Jenna Smith

APEX Fellowship | Jenna Smith

October 27, 2020   /  

Major: Sociology
Class Year: 2022
Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Ison

As the Sustainable Farm Intern at Bellwether Farm in Wakeman, Ohio, I performed agricultural fieldwork, lead programs in organic farming, and observed non-profit management techniques to promote sustainable living.

Jenna Smith will be online to field comments on Nov. 5 from 8:00am – 10:00am.

34 thoughts on “APEX Fellowship | Jenna Smith”

  1. Farmer Jenna has a nice ring to it! But I can also see Jennaβ€”Food Justice Warrior! Glad to see you had such a great experience. What a great way to use what you’ve learned to inform your I.S. project.

  2. Jenna – so glad this ended up working out so well for you and that you have come away with some specific environmental advocacy goals. I don’t think you gave yourself credit for navigating all the uncertainty and hoops to jump through before you started. You maintained a flexible and understanding attitude which I’m sure served you well!

    1. I appreciate your kind words Cathy. Thank you for making the opportunity possible! It was certainly a wild ride, but we made it πŸ™‚

  3. Hi Jenna,

    I appreciated your comment about grit–so true! Do you have a sense of whether other organizations like Bellweather Farms might be founded in Ohio or elsewhere? Is this a growing movement or more of a unique case?

    1. Hi Lisa,

      It was certainly so important! There are several farms in the Northeastern Ohio region that follow similar models of sustainability, community outreach, and land regeneration. I briefly mentioned Lettuce Heads, but that’s a quick example of an aquaponic farm in Wellington that uses recycled water & live fish to grow their produce (very cool)! I do believe there is a resurgence of organizations that aim to use small-scale, diverse practices in their farming – whether that be in urban or rural settings. It seems like they all know each other too!

      1. It’ll be exciting to see this movement grow. My daughter had a chance to do a “nature camp” when she was a kid and I’d love to see more children have that chance growing up. Thanks so much for your reply, and best wishes!

  4. That’s my sister!!! So proud of your hard work making this fellowship happen and the dynamic ways you engaged with every single aspect of your experience. Here’s to many more years of farmer’s markets together!

  5. Jenna,
    Sounds like you learned so much this summer. So glad your experience was so rich. What insight do you have about yourself? What impact will this experience have on your Woo education, classes, and career? Of course, I have to ask a career question! Miss seeing you.

    1. Thank you Lisa! Miss seeing you as well. I learned that I would definitely benefit from a hands-on career in environmental advocacy & food justice and would love to interact directly with community members. It was a fun, humbling, and informative summer, and I hope I am able to follow a similar path in the future!

  6. Great presentation, Jenna. It sounds like you learned lots of really practical skills, while building strong connections, and developing your own interests.

    1. Thank you Krista! I will say – if you come across any issues with wood chippers or weed whackers, I have you covered πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Jenna
    What a great presentation! It is really wonderful to revisit your journal and hear final summary. I think you should definitely go by the title ‘farmer Jenna’ πŸ™‚
    I enjoyed working with you and hearing about your experience. I can’t wait to see how you continue to grow.
    All the best!
    Dr. Ison

    1. Thank you for all of your support this summer Dr. Ison! I loved hearing about your field experiences and hope we are able to connect soon πŸ™‚ Best of luck with the rest of this semester!

  8. Thank you for sharing, Jenna. It is great to see the impact of this experience on your academic and longer term goals.

  9. Congrats on your fellowship Jenna, you did it all this summer! I especially liked how you adapted to not having visitors with Covid, really making the best out of the situation.

  10. Very nice presentation. Have you ever looked into aquaponics as a sustainable method of farming?

    1. Thank you! I did visit an aquaponic farm in the area – no soil, and nutrients from living fish! I’ve heard it is a very sustainable and effective method of production once businesses are established. They have an earlier growing season and are able to provide a diverse array of produce because of their green house temperatures! Although, I did notice that many organizations use this technique in tandem with soil grown vegetables and fruits. I appreciate the question – I’m interested to see how the field will develop!

  11. Hi, Jenna! Congratulations on a fantastic APEX Fellowship! I know I’ve already said this to you, but I’m genuinely impressed with your ability to navigate and create such a fulfilling experience amidst all this pandemic-related uncertainty. It sounds like you had a truly incredible time working with Bellweather Farms, and like your time there is going to help you figure out your next steps academically and/or professionally!

    1. Thanks for all of your support and help Nick! It was so difficult to choose which experiences/details to include because everything felt so impactful. I certainly hope so πŸ™‚

  12. Hi Jenna,

    It was great to learn more about your enriching summer experience! I was interested in the the connection between Bellweather Farm and the Episcopalian Diocese… I had never thought of sustainable farming and religious communities as being connected. Is Bellweather Farm unique in this way? Or is it part a larger trend? Does the religious affiliation have any kind of impact on the Farm’s activities? Did it impact your experiences this summer?

    Tim Freeze

    1. Hi Dr. Freeze, thank you so much for stopping by! I didn’t have much exposure to that connection prior to this internship either. It seems like the Episcopalian community at-large prioritizes food access and really wants to engage congregations in sustainable practices. We sent food to ministries all over the region and I firmly believe the program will only grow with time! I’d have to do some more research to see if other organizations are mission-based in these ways, but the environment certainly provided opportunities for me to consider my own spirituality and positionality. At the very least, I believe the foundations of the internship site allowed our team to prosper and connect with one another.
      Thank you again for your questions and see you next week!

  13. Jenna,
    Great presentation on your summer experience. I really like how you talk about developing relationships with your work colleagues. How do you think you will continue to use what you learned on the farm to grow food for yourself and others in the future?

    1. Hi Ryan! Thank you so much for the support. I was actually thinking about this the other day – I definitely want to have my own garden next year and will attempt to persuade my family to help πŸ™‚ In the future, I would like to gain more fieldwork experience and try my hand at community or urban gardening! What I enjoyed the most (professionally) was our service opportunities and deliveries to nearby churches for meal programs. Have a wonderful day!

  14. What a perfect APEX Fellowship for you, Jenna! I loved watching the presentation, you gained some really fun skills! I can’t wait to see how you blow families away on tour by incorporating this very cool APEX fellowship into your tour.

    1. Georgia – thank you so much for watching! It certainly has made for some fun stories πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to share them with you!

  15. Jenna, what an amazing summer experience! Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and insights with us.

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