Work Learn Profile: Emi Durfeld, Perennials and Seed Crop Worker
What did you work on in this role?
In this role, I have been lucky to have had a flavorful taste of different tasks throughout the seasons. In the fall, I spent time harvesting perennial herbs for Saturday markets, helping out with farm harvests and harvesting seed from crops. As well, throughout the fall I harvested many apple varieties. In late fall and early winter, I transitioned more of my work to processing harvested seed, which consisted of threshing, winnowing and sieving to clean the seed thoroughly.
What did you learn in this position?
In this position, I have learned how to work creatively with available tools to complete a necessary step in processing seed. I have developed a seasonal way of thinking about seed crops and the factors at play throughout different stages of the plants life that can influence their viability and optimality. I have also learnt the vastness of working with seed crops and how their development, ripening, shape, weight and texture of seeds can impact the way they are collected and cleaned.
Why does this work matter?
This work is important because it is contributing to the self-sustainability of the UBC Farm by saving seed that has been grown on site so that it can be replanted next season. As well, this work contributes to the distribution of locally and organically-grown seed to the public in ways that they can engage with the UBC Farm, where their future plants came from.
What would you tell a new student taking on this role? Or what do you wish you had known?
It is okay not to have immediate answers on how to complete a certain task most efficiently. The UBC Farm is a place of learning always and it is okay to feel fresh and inexperienced in a certain type of work.
What should people know about the UBC Farm that they probably don’t know?
It is a space where team work is valued beautifully. Everyone that works on the farm is in constant communication with each other and always ready to drop their tools to go and help a fellow farmer with another task.
What’s your favourite thing to do at the UBC Farm?
Scavenge the fields, greenhouses and hedgerows for rogue veg, cool beans or over-ripened black berries. Also, taste testing apple crops to make sure they are ready to harvest!
What other roles have you held at CSFS at the UBC Farm?
As a student in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, I have had several classes that have made visits to the farm as well as labs that have been hosted at the farm. In the past, I have also helped plant and harvest crops at the xʷc̓ic̓əsəm Garden, a beautiful and welcoming space.