Working on a farm requires sacrifices. Early mornings, long hours, and hard physical labor through heat, rain and cold. Many small farms rely heavily on the labor of interns, who frequently work for housing and produce with minimal pay. Often they’re interested in starting farms of their own, hoping to gain experience and knowledge by working with established farmers. A passion for growing food overrides all of these sacrifices and young people continue to flock to farms, finding work that feeds their souls and communities.

But is running the farming industry on intern labor sustainable long-term? Internships usually run from three to six months leading to frequent turnover and retraining of farm workers. Funny Girl Farm, in Durham, North Carolina, has several interns and several salary employees working to grow produce and manage several hundred chickens. Currently, they’re looking at shifting more of their employees towards salary positions but it’s a constant juggling act between profit and payroll.