Alisha M’Lot – 2018 Graduate of the UBC Farm Practicum
Practicum Field Mentor & Field Lead
What is your occupation?
Half of my time at the UBC Farm is spent working as the field lead for our Brassica Field, elbow deep in curly kales and magical romanesco cauliflowers, as well as leading our hoop house and tunnel crops, marvelling over deep purple eggplants and gently fertilizing farmer sweat. The other half of my time is spent with our UBC Farm Practicum, acting as field mentor for eager new farmers, sharing knowledge, hands on experience, passion, and excitement.
What path did you take after your practicum to arrive at your current occupation?
I starting working as the CSA Assistant mid-season, while still in Practicum myself. I then returned to the farm the following season to join as Field Mentor / Brassicas Lead, and have now taken on the hoop houses & tunnels there as well.
Are you currently involved in any other food or sustainability-related activities?
Most of my time is taken up by farming these days, leaving me with deep-ecology book club, cooking amazing farm veggies, and impassioned conversations with fellow friends and farmers!
What would you like to tell folks who are considering a career in land and food systems?
Whenever I tell someone I farm, I’m met with the same response: slow confusion, and, “but what do you actually do?” – We grow food, my friends. We plant seeds into beautifully composted soil and we shower them with love and we weed endlessly while singing (okay, maybe that’s just me), and we use science, math, research, word of mouth, experience, books and stories, our community, and our hearts as well as our minds, to guide how and what we grow. We spend our days outside in the sunshine working hard, coming in covered in soil after harvesting jeweled rows of potatoes. We eat endless fresh vegetables and cook for each other and trade abundances of canned, pickled everything. We teach, we learn, we share, we celebrate. Sometimes, yes, we deal with dead rodents.
Sometimes we do the same task, multiple times, every week, for months (hellooo, carrot weeding!). Sometimes it feels like the aphids are hosting a free-for-all buffet on your sweet pepper plants. No job is love all the time, but for all you invest in yourself, a farm will love you back more than any other job I’ve found. There is nothing so satisfying as looking at a field and being able to see the results of your own day’s work, tangible, and alive. Farming is not for everyone. You’ve got to love it. You’ve got to passionately believe in creating a better world through sustainable agriculture. You’ve got to feel the burn behind topics of food security and sovereignty, seed security, food justice, social justice, and climate change. You’ve got to move faster than the average wireworm in your day’s work. And in return — knowing your life is committed to bettering our world, while you get to bite into fresh heirloom tomatoes straight off the vine, feeling the sunshine-filled juices drip down your chin, sweetness filling your taste buds. Every day is a celebration.