will work for food

posted September 18, 2010

NYTIMES.com. By CHRISTINE MUHLKE – September 8, 2010

Some of the most sought-after internships this summer weren’t on Capitol Hill or in the Vogue fashion closet. They were on farms. If you hadn’t applied by the end of the spring, you could forget about it. Ag-department graduates, career-changers and cooks looking to deepen their knowledge of ingredients are among those who have been turning to farmers to show them how to plow their trade. For months they live in group housing — even tents — working long hours for little or no pay beyond all-you-can-eat produce. It’s a cross between Michael Pollan summer school and Barbara Kingsolver boot camp.

On an unfairly idyllic June morning, I arrive at Tantré Farm in Chelsea, Mich., to meet Evan Dayringer, one of 15 interns on the farm at the time. The farmhouse I peek into is empty of people — just cheese-making equipment and shelves of passed-along books (Chomsky, Hardy, two copies of “Walden”) — so I call him on his cellphone. The tan and fit 28-year-old, in a sat-upon straw hat, finds me and shows me around the 50-acre property.

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