My name is Jennifer Hynson and I am a senior Art History major concentrating in Sustainability and Social Practice. During the summer of 2014, I worked as an intern for BusFarm, Inc., a local food market and non-profit focusing on food security and education in Richmond, Virginia. As a Sustainability and Social Practice concentrator, I’ve spent much of my time at MICA working with issues surrounding the health of our environment and how we interact with it and have slowly expanded my definition of the title “artist” as I spent more time working hands-on with the community around me. I knew the organization from its mobile market/classroom’s visits to public events and retail areas on weekends, so when I decided I wanted to gain some experience in this area, I knew where to look. BusFarm, Inc. would allow me to continue working with the issues of sustainability that mean so much to me as well as continue to expand my role as artist in a greater context. After emailing with Suzi, one of the co-founders, submitting paperwork, and attending an interview with Suzi and another member of the BusFarm staff, I was welcomed to the family!
My day-to-day experiences as an intern were split between keeping the market running smoothly and doing research for the non-profit. Working in the market allowed me to interact with members of the local community, the same community that the non-profit aimed to reach out to. I was able to interact with people involved in every area of the farm to table movement, from farmers to farm stand owners to CSA members to uninformed consumers. In working with the non-profit end of the organization, I was able to take my first step into grant-writing, a skill that I know I will continue to develop in my work as a socially concerned artist.
While I may not have seen any immediate success with the work I and the other interns completed this summer, I do feel that I learned an incredible amount. The failures and the baby steps BusFarm has taken have prepared me to be better in my own future endeavors, having seen the struggles of an organization trying to get its feet off the ground. This experience has taught me to always know when and how to ask for help, because it’s out there, and to stay focused on achievable goals. The little things add up in the end.