Quiet Creek interns are an important component to our non-profit organization. The idea was adopted from other farms that open their doors to apprentices, interns, and volunteers. In lieu of forty hours of work, our interns are provided with room/board and as much information they can absorb from our knowledge, classes, network, computer files, and gardening library.
Many have come to learn the ropes of starting an educational facility; some have a keen interest in growing vegetables organically while others want to glean the medicinal, nutritional, and spiritual aspect of sustainable living. The process begins with an e-mail from a prospective intern who has read a posting on a website or book, or conversed with a former intern.
The next step is a phone call where Rusty has perfected, through the years, the proper interview technique. He attempts to talk the person out of coming to Quiet Creek. This may sound counter productive, but “if you are looking for a social life – try the city, if you need a mental health consultant – see a psychiatrist, and if you don’t like to weed – hang up.”
His intent is to NOT paint a rosy picture; the internship can be challenging and lonely. If the potential volunteer is still interested, we invite that person for an overnight stay and work day. This includes experiencing whole food meals, playing with the boys, and whatever farm project is in progress.
After checking references on one another, we as a team decide if there is a mutually benefiting fit. If so, interns are given ownership in part of the farm to match their learning expectations. They are mentored and nurtured in all they do. Rusty explains, if they don’t make mistakes, they’re probably not doing enough.
His famous question, “What is the best answer you can give your supervisor when asked to do a task?” Most reply, “Yes, I’ll do it right away.” Although a good response, he shares the best answer, “It’s already done.”
The internships are challenging to both the Quiet Creek family and the new residents, but the experience yields many rewards for all. We have been blessed with caring folks who have become family members. They have shared stories from when they have lived, Vermont, California, and Ireland. They relish the sustainably-grown food grown and prepared by all of us.
Arriving as wandering workers and leaving as lifelong friends, we continue to converse, send computer files, network opportunities, and pray for one another. Pearl, who arrived a year ago this month, will now journey on to her next “school of life.” She has brought three of her eight siblings into our lives; grown, harvested and preserved a beautiful bounty displayed on shelves she built; kid-sat our boys while we toured Italy; and made gallons of Kim chi.
She will always be welcome as a daughter, a sister, a colleague, and a steward of God’s resources. We love her and wish her the greatest success in all she does. Gladly, we will let her next fortunate mentor know, “She’s a Pearl.”