Helped By College Students Trying To Find Themselves
Jacob Boggs, 47, nearly had to sell his family farm last winter. The crops were failing, the moo cows were no longer giving milk and the chickens laid eggs without yolks. After five generations Mr. Boggs thought he’d have to sell his farm, which had been in his family for five generations. But Jacob Boggs found a novel solution. Tyler MacWaldie, 22, an undergraduate of Swarthmore College found himself at the Boggs farm, having drifted in from the bus station with only five dollars and a collection of original poetry to his name. Mr. Boggs was able to put Tyler to work, tending to chickens, milking cows and giving him boarding in a family barn that has been standing since 1879.
“It was a real lucky break for me,” said MacWaldie while shearing a goat, “I’ve been looking at going to graduate school but I feel like a gap year will really help me figure out where I wanna go for the rest of my life.”
Zarah Fisk of Morningside Heights is also taking a gap year from NYU and is now one of nearly 15 farm hands that have enrolled in a four-year university. She’s slow plowing the fields, multi-tasking with a long exposure Leica that they don’t make anymore and no, you can’t hold.
“It was either this or intern at Dad’s law firm,” she says. “I guess I could have applied to Goldman Sachs but I really wanted to do something real, challenge myself.”
Despite many of the students in residence having never mowed a lawn prior to their employment, Mr. Boggs said he’s satisfied with the results. “You know, the biggest thing I have to put up with after most of them moved in is now all the livestock being named after Fitzgerald characters, but they put in a day’s work.”
“I finally feel in touch with the proletariat,” says Patrick Gill from New Haven. “This place would be better if it was a co-op but I guess under our capitalist system it’s not the most shameful thing I could be doing. I almost sold out and got an internship at NBC, my uncle does what they call product development there, or as I say he manufactures the consent.” When Patrick isn’t working his way through the summaries of Marx he keeps handy he drives the tractor for the Saturday hayride.
The farm does look different now, there’s a Vampire Weekend poster hanging over hay bales in the barn and a Thoreau quote painted across the side of the chicken coupe. Since Tyler is the only one who isn’t vegan, he is busy in the slaughterhouse. As for next year, Tyler says that he will be back if he doesn’t finish his novel by planting season.
Thomas Gonzalez is a fourth-year Cinema Production major who has already purchased farming tools in anticipation of post-grad life. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.