Meet The First Farm Intern

The Leichtag Foundation would like to introduce our first farm intern, Martín Vicario of University of California Davis and offer him a warm welcome!
Martín Vicario grew up in North County San Diego, and comes to us from the UC Davis, ranked number 1 in the world for its agricultural program. Martín will be documenting the farm’s activities and recommending possible alternatives to make production more efficient. He studies Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems with an emphasis on Economics and Policy, and plans to graduate in 2017.

What inspired you to study agriculture?
The more selfish reason is that I love being in nature. For less selfish reasons, it’s the industry that needs the most help.
Why do you believe agriculture needs the most help?
I took a class regarding the negative environmental effects of unsustainable agriculture techniques, and that made me realize that this industry needs the most guidance. It starts with the three pillars of the sustainability problem: environmental, social, and economic. The economic pillar is the only one that does not have a solution and that is the one that interests me the most.
Did you apply to UC Davis knowing you would study agriculture?
Actually, I went to study medicine following in my dad’s footsteps. Then I took a class called “Feeding the Planet” and I got reeled into agriculture.
Had you farmed before that?
No, but I wound up as an intern at the UC Davis community farm. I did everything from seeding in the greenhouses to harvesting.

How has your experience on our farm been so far?
It’s been overwhelming in a very good way. I had the opportunity to sit in on a meeting with the San Dieguito School District and learn about the potential for student farming. In high school, I didn’t know farming was a legitimate career. In my mind a farmer was someone with overalls and a piece of hay sticking out of their mouth. The suburban lifestyle led me to believe that the only jobs I had to choose from were doctor, dentist, lawyer, and teacher… So, going to this school board meeting where they are talking about farming in schools was overwhelming. I thought I would be working on this in 30 years, not right now. And that was exciting.
What do you want to be working on in the future?
One week I’ll want to work on Wildlife Conservation. Another week, I’ll want to find an environmentally and financially sustainable way of farming. I believe agriculture is my future because I love nature and I want to mitigate the irreversible damage that agriculture has caused.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I am very thankful and honored to be a part of the farm team on the Leichtag Foundation property this summer. I am excited to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who are not only practicing sustainable techniques in agriculture, but also making the effort to spread awareness and teach others about agriculture in the community and the school district.