Doing Right by the Land
Every sip serves a purpose. Every seed grows more than grain. Everything we do supports the Spirit of Change Fund. Launched in 2019, the Spirit of Change Fund champions the next generation of organic farmers by helping more farmers go organic. By donating 1% of our sales, we’re advancing our mission to help make a better future for our land and our farmers. More organic farmland means fewer pesticides in our soil and water — and a significant lasting impact on our environment.
Rodale Institute and the next Generation of Organic Farmers
Our primary partner in this industry-leading initiative is Rodale Institute, a nonprofit committed to growing the organic movement through research, farmer training and consumer education. Through our Spirit of Change Fund, Prairie Organic will provide scholarships for interns accepted into Rodale Institute’s Next Generation Scholarship Program, which passes on practical, hands-on organic agriculture knowledge and skills to future organic farmers.Learn More about Rodale Institute
The next Generation of Organic Farmers
Congratulations to all 2020 scholarship recipients
“I hope to learn all aspects of large-scale organic farming—from farm management to how my knowledge and skills can benefit the community—and establish my own organic farm.” —Ava
Ava is from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where she spent her childhood helping her mother on an organic goat farm and family Christmas tree farm. Surrounded by small, family-owned farms in the Gettysburg area, she also helped her neighbors care for newborn farm animals, feed chickens and collect eggs. Ava realized her happiest moments were when she was outside every day, getting her hands dirty and providing food for others. This feeling of fulfillment made her want farming to be part of her life. As an Agricultural Supported Communities (ASC) intern at Rodale Institute, she’s learning the processes involved in organic farming and plans to operate her own farm in the future, perhaps as part of a farm-to-table café or restaurant business.
“I believe dedicated people within the regenerative agricultural movement are important for food security and human health.” —Adam
Adam is from East Hanover, New Jersey, and has been the owner and operator of a landscaping business for 18 years. He has 20 years of experience in gardening, growing vegetables, fruits and herbs, as well as beekeeping. As an intern in Rodale Institute’s Agriculture Supported Communities (ASC) training program, Adam hopes to learn the full scope of working on a diverse vegetable farm, how to run a CSA and how to work with a farm crew towards shared goals. He’s interested in learning the process of growing the most nutrient-dense food possible through organic methods. He notes, “Rodale is the premier place for learning and advancement of these skills. I want to learn from some of the best and become part of the movement and give these learned skills back to the community.”
“I have found a satisfying way to live and give back to my environment through organic farming.” —Delilah
Delilah is from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Kutztown University in 2015. She also studied herbalism at HerbPharma in Williams, Oregon. As an intern in Rodale Institute’s Agriculture Supported Communities (ASC) training program, Delilah wants to learn the ins-and-outs of organic farming, from soil quality and composting to troubleshooting pests and building nutrients in the soil. She also wants to learn how to write grants and fund a small farm business. In the future, Delilah hopes to start her own organic vegetable and herb farm and focus her work on reaching communities that don’t have easy access to fresh produce.
“I would like to understand how to create a profitable, diversified farm that would add value to my life and community.” —Baylor
In his early years, Baylor grew up in Louisiana and participated in 4-H and the Future Farmers of America (FFA). His path to a career in agriculture took a brief break with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Louisiana State University but got back on track with a master’s degree in food security from the University of Edinburgh. This shift back towards agriculture as a career choice was fueled by the need for more sustainable producers as well as a change towards supporting sustainable agriculture. Returning for his second season as an Agricultural Supported Communities (ASC) intern, Baylor will act as an in-field supervisor with ASC interns. He also accepted a Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture apprenticeship for dairy and grazing.
“I hope to combine my business background and experience running small businesses with my love of being outdoors and producing sustainable, seasonal food.” —Kegan
Kegan is from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and earned a degree in economics at Temple University in Philadelphia. Before beginning his internship at Rodale Institute, Kegan worked as a sales manager for a 5th generation family-owned dairy farm in New Jersey. He also has experience as a farm manager for a vegetable farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His goal as a farm intern is to learn how to run a successful and sustainable organic farm and understand how organic food is grown and marketed with a particular emphasis on record-keeping for recording yields and tracking a farm’s progress. He hopes to help others transition to organic farming on any scale.
“Through permaculture, I would like to restore the culture in agriculture.” —Aslynn
Returning for a second season as a Rodale intern, Aslynn first developed an interest in organic agriculture after supporting cannabis farms in northern California. Originally from Berks County, Pennsylvania, she started a residential garden internship with the Kula Kamala Foundation and Yoga Ashram when she returned to the state in 2017. There, she discovered the concepts of permaculture—farming systems that have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems—and completed a permaculture design course (PDC) at the Permaculture Education Center. In 2020, Aslynn will work as an Agriculture Supported Communities (ASC) in-field supervisor while developing off-season farm skills such as seed orders, crop rotation and equipment inventory.
“I see opportunities to inform the public, build community and protect the environment through organic farming.” —Bree
Bree is from Staunton, Virginia, and studied Latin American Studies at the College of William and Mary. She has experience volunteering on an urban farm in Washington, D.C., apprenticing at a Jewish organic summer camp and working on an eight-acre ecological production farm in Virginia. As an Agricultural Supported Communities (ASC) intern, her goal is to become a confident decision-maker for farm planning and management. Bree notes that Rodale’s commitment to education and food justice speaks to the work she wants to do within farming in the future. Ultimately, she hopes to leave with strong scientific and practical skills that will help her be a more effective educator and productive ecological growing manager.
“Growing healthy food is my passion, and I want to do it on a commercial scale.” —Matthew
Matthew is from Hellertown, Pennsylvania. His prior experience includes gardening and dairy farming. A lover of food and the environment, he was attracted to the Agriculture Supported Communities (ASC) training program by Rodale Institute’s leadership in regenerative agriculture. He currently grows a significant portion of his family’s food using organic and sustainable methods. Matthew is looking forward to learning commercial growing techniques, organic certification standards, effective vegetable farm operations and how to establish markets for organic produce. He plans to start his own organic farm or work on one with the knowledge he gains as a Rodale intern.
“Restructuring our current food system is a powerful solution for combating global challenges such as climate change, food security, resource scarcity, economic disparity and institutional injustices.” —Thuy
Thuy is from Montclair, New Jersey, and graduated from Montclair State University with a degree in sustainability science. Thuy has previous experience as an apprentice on the Dickinson College farm during the 2019 season. As a Rodale intern, she wants to push herself to be a better student and better global citizen, believing that strong leadership within sustainable agriculture and the empowerment of young stakeholders are necessary to build strong and resilient communities. She has a special interest in farming as a business and, after her internship, hopes to work in nonprofit agriculture education with a focus on empowering marginalized communities.