Seasonal Farm Crew Member at Appleton Farms

Mia Cleary

How did you get into farming?

I’ve always loved farms and farm animals and I’ve always wanted to be a farmer! I was actually in the 4-H program at Appleton when I was a kid. I remember admiring the farmers in the fields and thinking that I wanted to do that when I grow up. I am also very passionate about environmental sustainability and I believe it is extremely important to learn how to farm responsibly so that we can preserve farmland and protect the future of agriculture and food security.

Was that your educational background?

No, I’m getting education through experience for now and hope to pursue a degree in sustainable agriculture sometime in the future.

Prior to joining the Trustees, what were you doing?

I’ve actually been with the Trustees for a while now. I worked at the Appleton Farms store through high school before transitioning to the farm crew.

When it comes to farming, what are you most passionate about or interested in?

There are so many aspects of farming that I am passionate about. Sustainable agriculture is so important and necessary in the world right now and I want to learn how I can implement that in my future farm. I also love the community aspect of farming. Farms play such an important role in every community, providing fresh local fruits and vegetables, and a place for people to gather and enjoy nature. I also just love the ability to work outside with great people!

In what ways are you doing the kind of work that you are most passionate about at our farm?

At Appleton, we do our best to farm as sustainably as possible. Andrew [CSA Manager Andrew Lawson] is very knowledgeable about soil fertility and organic farming, so I’m constantly learning important information and practices for maintaining healthy soil conditions, and growing organically. I also get to provide fresh, beautiful, and tasty vegetables to my community and to other communities that may not have access to local farm fresh food.

What’s a typical day like, if there is a typical day?

A typical day changes throughout the farm season. But during the height of the season, we’re usually harvesting for the CSA in the morning, sometimes all day, and doing projects in the afternoon such as weeding, transplanting crops, or any other miscellaneous projects that need to be done.

How would you describe the season at Appleton?

I would say this season has been challenging yet successful.

What’s been the biggest challenge and how has the farm crew overcome that challenge?

In farming, unexpected challenges can arise at any moment. It could be anything from weather, such as this year’s drought, to pests and diseases, equipment malfunctions, on and on. Whatever the challenge, it’s all about how we work as a team to overcome it. Andrew does a great job of keeping crew morale high and teaching us to always think ahead and problem solve.