Gabrielle Cameron is a former Woodlawn High School apprentice who returned to Jones Valley Teaching Farm in February 2020 after attending Tennessee State University. She finished her first semester on the Dean’s list before returning to JVTF. Her goal is to travel to developing countries to come up with better and more efficient ways of agriculture. Afterwards, she would like to return home to become an Agriculture educator for youth. Gabby took time to sit down and write about her experience at JVTF and her goals for the future.
I wasn’t always interested in Farming. Through my 9th and 10th grade year, I went to Farm Club consistently, and I would participate in whatever event that was being held by the farm. Later, I was informed of the high school apprenticeship. I was told of all the different things I would learn, and, if it was anything like Farm Club, I was 100% ready to commit to that type of job. I went through the interview process and the tryout process for the apprenticeship. During the tryout phase, I realized that it was something I really enjoyed, and I just never got tired of it. I was watching my friends around me come and go when it came to this apprenticeship, but I chose to stay. I worked for the apprenticeship in my 11th and 12th grade years and through those two years, I realized that Agriculture was something I was very interested in, and I wanted to pursue it more for my future career.
After I graduated high school in 2019, I decided to go to college and major in Agriculture Leadership, Education, and Communication (ALEC). I went to school for the fall semester but did not get to start the spring semester for financial reasons. So, I decided to come back home and search for jobs that would keep me aligned with my major. I wasn’t sure if Jones Valley Teaching Farm had any openings for Graduate Apprentices, but I reached out and they did. I was so excited to find out because I knew that I would be in a familiar setting and that I would be able to gain more agricultural experience. Through the graduate apprenticeship, I have learned many life lessons and professional skills. Overall, I’m learning more farm/agricultural skills such as crop planning, seed purchasing, pest control, and tree pruning. This apprenticeship prepares you for many things in life no matter what direction you are going. I have learned the importance of patience and growth through my daily tasks as an apprentice.
“I’m learning more farm/agricultural skills such as crop planning, seed purchasing, pest control, and tree pruning. This apprenticeship prepares you for many things in life no matter what direction you are going.”
Those stick out to me the most because they are preparing me for the uncertain things that life will throw my way. It teaches me that it is ok not to have all the answers because sooner or later I will find a solution. You learn to see yourself through the plants, the people, and the students that you cross paths with. I learned that we are all works in progress in one way or the other.
Due to everything I have learned through this great apprenticeship that JVTF has offered me, I will continue to pursue my ALEC degree. Through that degree, I will pursue a career as an International Agriculture Development Specialist and help developing countries with more efficient ways of agriculture to provide better economic stability and strategies.
“I will inspire youth to be the difference and step out of the box and pursue careers that people don’t necessarily think are important or the ones that they rarely hear about…I want to reignite the fire within them and teach them to follow it and never lose touch with it.”
I then plan on coming home after a few years to settle down into my career as an Agriculture Instructor. I will inspire youth to be the difference and step out of the box and pursue careers that people don’t necessarily think are important or the ones that they rarely hear about. There are more career options than being a doctor, lawyer, scientist, or a famous athlete. I want to reignite the fire within them and teach them to follow it and never lose touch with it. I would love to teach in areas where the students have already been given up on by the system. They will know that there are many opportunities and resources out there. I believe that Jones Valley Teaching Farm is a key part of me getting to those places in my life.