Work has been going fairly well. I don’t have anything particularly new or exciting to report at this time about my experience.
I will be honest in saying that the days are a bit monotonous. It is tiring staring at a screen for 6 or 7 hours each day. It is difficult to find motivation and excitement within my particular role at UTC. Last week I spent quite a lot of time working on an introductory grant proposal. We sent the proposal to the organization, and within minutes they responded saying that we were not what they were looking to fund. This was frustrating because we fit their criteria based on what was listed on their website, and it seemed like they did not even take the time to read the application in its entirety.
I missed out on going to the farm two weeks in a row because I had to meet deadlines for certain grant proposals. This was disappointing. Being outside tends to put me in a better mood; my stress levels go down, and I feel more content. I was able to go to the farm for the first time in a while a couple of days ago which was really nice. It was extremely hot (95F) and humid, but I still felt uplifted after having spent the day outside. I was able to spend time with some staff members that I don’t see as often, and I started to get to know some of the teen apprentices. Some of the teens and a staff member cooked a meal using some fresh produce from the farm, and we all ate together.
Overall, I have very mixed feelings about this internship, and I have been struggling to articulate these mixed feelings. I have a great appreciation for the organization and what it stands for. I think that its emphasis on concepts such as food sovereignty, self-determination, autonomy, and land reclamation are incredibly important and powerful. I also have appreciation for all of the staff members there, and how intentional they are about the work that they do and why they do it. Many of them have very stressful, exhausting jobs, but they work hard because they are dedicated to the UTC’s mission and to the residents of Haddington. The main aspect that I am struggling with is my particular position. I am glad that I am in the position now because I am learning a lot of important skills about grant writing, nonprofit financials, nonprofit structures, social media, newsletters, etc…, but it is not a position that I could see myself being content in long-term. I am struggling with my feeling of discontent because I know how important it is for grassroot nonprofits to have staff members working on the administrative side, particularly in applying for grants. The funding from grants is essential for nonprofits to function. Someone has to fill these types of positions within organizations like this. Is it wrong of me to avoid this in the future just because I know I will not be content?