. . . from students:
Sara Tower (Gettysburg College, 2012)
“As I reflect on all the important people, places, and experiences that have led me consciously and intentionally to where I am now and the opportunities and challenges before me, Elizabeth’s mentorship and role in that arch of time, along with Amazing Heart Farm and the very real & authentic community surrounding it, was one of the big ones. Looking back, the summer I spent with her was a second coming-of-age for me. Having just stepped out of the real but limited confines of a college community, I was forced to suddenly contend with myself in a new and different context, as well as confront a much larger world with constructs I was only just beginning to understand somatically. Four years of college gave me plenty of ideas – now I had to find my place to try and live them.
Amazing Heart Farm was my first haven for that work – trying to sort through the skills and passions I had to offer, as well as my own inconsistencies, miscommunications, self-doubt, unmet self-expectations, and flat out failures. That summer was terribly instructive, and for that I will always be grateful. I fondly remember our shared love of language, our quasi-spiritual explorations, our many conversations about food ethics, and of course the joyful and delicious cooking and baking adventures.
Elizabeth’s fiery curiosity, staunch inquisitiveness, and intuitive faith in the power and nourishment of community greatly influenced and expanded my own proclivities in the world. Weeding and harvesting from all of those beds of vegetables and berries each day gave me the quiet space I truly needed to face myself – to take all the intensity of my experiences and relationships along with the ephemeral effervescent and every-changing present moment and distill something that I would be able to take with me on the next leg of my journey. And I did. Among other things, my experiences at Amazing Heart Farm led me toward subsequent transformative exploration in soil science, permaculture, farming, community food systems, and food justice. Though that summer was perhaps just a blip in our lives – for me, my first intentional job out of school; for her, one intern in a longer string of diverse people she has brought into a beautiful place and way of living – I like to think that we had an intertwining – a little whirl – that left an indelible impression on us both.”
Sara is co-owner of Nutwood Farm, a regenerative agroforestry nut farm in Cummington, MA
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Samantha Jo Helman (Health Promotion, Penn State, 2014)
“Volunteering at Amazing Heart Farm gave me a holistic and experiential learning experience encompassing many areas. Volunteering provided educational opportunities regarding sustainable and organic farming practices, whole foods nutrition/cooking, and finally the meaning of community. Because of Elizabeth’s leadership and counsel I was able to immerse myself totally into all aspects of Amazing Heart Farm and take away valuable life skills I continue to use today. Finally, my time at Amazing Heart Farm inspired me to continue serving and volunteering within my community at Heifer International and now with AmeriCorps.”
Samantha is Volunteer Manager, Digital Marketing Manager and Community Development Coordinator with AmeriCorps in Elkins, West Virginia serving the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area
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Kendall Radovich (Gettysburg College, Environmental Studies, 2014)
“I worked on Amazing Heart Farm throughout my time at Gettysburg College and interned over the summer going into my senior year. To this day it is still my favorite work experience that I’ve ever had. Amazing Heart Farm was an oasis for me during my time at Gettysburg. I enjoyed getting my hands dirty and growing beautiful and organic produce. Working on the farm also helped me experiment with cooking and incorporate the fresh produce into my recipes.
I also found it very rewarding to work on a Community Supported Agriculture farm. Amazing Heart Farm upholds the essence of Community Supported Agriculture. While working on the farm I was introduced and welcomed into an incredible community that became good friends. I loved meeting new members of the Gettysburg community.
But one of the main reasons I loved my experience so much was the ability to work with Elizabeth. Elizabeth was an amazing mentor. She taught me so much working on the farm, but I also learned so much more from our conversations which were both fun and insightful. She truly wants you to get the most out of the experience. I am lucky to have worked with Elizabeth and happy that we still keep in touch.”
Kendall lives in New York City and works as a data analyst at Condé Nast
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Jasmine Colahan (Gettysburg College, Environmental Studies & Studio Art, 2015)
“I worked with Elizabeth Weller both at Amazing Heart Farm and as the student intern at Painted Turtle Farm. She helped to guide me as I worked to make Painted Turtle Farm environmentally and economically sustainable and I was inspired by the model of Amazing Heart Farm and its focus on the therapeutic aspects of working with the earth and creating something worthwhile. I was inspired by how Elizabeth’s farm acted not only as a site for agricultural production, but also as a community hub for horticultural education. I was consistently drawn to this vibrant community centered on good food grown by good people and found myself volunteering as a farm hand and attending potluck dinners, cooking classes and group harvests.
Working with Elizabeth on the college farm and at Amazing Heart was an incredibly fulfilling experience which educated my future career path in the field of horticulture. She was not only a fantastic mentor while I was at school but also a lasting friend. I highly recommend an internship/apprenticeship at Amazing Heart Farm.”
Jasmine works as a Horticulturalist and Landscaper in Brooklyn, NY
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Stacey Heaver (Gettysburg College, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2015)
“Volunteering at Amazing Heart Farm with Elizabeth taught me not only the logistics of growing and harvesting vegetables but instilled within me a deeper appreciation for slowing down and seeing the wonder in nature. It showed me the challenges and successes of running a smaller-scale, relationship-driven form of food economy. And, it gave me the courage and know-how to rent my own plot of land to grow food for myself and my friends after leaving the Gettysburg area. The farm is a beautiful and healing place and Elizabeth is a wonderful person and mentor.”
Stacey is currently working toward her PhD in Microbiology at Cornell
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Kendall Wolf (Gettysburg College, Philosophy, 2017)
“As a result of my internship with Amazing Heart Farm I have gained a deeper appreciation for farm fresh produce. Before working on the farm I had minimal experience with agriculture, to the extent that I do not believe I had a proper conception of the word ‘fresh’. In retrospect I realize that it was not until I experienced working on a farm that I could fully conceive my now well-developed passion for food and cuisine.
However, this is one of many benefits I have gained from working at Amazing Heart Farm. I believe that the roots of the experience has grown into a new way of perceiving the land. A holistic way of interacting with land that is based off of nurturance rather than exploitation. When I see fresh produce I wonder whether the soil was healthy, who grew the produce, what their story is. I know that these are important questions if we are to reestablish a healthy relationship with our lands and food. Working with Elizabeth on her beautiful farm has given me that perspectival shift which I hope to continue with a career in Sustainable Agriculture.”
Kendall is currently doing a Food Security Internship with the International Rescue Committee in Baltimore, MD
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Danielle Ofeldt (Gettysburg College, Environmental Science, winter 2017)
“When I accepted my internship at Amazing Heart Farm, I was excited to learn more about sustainable farming and for the unlimited library access that Elizabeth promised. What I gained was the ability to not only survive but thrive within the local community as well as on my own. Through farming with Elizabeth and my co-intern, Kendall, I learned the importance of knowing where my food comes from and how it was grown. I also learned the joy of watching the seasons change through Elizabeth’s beautiful daughter, Hannah, and what it meant to learn a love of nature through the eyes of a child. Together, Kendall, Elizabeth, and I cooked new recipes using seasonal vegetables and connected with local CSA members, explored art and music through ukulele lessons, and of course, connected with nature through working with it. I still cite summer 2016 as one of the best summer experiences I have had and I have now added farmer to my list of dream jobs. I cannot tell you how different my life would be without this experience, and I wouldn’t want to know because it ultimately helped create the person I am today and Elizabeth showed me the person I want to eventually become.”
Danielle is currently teaching at a Montessori School in Florida
. . . and from Community Members:
Dustin Beall Smith (Adjunct Associate Professor, Gettysburg College)
“Elizabeth Weller, director of Amazing Heart Farm, has for years now welcomed my entire First-Year Seminar to participate in harvesting autumn crops, preparing the ground for spring planting, and learning the specifics of CSA farming. Elizabeth’s inspired guidance never fails to leave students uplifted, happy, optimistic, and eager to do more such work. Without pretentiousness of any kind, Elizabeth manages to convey a spirit of right-mindedness, community engagement, and a commitment to ecological best practices. Students who may at the outset feel reluctant to bend down and get their hands dirty invariably come away muddy, sometimes drenched, and—there is no other word—exhilarated. My seminar would not be the same without this grounding experience.”
Dustin Beall Smith teaches Creative Writing and the First Year Seminar: Voice of the Rebel in America at Gettysburg College