Even as I sit in a makeshift office in the corner of my room, speaking with Krista Magaw from the Tecumseh Land Trust over my low quality webcam, I feel the prominent presence of their mission statement: “Protecting local farmland, water, and natural areas forever.” The Tecumseh Land Trust is much more than their famous sunflower field; they are a group of educated, passionate, and hard-working people working to conserve land and help farmers. The circumstances of my first co-op are definitely not what I expected, but I do know even at home that, my work, their work, is just as important and full of passion as ever.
The Tecumseh Land Trust co-op involves a good amount of work with the community, such as interviews and coordinating social and educational events. Now with the COVID-19 pandemic, the in person work has been halted and everything I do is through the screen of my chrome book. Though I am unable to do those parts of my job, I honestly believe I am getting just as much if not more from the job. Everyday I am reading articles and watching documentaries, all about local farms and sustainable agriculture. I have been included in Community Solutions meetings on helping the community and local farmers with difficulties they are facing, and I also keep a journal of what I learn from everything I read and watch. I am still able to post on their social media, which is also a large part of the job.
As an environmental science major, the work the land trust does is very important for me to understand. Before I started this job, I had very little understanding of farming, and how important and beneficial it can be when it is done in a sustainable way. The work I am doing that I mentioned above has educated me in farming in countless ways, and has cemented my passion in my major. I have had a door opened through my work with the land trust, that is showing me how important my work is.
The work that the Tecumseh Land Trust does is much more than planting a sunflower field; it is helping farmers and saving farmland, as well as other natural components around us. They understand the importance of farming sustainably and the natural world around us, and I am so lucky to be a part of that.
The current pandemic has my co-op limited in a few ways, but I feel I am still doing something huge. This experience has been full of learning and challenges, but I couldn’t have asked for a better place to co-op and experience it with. I am ready to take on my major in a new light, and when the world opens back up, I will be ready for that too.
Photo credit: Julie O’Loughlin