Internship Programme 2020

An Intern’s Perspective

A year ago, getting up at six in the morning during a pandemic to go harvest leeks in horizontal rain, probably wasn’t quite I had I mind. But here I am catching a smile on my face on the way to work. It’s hard not to love working with great people who really care for what they are doing. By the time we finish harvesting and preparing those leeks they will both look and taste far beyond anything in a supermarket. That level of care is infectious and I’m feeling lucky to be doing this internship right now. While so many people are feeling locked up at home its a privilege to be outside working hard, testing myself, and breathing good air.

I’ve just a few weeks of the internship left on Moyleabbey Organic Farm. Helping to produce food that not only feeds customers well but also provides them a great a joy and social outlet at the farm shop and market – its just straight up rewarding. Good food and new recipes are a lot of people’s only entertainment these days and it’s lovely to see what we sell being celebrated. The craic flows at Carlow market on Saturdays and its nice to exchange smiles, recipes and that passion for food with our customers. They’re so loyal, they too cue in horizontal rain for the sake of those leeks!

There was plenty of rescheduling and re-rescheduling (full credit to co-ordinator Noel for handling that covid timetable nightmare!) but our series of assignments, farm walks, workshops and our exam, were completed a few weeks back now. I miss them – a great break from the physical work, important days to reflect and link everyday practices to wider contexts. Just great fun to meet fellow interns and approachable down to earth experts.

It was a relief that the course work was always rooted in actual farm practice too. Was never a big fan of school or academic courses. Paula our course tutor made great efforts to link it all to back to what we were experiencing on our farms and both the great and tough realities growers face. Not that I needed reminding mind you. There is nothing more sobering to wide eyed organic growing eyes than a late frost wiping out most of the strawberry harvest! Tough year for growing with the weather as it was – this was honestly the dose of reality I was looking for when applying for the internship.

Farm walks and assignments also gave me that bit of pressure I need to account for my own learning. Pushed me to get round to identifying that weed I saw three weeks ago and to delve further into the excellent books provided by the OGI. In a year where so many events were cancelled and it was hard to see past the fog of bad news, it was excellent to have so much organic matter to chew on. Anyway, theres nothing like having experts like John Hogan or Klaus Laitenberger asking you on the spot questions to help you up your game and push onwards!


Overall it’s been a great experience and one of the best of my life.


Rónán Mac Raois