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Meet our Intern: Pinchas Kreizel

Pinny and his nephew Duvi spending quality time together.
Pinny and his nephew Duvi spending quality time together.

Hello! How are you on this fine day? You must be wondering who I am and why I am writing this. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Pinchas Kreizel but you can just call me Pinny for short. I am a 29-year-old undergraduate student at Cornell University studying agriculture. Back when I graduated from high school (technically Yeshiva but more on that later) my path was not higher education. In our community men are expected to get a job to support their families which we are also expected to start at around that age. So, I found a job doing what I loved which was cooking and feeding people, the same love that I received from my own family when I was growing up. After a few years of doing that, I began to feel like something was missing from my life and that is an education. So, I started taking some liberal arts classes at a local community college. After completing my two years there it was time for me to transfer but to study what? After all my time as a chef couldn’t be the same as what my career path would be after college, right? But then, by stroke of pure genius, my closest college mentor had the brilliant idea of, “Why not study food academically??”. BAM!! Just like that my whole focus changed and I decided to study agriculture with the focus of learning how food is produced.

Being from New York, Cornell was the obvious choice to study agriculture. I started school in Fall of 2019 and was very happily studying everything I could to learn more about the food system and how do we get the food we eat. Then the pandemic hit and everything went crazy for a bit. I got married to the most wonderful girl and now I’m back to continue my studies. We all know that school studies are not a stand-in for real-life experience and that is why students take internship experience. I got very lucky with my internship to be part of a flagship new program at Cornell. The program is called The Lund Fellows Program for Regenerative Agriculture. The purpose of this program is to give students the opportunity to learn more about smaller farms that are practicing regenerative agriculture and agroecology. When I looked over the listings Heritage Haus Farm immediately stood out to me. Not only are they very diverse with heritage pigs, sheep, goats, and chickens but they are very strongly engaged in the social aspect of agroecology which is to engage with surrounding farms and communities to broaden and strengthen the food and farming ecosystem. Animal products are an area that despite gardening and working on a vegetable farm I have had very little chance to engage with directly. Farmer Jenn is doing incredible work by truly stretching what it means to be a diversified farm. That means taking advantage of any opportunity and partnership to collectively make everyone more successful at raising and accessing good quality food. This summer I will be working on the beautiful Heritage Haus Farm and getting a chance to see what it truly takes to raise animals. Growing up Jewish animal products are in the spotlight for many holidays and joyous life events. But I never truly considered how did that chicken get to be in my chicken soup, how did that lamb shank end up at my seder. Until now. Now I am able to see for myself the amount of work and love it takes to properly raise animals for the food system. What decisions and things need to be considered in this endeavor. How do farms keep track of animals? Make sure they are fed well, sheltered properly, have access to sunlight and pasture. How do animals get processed into meat? Transported to us? What I hope to gain from this experience are answers to some of these questions as well as better decision-making ability about sourcing the food that I myself eat as well as for the food I source in my life as a chef. I will be participating and helping out on the farm doing daily chores, farm maintenance and upkeep, social media and marketing and whatever else is needed to run a busy farm but most importantly enjoy hanging out with the cutest animal babies I have ever seen!

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