by Chloe Weber, AP'18

The Arete community knows that our successes do not exist in isolation, but rather as joint accomplishments within a larger community. Kitchen crew prepares the meals from morning until afternoon, beginning with breakfast prep, with work already underway an hour before the rest of the students wake up, and continues to a snack and a large lunch at the end of labor. Outside, garden crews consist of either working in the AMS garden or caring for the livestock. The group that remains in the garden may pull overripe plants as students on livestock look after the chickens, turkeys, and calves by feeding them, or spreading mulch. Maintenance crew members may work off campus to chop wood, and repair or construct new buildings.

Though these groups appear spatially divided as well as separate in their purpose, each comes together to maintain the AMS campus and build an experience for the Arete cohort. Each piece functions in relation to the others, like organs within a body. For each morning, the assigned garden crew will pick the fruits and vegetables necessary, or as requested, from the kitchen crew. Livestock crew works alongside garden to maintain both the compost and animals well-being—angry cows will upset the entire community. Garden and maintenance crews may come together to drain or divert water from pastures or bring tools and extra hands to help remove larger obstacles.

However, the labor crews do not solely come together to work hard on one task for a short period of time. In some cases, the entire day may be dedicated towards a single goal, such as the construction of a carrot cake to celebrate the AMS milking cow, Clover! As garden crew members retrieved the carrots needed for the kitchen crew to mix and bake the cake, maintenance crews brought together the tools needed by the garden crew as well as, and livestock team invested effort to making sure our cow is healthy and happy. Each of which came together for a beautiful meal that could be cherished by all a part of the process.

Chloe Weber is from Rossville, Indiana and is part of the 2018 Blue Ridge Session cohort. She is a rising senior at Purdue University, where she majors in Communications and Human Relations.