Sometimes life takes you in a direction that wasn’t so apparent when starting out. Immanuel Martin, 19, of Pelham, is one of those people who is very happy with his new direction.
Through his classes at Piedmont Community College (PCC) he is acquiring hands-on experience doing something he loves…farming. Martin is one of the students who do much of the work at the three farm locations available through the program. One is on Hodges Dairy Road, another on Hatchet Road, and a third at the community garden across from Caswell Parish on Main Street, Yanceyville.
A wealth of experience and knowledge can be gained in the every day world of farming. This past Thursday he was busy gassing up vehicles and checking on the drip irrigation system sending fertilizer to numerous pots of young mums that will be sold by PCC in the fall. A series of tubing sends vital nutrients to the plants every four hours. “It makes them grow faster and better,” he explains. “They have grown a lot since we planted them earlier in the spring. We transplanted them in July and they should be ready in September or October. There are a number of colors including orange, yellow, red and white. I know many people love to use them with pumpkins for fall decorations.”
Mums aren’t the only things growing at the farm. There is plenty of corn, tomatoes, beans, lettuce, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, not to mention trees full of apples.
Working on the farm is perfect for him as he enjoys connecting with nature. “I’m in my own little world and doing my own thing here. It’s a great program to give first hand experience as well as take classes online when we’re not on campus. A lot of young people have been upset about not being able to be on campus with the COVID-19 situation. This program gets you out of the house and able to work directly with your field of study. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, this is ideal.”
He elaborates that farming means some long days in the heat and getting dirty while learning to do new things including the proper ways to safely handle big equipment.
Martin commends instructor Kin Watlington for being a “great teacher who’s very knowledgeable. He knows a lot.”
Although Martin’s super busy with the crops underway, winter crop season is fast approaching so there will always be plenty to do. Although the greenhouses are empty right now, it won’t be long before they are full of seedlings again.
Life goes on at the farm!
While growing up, he didn’t envision farming as something he would do with his life.
Since he was about ten years old he wanted to pursue a career in photography and film. Getting his first camera at age 14 led to starting his own photography business and taking his first film class at PCC (when he was in high school at Bartlett Yancey).
After graduating, he was undecided about what to do and waited too long to apply to a four year college, but could get in at PCC. However, he was devastated to discover that the college had ended all of the film classes.
Instead, he found a job at the local farmers market where he got to know farmers and learn how they ran their business. He had been going to the NC Minority Farmers and Landowners Conferences for four years and was slowly getting more and more into the agriculture business. Last year he was hired to be the official photographer for the annual event.
Even though he had spent his life living on his family’s blueberry farm (Legacy Acres), it really hadn’t occurred to him to purse an agriculture degree.
Through the Agribusiness program at PCC he has quickly discovered a perfect fit for him. Once he graduates, his plan is to transfer to North Carolina AT & T State University.
He and his younger brother are getting into raising chickens and selling eggs through Piedmont Progressive Farmers Group.
Martin also plans to create a YouTube channel involving his first love, film.