No farms, no food. This mantra often rang in my food-related classes during my first few years at University of Michigan studying in their Program in the Environment. I was excited to be welcomed on board at Nature and Nurture’s organic farm and learn more about sustainable practices in our local food system.
I first introduced myself Nature and Nurture owners, Michael Levine and Erica Kempter, in my Food Literacy For All class. Upon hearing one of Mike’s keen replies to a comment made by Fernando Funes Monzote relating to an ecological approach to agriculture, I wanted to know more about his response. We wound up having a conversation about their company and how they strive to make the world a better place through sustainable food practices.
Through coursework at Michigan I was familiar with the impacts of conventional agriculture and the benefits of organic. I was drawn to this internship because I would be able to tie classroom knowledge to practical experience working in the field (literally).
Nature and Nurture is firstly a seed company. They believe agriculture is only sustainable if those practicing it are able to grow their own seeds or acquire them locally such that heirloom plants are generationally acclimated to the ecosystem in which they’ll be grown for harvest.
While applying to the internship, I had very high hopes to understand how organic foods are grown. Both Mike Levine and Mike Lordon are graduates from U of M’s School of Natural Resources (now School for Environment and Sustainability) and Erica studied at UC Santa Cruz, so I knew I could learn a lot from their academic and life experiences as they relate to our food systems and the environment on a whole.