Where are they now – Kimberly Chang-Haines
A question and answer session with our former intern, Kimberly Chang-Haines
Q: When did you work at TomKat Ranch, for how long, and what was your position?
A: I worked for TomKat over the summer of 2017 for about 3 months as a Land and Livestock Intern and continued selling beef for another 9 months at various Farmer’s Markets.
Q: How did you find out about TomKat Ranch?
A: I was in the Multimedia Environmental Communications class at Stanford, and one of my classmates kept raving about TomKat Ranch. She had interned there the summer before and had fallen in love with everything the Ranch stands for. Because of her passion for it, we decided to do our final video project about the mission of TomKat. The rest was history – I interned the next summer!
Q: How did you get involved in agriculture/ranching in the first place?
A: I thought that I wanted to be a marine biologist, but I realized that, for me, it was more fascinating to be involved with a system that directly deals with both humans and nature. I started taking more food-related courses in school and eventually focused my Master’s Degree in Earth Systems (Responsible Food Systems).
Q: What was your favorite memory at TomKat Ranch?
A: This is a challenging question to answer. I had so many amazing memories. Although not one specific memory, my favorite general memory was getting the chance to walk the dew-covered fields looking for calves that were born the night before. When I was there, one of the mama cows wouldn’t accept her newborn calf and kept kicking her off when the calf tried to get milk. Because of this, we had to nurse the baby and train the mom to care for her calf. It was such an interesting and incredible experience that I would never have expected to partake in.
Q: Who was the most influential person during your time at TomKat Ranch?
A: I definitely can’t answer this question! Everyone influenced me in his or her own way. I got to know the fields, the operations, the strategy, and everything in between by learning from everyone who worked at or was associated with TomKat Ranch. The entire experience changed how I view the food system and I can’t thank everyone enough for having such an impact.
Q: Where are you and what are you doing now?
A: I currently am working as a Digital Marketing Specialist for Driscoll’s in Watsonville, CA. Driscoll’s sells four types of berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. It has been a rich and rewarding experience working there so far and I have learned a lot.
Q: How has your TomKat experience shaped where you are/what you are doing now?
A: Working for TomKat solidified my interest in the food industry and showed me that food really can be produced harmoniously with nature. It has provided a north star for how food should be produced.
So often, people buy into food trends that are fleeting and uninformed. People easily jump on the bandwagon and then see another bandwagon to hop onto soon thereafter. TomKat, however, taught me to think more critically and pushed me to understand the broader implications of a technique, new product, or idea instead of buying into the hype. Furthermore, I learned how critical it is to understand the entire system rather than one variable that may not be telling the entire story. I wholeheartedly recommend that people get to know TomKat Ranch and its goals better and, for those who are eligible, I highly recommend the internship program.