Student Blog: Alina Harris '12
Photo Credit: Billy Shaker
I am a senior undergraduate in the new Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production Systems (SAFS) major in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA). I chose this major because I wish to eventually own an “off-the-grid,” highly diversified sustainable farm in the New England region as soon as it is financially and practically possible. My life-long goal is to be so self sustainable that when oil prices reach a price level that no longer keep them below the economic threshold for agricultural use and transportation of food, my farm and lifestyle will be unaffected. I also look at it as an opportunity to help New England with its self sufficiency. Unfortunately at this point in time it is quite low, which puts us in a vulnerable position if food were unable to be transported across the country or across the globe.
I did not grow up on a farm. I decided that I wanted to be a farmer for a living when I was 18 years old. During our senior year of high school, my best friend and I decided that we wanted to go to Sweden. To do it in a financially feasible and enjoyable way, we “WWOOFed” (see http://wwoof.org/ for details), so that our food and housing was paid for. On one of the last days of our trip, while munching on some carrots, we looked at one another and said “Do you want to just do this for the rest of our lives?” Now, almost four years later I am about to graduate with a degree regarding farming and still have the same energetic drive to make it happen. Just not the money…!
Here at UNH I have focused my studies on both animal and plant science, as I believe a truly sustainable farm incorporates both plants and animals. The plants feed the animals (including ourselves) in the form of forages and slop for pigs, and the animals feed the plants in the form of manure. Many people do not relate to farming or understand why I would focus my life on farming. When this is the case, I try to make my point by simply asking, “You eat food, right?”