Farmer Spotlight: Season Three with Avery Indermaur

It’s been a busy, bountiful season at Gaining Ground, and we offer heartfelt thanks to our talented farmers for leading this work!

One such farmer is Avery Indermaur, a third-year field crew member who took on two new roles this year:  Development Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator. 

In her third season at Gaining Ground, Avery Indermaur wears three hats: Field Crew Member, Volunteer Coordinator, and Development Assistant.

We caught up with Avery to hear what she’s learned on the farm, how volunteers drive our mission, and how she makes time for self care at the height of the season.

How are you a different farmer today than you were in 2021?

My first season, I spent most of my brain power just trying to keep up with the crew, not mess up too significantly, and remember what the field names were. 

Thankfully, after a formative couple years, I have (mostly) mastered those things and can think a little bigger now. I am more observant of what is going on around me, noticing subtle changes in crops, areas that need weeding or general TLC, patterns in a certain area or with a certain pest, etc. I am also starting to get a better understanding of the farm at a system level and feel more comfortable taking initiative when it comes to what needs to be done and how to do it. 

Coming onto the farm, I was fresh out of college and a pretty intense perfectionist. Farming has definitely helped me work on that and prioritize efficiency over perfection. If I could say something to baby Farmer Avery, it would be, “Don’t worry if every head of lettuce isn’t a work of art. Just worry if there isn’t any lettuce in your harvest crate.” 

In your first Q&A for the blog, you said that farming taught you to take care of yourself. What is your favorite self-care routine or ritual during the season?

It is notoriously hard to take care of yourself while farming, especially during the height of the season. 

People who know me well know I’m not very good at sleeping…or resting for that matter. The thing that helps me most to care for my body is yoga/stretching. It’s so easy to forget about or push off when there are a million other things you want to do after work (at least for me), but it really does help so much to take time to stretch and recenter and sometimes just lay on the floor for a little while. It is that balance to my very chaotic lifestyle, especially during the summer, that lets me keep going.

In addition to farming at Gaining Ground, you bring amazing energy to your role as Volunteer Coordinator. What do volunteers mean to the organization, and what would you say to someone who was thinking of signing up?

The volunteer program provides an opportunity for community members to connect with nature, the food system, and each other, and for us to involve them in conversations about farming and food insecurity. 

We have a very unique opportunity here to engage with so many folks each year and hopefully get them stoked about creating the changes we hope to see in the world—or at least more aware of the complicated issues plaguing our food system. Also, personally, I think the volunteer program gives so much life to the farm. I love seeing GG buzzing with folks who are excited to be here learning, growing, and bonding with friends, family, coworkers, or total strangers. 

Our readers may not realize you’re an outstanding baker. How has farming inspired you in the kitchen?

One of my favorite things about baking is being able to share what I make with others. On the farm, being around a group of such wonderful people that I love sharing food with inspires me to get in the kitchen more in the first place! 

Technically, I think the farm has inspired me most in terms of decoration. I love making cakes, especially elaborately-decorated ones for celebrations. I’ve done lots of buttercream flowers in my time, but never used real/edible flowers until realizing how many there are at the farm. 

We recently had a rainbow-themed staff potluck, and I used farm flowers to decorate the top of the cake I made—so fun! 

Is there a quote or a phrase that is really speaking to you right now?

I was in the field with (Farm Manager) Anna recently, chatting and chuckling about some of the funny interactions that happen on the farm, and she said, “We are all just people trying to make it in this world, you know.” 

It was a very innocent, off-the-cuff comment, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot since. It really helps me take a deep breath and get perspective when I am in my head about what someone is doing, or something they said, or an interaction that I had, or a relationship that didn’t work out. Everyone is just a person trying to make it through the day and do their best.