week’s News From the Farm about her experience working with our animals. If you aren’t comfortable reading about animal death, we would recommend skipping this week’s News from the Farm.

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At the beginning of May 2021 I was welcomed into the Full Belly Farm intern family. It’s been a crazy and educational five months so far and I’ve loved (almost) every second.

Kendall attending to a happy member of the flock.

[Read more…]

News From the Farm | May 10, 2021

Sheep Shearing  —

Tuesday began as so many farm days have before. Myself and the other interns emerged onto the yard, fresh from our morning kitchen congregation, full to the brim with eggs, toast, and coffee. In that brief moment we’re one, a pod of aspiring young farmers, trading jokes and stories over breakfast. As quickly as we emerge, we separate, scattering in search of the day’s tasks, destined to reconvene and unpack at our next meal. Tuesdays are unique because we pack the truck for our only afternoon market. We don’t load the truck the day before, but rather the morning of. Once Judith’s market truck is ready, the interns who loaded truck are left with the strange sensation of an empty and quiet yard—a far cry from the morning’s chaos of people and vehicles. At this point, just shy of 9am, I was left with the undeniable feeling that I’d missed my ticket out of town. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | July 29, 2019

We have benefitted tremendously from our Full Belly internship program which brings energetic, positive and inquisitive young people from all over the world to the farm to learn about sustainable agriculture. The benefits go beyond a great work team and into the realm of life-long friendships. Yuma moved on from the farm last week. He hails from Japan and is going to be at UC Davis for a couple of months — but that feels like a long way away after 15 months of working and living together.  

Deeper Significance in the CSA Boxes

We are writing to introduce you to Mary Cherry, who is helping to start Family Harvest Farm, a 3.5 acre urban farm that will be located in Pittsburg, California.  The farm will employ transition age foster youth and teach them to grow organic produce, along with other skills.  Family Harvest Farm is still getting off the ground, and in the meantime Mary has been busy organizing cooking classes for youth using facilities available through the Contra Costa County Independent Living Skills Program (ILSP). [Read more…]

News From the Farm | June 3, 2019

Pancho spreading compost, with hills and clouds in the background –

There’s a Farmer in Everyone –

Five days of every Full Belly work week, a group of lucky Full Belly farmers – mostly the interns, the owners and the families of owners – all get to sit down for a quick midday meal that is prepared in advance by one of the interns.  For these lunches, there can be 14 people plus kids, and even a few unplanned guests, that pour through the kitchen door at noon, looking for something to eat.  Cooking for that many people can be intimidating no matter what, but when you only have a few hours to get everything ready and your cooking experience is limited, it can be a tall order. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | February 25, 2019

Almond Festival wood-fired pizza at the Rumsey Hall last Sunday –

I’ve been an intern at Full Belly for over one Full Belly year. Today I’m going to take this opportunity to share with you a sneak peek into what it means to be an intern at this very unique place, as I reflect on my experience and what I’ve learned.

First I’ll begin with some numbers. In my time here as an intern I’ve seen, met, lived with and/or been a part of: [Read more…]

News From the Farm | October 22, 2018

Greens on the Menu –

Things are changing fast around here.  From sunrise to sunset, the days are at least 3-hours shorter than they were a few months ago.  By midday, the temperature can reach the high 80’s, but there isn’t really enough time for it to feel really hot since the temperatures are in the mid-50’s at night. The sun is lower in the sky and in the morning when it shines through trees that are loosing their leaves, there are dramatic shadows on the ground and a lovely gentle quality in the light and air that even the most harried farmers can’t help but enjoy. [Read more…]

News From the Farm | March 19, 2018

Hi All! My name is Ben Culver and I am the newest intern at the farm. The other interns and I have started our own project and I’d like to share with you guys what we’re getting into! 

We are starting a little market garden behind the mechanical shop, where some of past interns have also done projects. Right now we have twelve 100-feet by 2.5-feet beds prepared with various different treatments. Six of our twelve beds are largely inspired by [Read more…]

News From the Farm | July 24, 2017

When I was younger I left my pet beta fish on a windowsill and came home to find it a blackened crisp in steaming water. That very day my older sister made me sign a contract, finger print and signature included, in which I agreed, “I will never own a pet or a living thing ever again.”   

Then fast forward 11 years, forget about the fish pet story for just a moment. I became 21 and I read a book that captivated me. The book delved into the enchanting nature of baking bread. It seemed truly magical. From a gooey mixture of flour, water, salt, and air you would encounter something completely transformational. The fair skinned dough rises in the oven, gradually growing into a beautifully browned nourishing loaf of bread. It was a sort of magic I couldn’t resist being involved in, and so began my process of baking the ultimate sourdough bread. However, the catch about Sourdough is that the baking doesn’t happen until two weeks in. First you begin by starting a starter, and I had no idea what a starter was. I was blind but willing as I followed Chad Robertson (author of Tartine Bread) and Martha Stewart in their recipes for a heavenly loaf of Country Bread.  [Read more…]