By Aaron Lyons
Martin Riu ’13 woke up at 5:30 a.m. There was little light outside, but Riu dragged himself out of bed to feed pigs and chickens, move cows and set up fencing. At 7:30 a.m. he went back to make breakfast. Then he went back outside to continue his work. This was just the start of his day.
Over the summer, Riu spent two weeks on a farm in Maine toiling for hours on end to get firsthand experience of the difficulty of producing food.
In 10th grade, Riu became interested in environmental causes, such as global warming. After taking Advanced Placement Environmental Science, Riu’s interest grew. He started studying nutrition and organic agriculture outside of school by reading books such as “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”
After speaking with his APES teacher, Hilary Ethe, he contacted Steve Sinisi, a man who manages two farms in Durham, Maine. Riu worked on these two farms for two weeks. The first, Old Crow Ranch, is a farm that raises livestock. The other is New Leaf Farm, an organic sustainable farm.
Riu’s schedule consisted of working 14 hours a day, seven days a week. During his stay at the farm, Riu learned how corporations grow crops.
Riu said his most memorable experience was Harvest Day.
Every Wednesday they would pick all of the crops. These included cherry tomatoes and green beans. Riu said that he will never eat green beans again because of the energy it takes to get just a single pound of green beans.
“If they were too small you leave them, if they were too big you had to throw them out because they were too starchy,” said Riu. “We would bend over for hours just finding and picking green beans.”