Digging Even Deeper

I loved the article on young farmers making their way in the world [Fall 2011]. It’s about time! Just wanted to bring your attention to three farmers who may have escaped your notice. Kate Mrozicki ’04 of Morgan Bay Farm in Surry, Maine; Jennifer Carson ’04 of Great Song Farm in Milan, New York; and myself, formerly Jesica Pascual ’02, of South Pine Street City Farm in Kingston, New York. We all happened to live in Poughkeepsie together at one time and I think that changed the way we look at farming as an actual career.

Jesica Pascual Clark ’02
Kingston, New York

I really appreciate the focus on sustainable agriculture in the most recent issue of the Quarterly. I am always excited to see successful Vassar graduates doing things that I wish, at some point, to do myself. In that regard, it was especially nice to see a focus on young women farmers.

Thank you so much for the wonderful, well-written articles by Valerie Linet ’98 (in print) and Elizabeth Randolph (vq.vassar.edu). And for the beautiful photographs!

Jansyn Thaw '13
Poughkeepsie, New York

Great article on Vassar grads in farming. I have been curi­ous about the financial aspects of small farms and looking for possible ways to invest in farms and farmers. I’d welcome a chance to learn more about their challenges.

Tom Tobin ‘92
New York, New York

Editor’s Note
There clearly is a groundswell of interest in farming. Even as we were going to press, we were discovering more and more alumnae/i who had chosen farming as a vocation. Those interested in learning more about the work of young farmers may visit the National Young Farmers’ Coalition website (www.youngfarmers.org).


As a parent of a current senior (Abigail Krolik), I greatly enjoyed your piece on the Vassar Farmerettes during WWI and WWII [Fall 2011]. It was a tantalizing taste of the important role the college played in the Woman's Land Army movement. I think your readers and the Vassar community would enjoy the full story, which is even more extraordinary: bringing together thousands of college women, suffragists, farmers, and feminists during wartime. I chronicle Vassar's leadership in the Woman's Land Army in my book Fruits of Victory: The Woman's Land Army in the Great War, and it is a rich tale, indeed. I conducted extensive research in the college archives, quote from the letters of Vassar participants, and use photographs of students at work on the farm. It’s a fascinating story of Vassar's historic role in the Woman's Land Army.

Elaine Weiss
Baltimore, MD

Where's the Beef?

I am a small farmer. My wife and I raise grass-fed beef and free-range chickens in beautiful Central New York. I have to take objection with Mr. Specter’s philosophy, espoused in “Where’s the Beef” [Fall 2011].

No one disputes that world hunger is a major issue and that our little planet is overpopulated. But raising our meat in a test-tube?!! There is no way that such a “product” could EVER compare to the real thing, the way Nature intended. Mr. Specter is concerned about treatment of animals and seems to believe that somehow artificial production of meat would alleviate this problem. Animals are mistreated by greedy corporate “farm” conglomerates, which have about as much to do with farming as with any other industry. It’s all about money. Animal rights activists have a field-day when they show to the world photographs of cows in feedlots, cows that are born, live, and die in their own manure, cows that do not know what fresh grass is. But instead of replacing this with test-tube meat, why don’t we just go back to the days of ethical, small, family-based farming, when animals were treated properly and lived out healthy and happy lives?

With responsible farming practices and responsible population control through education, we can feed the hungry worldwide. We don’t need our next burger to come out of a petri dish.

Constantin Belyayev ’91
Sharon Springs, NY

Evaluating the Class

As the mother of a 10th grader, I’m paying close attention to colleges, what they offer, and what they, as institutions, value. I was excited to read “A Diverse, Gifted Class: Meet 2015” in the VQ [Fall 2011]—until I came to the phrase equating smartness with high SAT scores. I had hoped Vassar measured “smart” by very good grades, superior writing or mathematical skills, or a demonstrated talent in a field of study. Must we feed the machine that is the SAT test preparation industry? Let’s encourage Vassar applicants to demonstrate their smarts—and use their precious free time in high school—by writing short stories, reading great books, practicing instruments, painting pictures, and designing computer programs. These seem much wiser extracurricular pursuits than perfecting the art of multiple-choice tests, and much truer indicators of real and valuable smarts.


Miriam A. Zimmerman ’82