Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Road to Polyface

…continued from “Getting to the Promised Land.” On 8/2/2011 I requested and received the internship application questionnaire from Polyface. I answered all of the questions and submitted them by 8/5.  All of the questions were great, but ya know what specific question was on that questionnaire?!  You got it, a variation on my favorite question! “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”  But this time when I answered it, I smiled because although I had the same exact answer that I had eight and a half years ago, this time it was not just a hasty blurting because I really had no clue what I wanted to be doing in 10 years.  This time when I said “raising chickens,” I really meant it! 

So, after I submitted the application I gave it to God and prayed that if He wanted me to be an intern at Polyface, they would pick me. And if it was not His will that I be an intern at Polyface, they wouldn’t pick me. After waiting a couple months, and pretty much giving up on the idea that I would picked, I got an email on 10/11/2011 indicating I got picked for the next step in the application process!  Out of ~90 applicants, ~30 got picked for the next step.  What was the next step you ask?  Well, it was a two day farm visit in January 2012. I had to decide at that time if I wanted to accept the offer to participate in the farm visit. I prayed, checked my finances, and accepted!   I booked my flight to Charlottesville, VA for the end of January and continued to pray to God that His will be done.  I also started to consider downsizing my home in the event I would actually get chosen and accept the internship. However, I didn’t consider this too seriously because I don’t think I thought in a million years I would actually do it.

Months went by and I went about life as usual.  All of a sudden January was here and it was time to go to Polyface. I would be there from Jan. 19 through Jan. 22 and would work on Jan. 20 and 21. The purpose of the farm visit is for the interns to check them out and for them to check you out.  Packing for the trip was a challenge.  I didn’t want to seem high maintenance by packing everything I owned, but I simply couldn’t fit everything I thought I might need into a small bag.  There were many considerations such as what the weather is like in Virginia in the winter.  I had to be prepared so even though I didn’t want to pack the hugest suitcase I owned, I did.  

Right before I left I sent an email asking who would be picking me up from the airport.  Sheri Salatin replied to me and told me to look for the person in the Polyface shirt.  So, on Jan. 19th I boarded a plane destined for Charlottesville, VA. I had to stop in my hometown, Atlanta, on the way.  I was excited and nervous all the way there.  I read the book “Heaven is For Real” on the way which was an awesome book.  We ended up getting to Charlottesville a little early so I got off the plane and nervously paced the tiny airport looking for the person in the Polyface shirt.  After about 15 minutes I finally spotted the bright green “Grass Fed” sweatshirt (same one I got for Christmas!) and then I realized who was wearing it. It was Joel Salatin himself!  You may not know who that is, but in the sustainable farming/food industry circle, he is famous!  Needless to say, I was very excited. I had met him once before briefly when he spoke at Grant Family Farms and signed a copy of “The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer” for me. 

I walked up and introduced myself and we headed for the car.  Once in the car, Joel advised me he would have to make a phone call at some point during our drive because he needed to do a phone interview with a Pittsburgh newspaper (I think that is who the call was with anyway).  I said OK and we headed toward Polyface Farm…

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