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The Elegant Simplicity of Farm Life: Jack Hassler ’17 at Sunfield Farm and Waldorf School in Port Hadlock-Irondale, Washington

Working at Sunfield Farms and Waldorf School has provided me with an excellent immersion into the elegant simplicity of farm life. I follow a daily routine for basic upkeep of both animals and crops, and almost every day involves some sort of hard physical labor, but for every task and activity I feel an appreciation for its importance in the broad scheme of the farm as a whole. I have learned a wide variety of skills for a wide variety of tasks, ranging from setting up irrigation systems and short- to medium-term fencing to animal and animal product management to planting, tending, and harvesting many different crops.

Even though most of my daily work hours are spent tending to the farm itself, I have also had many opportunities to get more involved with the children within the classroom setting. I have focused especially on assisting with the Spanish classes at various grade levels, beginning with several observational sessions before helping the students individually and, eventually, working with the teacher to organize and present lesson plans. Through this active participation as well as the typical daily interactions with the children I have begun to understand how the methodologies of the Waldorf program are put into practice throughout everyday school life, activities, and culture. These patterns are reflected in the continual maintenance and development of the farm, which depends upon the students’ care but, in turn, provides the foundation for their unique educational experience.

Developing a connection with the students and the educational system in general alongside the land has made my Sunfield experience much more than either just a farm internship or just a teaching apprenticeship. Thinking critically and creatively about the intersection between the two has made this co-op very meaningful for appreciating my personal aspirations and goals, both as an individual and as part of an integrated community.

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