Hi! My name’s Katherine Lazar and I’m from San Francisco, California.
Last Tuesday we kicked off the volunteering portion of our Irish Gap Year Program trip with a day spent at Whitehill Eco Farm. The group of Irish Gap Year students cleared last season’s produce from big greenhouse-like tents and shovelled horse manure over the ground to fertilise it for the next crop. Those of us who were more fortunate got to sprinkle little seeds into planting trays, which will soon grow into lettuce seedlings.
It was cold when we first got to the farm but BOY was it HOT when we were working inside the tents, or ‘tunnels’, as they’re called. Fiona, who runs Whitehill Eco Farm, told us that her and her friends have worked in the tents wearing only bikinis – in the winter – because of how hot it can get inside.
The group of gap year students (or #Gappers, that’s what we’ve decided to call ourselves) saw the amount of work that goes into farming, and especially organic farming. At Whitehill, there is a constant 3-week crop rotation and a strict schedule needs to be followed to keep the farm efficient. It amazes me how much food Whitehill Farm can make in just one tent, and how easy it would be to mess the whole process up!
After volunteering, we were treated to a delicious lunch of beef stew, soda bread, and cake made by Bernadette (on her birthday!). It was such a kind thing to do for a group you hadn’t even met before. Volunteering with Irish Gap Year was and will continue to be a great way for our group to test what we’re capable of doing as a team. We got a lot done on the farm, especially with Cam’s landscaping skills put to good use.
All the students had a little too much fun on the hovercraft that John built after all of our hard work. But all work and no play makes for a dull Gap Year! This is most definitely not dull!
Thanks for reading!