Pennsylvania Cows

Supporting Urban Agriculture

Jordan Futrick shares experiences from her internship at the Blair County Conservation District.

Communications Internship Spotlight

Jordan Futrick ’17, communications
Blair County Conservation District, Hollidaysburg
Summer 2017 internship

This internship was such a perfect fit for me. I've always been a supporter of locally produced foods and being green and environmentally friendly, so doing an internship at the Blair County Conservation District was a great way to blend those interests with my communications background.

As part of the internship, I was in charge of communications for the Conservation District’s new Blair County Urban Agriculture Program. The majority of my time was spent reaching out to the community and community leaders through emails, telephone, and online newsletters, as well as producing newspaper and radio ads to bring about awareness of the importance of urban agriculture.

One major component I worked on for the Urban Ag Program was a Farm 2 Fork dinner that showcased local farmers and educated the community about how important, enriching, and economically efficient urban agriculture can be. I spent a lot of time planning and organizing the event. I had to talk with local farmers to get them on board, get local chefs involved, book the band, and bring everything together. That was a lot of work, but very fun.

With my degree in communications, I am always interested in creating marketing materials, specifically ones with a beneficial purpose. I was able to do that at my internship by producing video content for social media use on hydroponics and aquaponics systems. These are two ways businesses or community members can grow produce all year long through different methods of lighting and use of nutrient rich water. It was very different from the videos I made in my classes at Penn State Altoona, where professors did a lot of the legwork leading up to a shoot. With this, I was in charge of everything from making initial contact with participants to scheduling, picking locations, and taking care of all the camera and audio work. It was a little frustrating at times, but a good experience.

I learned a lot through this internship. One significant lesson I took away that will benefit me personally and professionally, is that taking risks is a good thing. When trying to grow something that is brand new, like the Urban Ag Program, it can be intimidating and a little scary, and so it’s easy to stay stagnate. If I didn’t take risks throughout my internship, in interviews, meetings, or coming up with new ideas, I feel that the program wouldn’t have reached the level of success it did. I also learned to go with the flow of thing and to make mistakes, but to learn from those mistakes.

I was able to meet and work with so many leaders in the Blair County community and learn how to interact with them. I feel as though my performance at the Conservation District helped me get my current job as the Hollidaysburg Main Street Manager.  I urge students to consider doing an internship because you never know what you will learn from doing one or where it can take you.