Working for Community
“I am definitely a throwback,” says Green Mountain College senior Evan Dale. “I like old tools and antiquated technologies.” The NOLS-certified leader, Progressive Program participant and sustainable agriculture major spent this past summer in a 13-week, 12 credit farming intensive on Cerridwen Farm learning about communal food production.
“There is a lot to be said for putting your own values aside and working for a community,” says Evan.
Raised in a little New Jersey town named Lambertville, Evan learned to forge his own path despite a public school experience that was less than inspiring. “Public institutions are not an adequate preparation for college and the real world,” he says. “They are really a means of having people find their mold, putting them inside a box, shuffling them around. They seem like feeder farms.” Instead he looked to his grandfather for inspiration, in whom he recognized that uniquely American frontier spirit.
Like many a progressive student, Evan is a proponent of localized political strength and community, although he is careful to see the limitations in becoming a myopic utopian. “I don’t know if the way we were living is a solution to our problems as a global society, but on a local scale if more people lived the way we did, we’d have a lot less to worry about,” he says, “at least as far a food security and imported supply chains.”
His energy is palpable, and his measured words belie his self-proclaimed “cynical/romantic” personality. There is nothing less at stake than living a meaningful life. “I’m trying to find something that really fits me instead of something that kind of fits, that I can live with,” he says. “That’s why farming is really cool. It’s a lifestyle as well as a career, and a challenge. It’s an all-encompassing activity. Whether or not I’m farming 100 acres in Vermont or a couple acres in the city my mind set could be transferred to a lot of places. You just have to be creative.”
By Ryan Dixon '11