This summer I was fortunate to gain a truly unique experience and work for an innovative and growing company, NatureFresh™ Farms. Since I began as a freshman at the University of Missouri,
I have always envisioned a career in the greenhouse industry. There is something about greenhouse growing that makes me love what I do. Like many college seniors, I was consumed in finishing school and searching for job opportunities to start my career after graduation. Where I least expected to find this opportunity was a posting on social media. The position was “Greenhouse Education Center Team” and was part of an education initiative by NatureFresh™ Farms. When I read the description it was very unique in that I would be traveling around to numerous retailers and schools, teaching people about greenhouse growing. Someone like myself who loved working with plants and doing so with sustainability in mind, this summer internship was a great fit.
Every week was an adventure and a learning opportunity. It was an adventure in that I met many communities, traveled the country, and spoke to many individuals about growing food. Even though I had just finished school, I was still learning. I traveled with a great group of college students, with NatureFresh™ growers, and got to meet many food industry leaders. Working day in and day out with everyone, I exposed myself to multiple disciplines of the food and agriculture industry. Having that chance to ask questions and listen to their stories was one of my highlights this summer. Perhaps what I enjoyed most though this summer was participating in Greenhouse Education Center school tours. The kid who visited the mobile greenhouse were mesmerized by the giant pepper plants and the live bumble bee hive. The Greenhouse Education Center was a hands on learning experience for them and my chance to help kids know the importance of healthy eating and their understanding of where food comes from. Often, kids would go home to bring their parents, siblings, or grandparents to come check out the mobile greenhouse and to see what they learned on a school field trip. It was occasions like this that reminded me the importance of this job.
Can you picture 130 football fields put together and covered by a glass greenhouse? That is the size of the greenhouse that NatureFresh™ Farms is planning to build over the next several years in Delta, Ohio. Currently 30 acres of greenhouses have been built in Delta, and will support year round tomato production in the United States. We did much of our summer travels in Ohio, encouraging shoppers to look for Ohio grown tomatoes this winter that are grown by NatureFresh™ in Delta. As fall is rolling in and our trips begin to wind down for the year, I am working to take my next step at NatureFresh™ Farms. My hopes is one day to be a grower at NatureFresh™ in Ohio, and use the experiences of this summer to grow a quality product with all the qualities shoppers are looking for in a locally grown produce.