I became enthralled with the regenerative farming movement and began to spend my summers and free time working on local farms and gardens. Putting in the long hard hours of growing high quality, chemical-free food for the community and seeing the gratitude of the people who eat this produce is a feeling of fulfillment that reassures me every day in this path I have chosen.
As a recipient of the Tracy Gardner Internship Scholarship through the College’s Walter Center for Career Achievement, I not only had the opportunity to further my education and get one step closer to a career in spreading food sovereignty, but also allowed me to make new friends across the Atlantic and made the community of the world all that much smaller. This scholarship provided me with a life changing experience that I will cherish forever!
Thanks to this support, I was able to accept an internship this summer that took me to Zambia, to the University of Zambia’s Department of Agricultural Economics. There, I worked with a research team studying how climate change is affecting local smallholder maize farmers across the country and how they are adapting their farming methods in attempt to keep their yields profitable. We traveled all across the country, from Livingstone in Southern Province up to Samfya in Northern Province. Each week we were in a different district and each day we visited a different camp within the districts.
The travel, as well as being able to see the change of geography across the country, was fascinating! During this trip I learned a lot about maize, a crop that has intrigued me for many years, and how it is used and grown in Zambia. Maize is a subsidized crop, similar to here in the U.S., by the government and is distributed to all of the smallholder maize farmers wanting to grow maize. However, the government only provides one type of maize seed through their subsidy program to all of the farmers across the country. And, as I saw firsthand, the geography of the county does not remain constant across all provinces, or even across districts.