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Meet Jessyloo Rodrigues '07
Graduating farm crew member witnessed animals, produce, and student involvement flourish
Jessyloo has been a farm crew member since she first arrived at Green Mountain College. She started as a volunteer in her first year, and quickly became an Americorps scholar in her sophomore and junior years. Now in her senior year, Jessyloo has secured a work-study position. The farm, she says, is like her second home.
“Once you walk down the library steps, you can smell the farm,” she says. She explains what the smell signifies to her—a world of rare breeds, dedication, heirloom plants, sweat, and optimism for the future of agriculture.
Market gardening and community supported agriculture (CSA) are two major interests of Jessyloo’s, and her highest aim is to “get vegetables out to the community”. But she doesn’t hang up her hat in the wintertime, when vegetable production has stopped. “There’s tons to do with livestock during the winter,” she says. Her commitment to the farm is year-round.
Four years of experience have provided Jessyloo with a clear picture of how the farm has evolved over time. She witnessed a dramatic increase in the amount of food moving from the farm into the campus dining hall. She watched the techniques of sheep husbandry and breeding on the farm evolve, to the point where sheep on the Cerridwen Farm are now officially registered in the Black Mountain Welsh sheep genetic pool, and bred with males from other farms to increase genetic diversity in the flock.
The farm is a place for experimentation, Jessyloo says, and she hopes that over time garden plots will include more produce that can be stored though the winter, to be sold in a winter CSA or to the dining hall. Many experiments in the past have turned out well, she added, such as the addition of the farm oxen, Bill and Lou, who have been able to do many of the jobs that a gas-guzzling truck would handle on a typical farm.
As an agroecology major who will be graduating in spring of 2007, Jessyloo has her amibitons set on exploring the world. Her long-term goal is to settle in the United States and become an herbalist, she says, although she sometimes misses growing produce when she works solely with herbs. Agriculture is unquestionably one of her lifelong passions, and will remain an integral part of her life for years to come.
As to her main passion for the past four years, the Cerridwen Farm, she’s excited to see more students volunteering and more being done to promote local food each year. “The farm is its own living entity sometimes,” Jessyloo says. “We just do what it tells us to do.”