A Garden of Opportunities
By Benjamin Hunt
In the summer of 2017, I did an Internship at the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) where I used my videography and photography assets to help the Community Garden fulfill its mission to better market it to Students and Faculty on Campus at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). I directed and edited weekly videos that documented the projects being worked on at the SAP by interns and volunteer Students which were then posted to the SAP’s Facebook page. All followers of the Facebook page were able to see on site progress of projects through videos and photos. I also created an Instagram page for the SAP, meant for daily pictures of farm tasks, and the people involved, which gained over 300 GVSU student followers! The Instagram page now has just under 500 followers and rising, where Students can also see, first hand what the SAP has to offer.
Another video that I did consisted of an intro that will be used for future videos at the community garden. I also did a video showcasing how students on campus get their food and the role that plays with the Sustainable Agriculture Project which was recently shared at the GVSU Sustainability Showcase event. Out of all the things I did, my most accomplished work is the 20 minute Documentary that I directed, captured and edited for the SAP. This Documentary showcased what is so special about the community garden and how it relates to students on campus. The Documentary shows student volunteers, the Farm Manager, the Chef from Engrained and interns as well as various projects worked on in the summer. This can be viewed on my social media page.
As for my day to day life as a SAP intern, my schedule would consist of showing up in the morning and volunteering for anywhere between thirty minutes to two hours depending on what was happening for that day. We would meet in the Wesley house and talk about the goals and objectives for the week. After volunteering, interns would go off to work on those objectives, it was a thematic and organized plan for the week that worked very well. I spent time taking photographs and recording videos after volunteering and interviewing some of the volunteers and interns to record what was happening at the SAP for marketing purposes. Realistically, I spent an estimate of twenty-five hours a week on this internship. My job specifically, was to keep tabs and updates on everyone else’s projects through my videos.
This internship relates to many of the Environmental classes that I’ve taken in terms of things that were learned being implemented in the field. Most specifically, my ENS 401 Environmental Problem Solving course where our client was the SAP. I used what I learned from my internship to help cater to the farm in ways of improvement in terms of marketing and awareness on campus. For this class, my group project aimed to help assist in means of transportation to and from the farm, from campus. We idealized creating a shuttle system, that would not only provide students with better accessibility to the SAP, it would also provide marketing to the students on campus bringing more people to the Sustainable Agriculture Project to help cater to its ideals and goals. We wanted to improve accessibility, diversify learning options for students and instructors, and create a sustainable campus that can be enjoyed by future generations. Between the ENS course and my internship, my involvement with the Sustainable Agriculture Project has been significant in terms of my time spent at Grand Valley State University.
I’m glad to say that I did exactly what I set out to do in this internship, by bringing marketing and awareness to the SAP in a very interactive and visual way. It has been a wonderful experience. I was able to be a valuable asset to the Sustainable Agriculture Project, gain relationships with those around me, gain a deeper understanding of environmental and sustainable practices and also further build my own photography and videography credentials. I highly recommend the farm as an internship site for any student, regardless of major. One of the great things that I learned is how the SAP can be a beneficial site for learning and personal growth for everyone, no matter what their career choices are. For video and photo interns specifically, it is a terrific opportunity to gain experience, as there are always new projects, allowing for opportunities to capture and share with the rest of the campus community.
The Sustainable Agriculture Project showed me the importance of a community garden and the role that one plays in society. It is a model for how a community should be ran in a city and how people are able to work together to achieve something great. I will take the experience and values learned from this internship and apply them to my future in terms of marketing, working effectively in a team, sustainable and environmental practices and most importantly how these things relate to society today.