Georgia McDougall – a gal with a plan

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Photo by Shirley Murtha

Georgia McDougall, an agroecology student at the University of Vermont, brings freshly picked produce into the Holcomb Farm CSA barn.

Summer started a lot earlier for Georgia McDougall than she had anticipated—in March, as a matter of fact. Sent home from her freshman year at the University of Vermont thanks to COVID-19, she was able to start working at Holcomb Farm while finishing her courses online.

Prior to the pandemic, she had applied to other farms around the country, but Holcomb won out for a couple of reasons. Not only could she avoid the expenses of living away from home, but also, Farmer Joe’s “beyond organic” crop-growing practices are pretty much a replica of those taught at UVM, where she is majoring in agroecology. Interested in both environmental science and food systems, she feels that this major is a perfect medley of the two subjects, and that Holcomb is the perfect place for her to study this.

Georgia notes that being able to start the season earlier than expected was very beneficial, allowing her to see all the preparation that goes into getting the crops started. She’s had summer part-time farm jobs before, but never the full-time position she has now. “This is much better than learning about farming in a classroom,” she says about her hands-on experience. She also notes that she is gaining insight to the consumer side of market agriculture with regard to the operation of the Farm Store.

Getting to know the crew from the start of the season instead of joining them later has also been enjoyable for Georgia. She notes that all the workers are great chefs. Harvesting and “spending time with the veggies” inspires them all to go home and cook the produce. They discuss and share their favorite recipes. In her spare time, she likes to trail run, do yoga, and back-country ski in the winter. Horses are a part of her family life, so there’s a bit of riding thrown in there, also.

As for her future career, Georgia says she hopes to “work towards narrowing the glaring disparity of the amount of food wasted and the levels of national and global food insecurity.” She feels that “shifting towards regenerative agricultural models is a major part of solving this imbalance.” It’s pretty clear that this is a young lady who will make a difference.