Rebecca Remis: Working on an organic farm

Senior Rebecca Remis is taking the natural next step this summer – literally.

Two days after graduation, she will head to upstate New York to get her hands dirty on an organic farm.

As part of a summer-long organic farming apprenticeship, Remis will be learning technical skills and farm management tactics, as well as teaching campers at the Eden Village Camp and Jewish Farm School about organic farming practices.

“I could not imagine starting my post-graduation life with a desk job in the humid D.C. weather,” she said. Instead, Remis will spend the summer in Hudson Valley, N.Y.

“Farming is an ancient art and one that we have become increasingly removed from,” Remis, who is also president of the GW Food Justice Alliance, said. “I feel a fundamental importance to reconnecting with the land, even just for a short time.”

The international affairs major was drawn to local food issues after working on an organic vegetable farm near her hometown in Massachusetts.

When she arrived at GW, she channeled her passion into student sustainability awareness campaigns for the Food Justice Alliance student organization, spending time at both the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campus gardens.

“I enjoyed being able to be outside working in a garden in the midst of a city,” she said of the outdoor gardens, where she worked for five hours each weekend. “Given GW’s urban setting, I hadn’t expected to be able to farm in the outdoors.”

During her four years at GW, she also landed internships with the U.N.’s International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Institute for Social and Economic Development and the Institute for Corporate Responsibility, where she worked with Founding Farmers to make its menu more sustainable.

Remis also created her own concentration within her international affairs major in international food security, culture and sustainability to connect her studies and love of agriculture. Through academics and experience in the field, she said she has found her calling, and hopes to eventually become a professor in food studies and own a self-sufficient farm in the suburbs.

“The issue is that agriculture has been left out of the conversation for so long that we forget how integral agriculture is to our livelihood,” she said.

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