Cultivating a Love for Vegetable Farming at Common Thread Farm
While students generally frequent the Clinton Farmer’s Market during the summer and at the beginning of the fall semester, few probably know the market and farming community like Haley Tietz ’19, who works there every Thursday. An employee at Common Thread Community Farm based in Madison, N.Y., Tietz has spent the few months since her graduation further immersing herself in local farm life.
Common Thread Farm is committed to sustainably producing vegetables and encouraging consumers to learn more about where their food comes from. Tietz currently works as the farm’s wash and pack manager, washing vegetables and preparing them to go out to various locations. She also does weeding, transplanting, and seeding, occasionally helps with the farm’s irrigation systems, and returns to Clinton once a week for the farmer’s market. Though she noted that she typically works long, physically demanding days, she said that she finds her work “really rewarding.”
Hometown: Sunnyvale, Calif.
High School: Homestead High School (2 years); De Anza College (2 years)
Tietz began working with Common Thread Farm during the summer of 2018 before her senior year at Hamilton. During those few months, she spent most of her time harvesting vegetables and cultivating her passion for vegetable agriculture. She then went on to work at the farm throughout her senior year, leading her to her current manager position. “It’s really cool to be able to see the full circle of the season . . . I’ve been able to see everything that happens as it progresses through the winter and early spring and everything,” she said.
For Tietz, one of the most rewarding parts of working at Common Thread Farm has been the hands-on, technical skills that she has gained. Having developed her “creative problem-solving farmer brain,” she said, “I think there are a lot of things that I used to need help or instruction on and I can just find a solution for myself now.” For example, she described how she might encounter leaky pipes during her irrigation work, but she feels confident in handling and fixing the situation on her own.
While discussing the impact of farmers, Tietz said, “…to me, it feels really important to grow vegetables for people.” Though unsure of where she wants to ultimately end up in her career, her work on the farm has been a positive experience that she wants to take with her. She said that some day she might decide to run he own farm, work for a non-profit organization or, mixing in her interest in education, work on school gardens. “I definitely want to have growing vegetables as part of my life.”