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Pitzer App: Organic Farming (respect for soil and its benefits)


shloop 1 / 2  
Nov 2, 2010   #1
Hello! I would really love some help editing my essay, one of the biggest things I have to fix is length. Right now it's about 800 words and I'd like to get it down to 700, but any edits would be very much appreciated, this is more than my dream school. Thank you so much!!!

(Topic of my choice):

The day I began farming I was instructed to use the word "soil"; I could not use the word "dirt" around the holy land of the farm. Dirt, this common, unappealing substance that I would wash out of my childhood pants and later examine in science class. All farmers I meet worship this dirt, they delicately transform it into mounds and holes, and look the other way when it decides to rest on their kitchen floor. It was difficult for me to understand this passion when I first began farming; it was something I did not expect to achieve.

However, slowly, I began to see the products of my work as the first plump, beautiful tomatoes finally caught enough sun to blush, and the once weed-like eggplant began to sprout deep purple veins and delicate lilac flowers announcing its arrival. I felt a rush as I snapped peas into my wicker basket and as the sweet nectar of rainbow fruits dribbled down my arms. I felt a change come over me in my focus as I gained the ability to ignore the sun resting on my bare back and the bugs waddling across my exposed feet.

Compelled by these experiences, I traveled to Brittany, France the summer before my Junior year of high school through a program called WWOOF: World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. This trip gave me the opportunity to stay on a breathtaking organic farm, Botcol, located in the lush and quiet village of Le Saint. It was around this time that the difference between dirt and soil became apparent to me. I took a long walk one afternoon, and with me I brought the farm dogs, Brenda and Thaba. There was not one clock on the farm, providing me with no indicator of time besides the light of the sky. I remember the meditative feeling this created, not encountered since childhood, of having no priorities or responsibilities, just exploring myself.

On this walk, bulky Brenda with her graceless paws took an interest in a slug, and as I bent down to aid the creature, I was taken aback by my view. Everywhere surrounding me was beautiful, fertile soil, blossoming with multi-colored life. I picked up a handful of it and could almost feel the various components of organic matter that combined to create such a fascinating material. As I crumbled it in my hands the pungent fragrance of purity drifted to my face and the cool temperature relaxed my over-worked hands. I understood the respect this substance deserves, the respect to be called soil.

What followed was a complete obsession with sustainable agriculture and its surrounding lifestyle. I felt an overwhelming desire to learn, to go to conferences and workshops to study more about Sustainable Agriculture, a topic that genuinely excites me.

Like the magic of forming a new relationship with an unexpected person, I fell in love with farming. And as with lasting marriages, it was the experience of sticking through hardships that matured and strengthened my love. This past summer I again traveled through the WWOOF program to work at Balza, a farm in Toulouse, France. It was here that I experienced the frustration of farming. I laboriously shoveled horse manure into the unbearably hot greenhouse and plucked each individual runner from endless rows of strawberry plants, surrounded by stinging nettle. With my back constantly bent, I laid out and secured new rows of tarp with dirt clods, only to come in the next day and have to redo them due to the previous night's torrential downpour. Through the struggle with soil and the physical pain it caused me, I kept persevering and I remained committed to my passion, with faith that things would improve. I didn't abandon soil even when we fought. Instead, I was still keep that original magic and respect to call it "soil".

And now, when I'm out in the fields of Delta, my current hometown farm, dripping with sweat and surrounded by the buzzing of insects, I am completely myself, in tune with life and my purpose. When I began farming I felt lacking in purpose, unsure of how I could do something meaningful which would also allow me to find and accept myself. All of the interests I've pursued in my life have helped me understand that with organic farming I have found my purpose; I have grown to know myself and have learned how to change the world through the improvement of the natural environment. I don't know what the future holds for me in this fast-paced world, but I do feel that I can at least face this approaching reality with self-assurance and commitment to my new-found respect for soil and its benefits.

daisiekae 3 / 7  
Nov 2, 2010   #2
Like the magic of forming [....] magic and respect to call it "soil".

I would cut out some of this part. The essay is really good and you have a very descriptive tone throughout the whole thing. And while I like this reference to farming and the soil being like a lasting marriage, it doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the essay. If you cut some of that out it will definitely help with the word count.

Maybe just write it:
This past summer I again traveled through the WWOOF program to work at Balza, a farm in Toulouse, France. It was here that I experienced the frustration of farming. I laboriously shoveled horse manure into the unbearably hot greenhouse and plucked each individual runner from endless rows of strawberry plants, surrounded by stinging nettle. With my back constantly bent, I laid out and secured new rows of tarp with dirt clods, only to come in the next day and have to redo them due to the previous night's torrential downpour. Through the struggle with soil and the physical pain it caused me, I kept persevering and I remained committed to my passion, with faith that things would improve.

Because you touch more on the subject in the following paragraph, so it still works. That cuts about 60 words out, so now you would just need to cut out 40 more from somewhere else.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Nov 12, 2010   #3
Here is a sentence that is not complete, and you could easily complete it:
Dirt, this common, unappealing substance that I would wash out of my childhood pants and later examine in science class -- worshiped by all farmers I meet, and they delicately transform it into mounds and holes, and looking the other ...

Brevity is important. Conciseness. Look for sentences where a phrase can be trimmed away:I felt a change come over me in my focus as I gained the ability to ignore the sun resting on my bare back and the bugs waddling across my exposed feet.---nice sentence! Nice use of the phrase "bugs waddling," ha ha... that is what good writing is made of.

Here is a sentence that needs the word during:
Compelled by these experiences, I traveled to Brittany, France the during summer ...

I don't like the last sentence! You can face your future with with self-assurance and commitment to respect for soil? ha ha, you are a good writer, because only a good writer can eloquently say something like this... I don't think you are allowed to talk about your new respect for soil as something that applies to the broad scope of your future. It is a great insight, but... well, I think this last sentence should be revised...

:-)


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