College students trade classrooms for farming

WWNY College students trade classrooms for farming

WELLESLEY ISLAND, N.Y. (WWNY) - When many students decide to take a break from college, they may use it to travel or work to save some money. But, 4 students here in the North Country are using it in a different way.

“We have got some carrots here and it is kind of fun finding them. It’s like a treasure hunt.”

That’s David Veldran, one of 4 students at Cross Island Farms on Wellesley Island. He’s learning all about organic farming this semester instead of hitting the books for his junior year at Princeton University

“Having this gap year really gave me the opportunity to do something that was totally different and that was very hands on, able to work outside a lot, which is something I wanted to do and something that I think a lot of other people are doing now in these times of COVID,” said Veldran.

Veldran and 3 other college students are participating in a worldwide program where student exchange labor for room and board at the farm.

“My cost of coming here was just the plane ticket over and so I think that is a great opportunity that it makes this farm experience so accessible to people,” said student Emily Levenson.

The students have been tasked with many projects like slinging dung, building a pig pen from the ground up and constructing mounds from organic materials that will eventually be full of plants.

“You learn life skills like how to cook and how to live with other people and all the way up to hot to grow your own farm,” said Turner Andrasz, student.

“Just Learning about the farming and learning about what is important to me in these 3 months I have been up here is definitely something that I am going to going to carry into the rest of my life,” said student Zoe Chan.

This is the group’s last week on Wellesley Island as Zoe, David, and Turner will continue working together on a farm in Vermont.

Emily will head back to California to work on a farm there for about two weeks and then she will head to MIT for online classes in January.

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