Rebekah Alstede of Alstede Farms Continues to Grow in the Agriculture Realm

Photo courtesy of Rebekah Alstede

By Steve Sears

 

Rebekah Alstede has been working at Chester’s 600-acre Alstede Farms for over 10 years, but truthfully, farming has been in her blood since birth.

“I’ve been in agriculture my whole life,” Alstede says. “I was born onto a farm, so I really found a passion for the agricultural industry, and I’ve been involved with my county farm bureau, state farm bureau, and now my collegiate farm bureau. And so, when choosing a school, I knew I wanted to go into the agricultural business because I wanted to take over ownership of my family farm. That’s something I really want to do.” 

Alstede, currently a junior at Delaware Valley University (the same school her dad, Alstede Farms owner, Kurt Alstede, attended), initially opted to study Agribusiness, a degree comprised of business classes that also touch on actual agriculture. About two years into her DelVal college career, and with an interest in plant science, she sought to add a few more classes to broaden her education, but instead opted to add a second degree, Sustainable Agriculture, to expand her knowledge to where she desired. “Our farm has so many different aspects that I wanted my education to be able to encompass all of those,” she explains.

Alstede, who has been a member of the DelVal Collegiate Farm Bureau since she arrived on campus, now serves as its President, and is also head of the school’s agricultural marketing team. Last spring, she represented the bureau and won the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion meet, and then took part in the national level collegiate discussion of the American Farm Bureau’s FUSION reimagined conference, ending up in the final four nationally. “It was an amazing opportunity and really expanded my knowledge on agriculture and the industry that surrounds it. Our questions spanned from talking about international trade, to the community impact of agriculture, the lack of infrastructure for agriculture – specifically broadband access – and then we did also touch upon mental illnesses,” Alstede says. “And something major that we kept talking about, and kept repeating over and over again, was adopting new technologies and new techniques within the industry. Regardless of what the question prompt was, it kept going back to learning how to utilize these new virtual platforms that have been developed because of COVID, and learning how to really be accepting to the change that’s coming to the agricultural industry as a whole, and then also on the farm level.”

An agricultural ambassador who is responsible for sharing her fondness for DelVal with others, Alstede has also with the school taken part in the Pennsylvania Farm Show, and guides prospective students on tours around campus. When not at DelVal, she works at Garden State farmers markets, providing healthy food to communities that need it.

For Alstede, who is the Alstede Farms Farmers Market Supervisor, it’s about the journey, which includes learning all aspects of farming. When speaking with her, you sense the strong passion and love she lives for the industry, and she plans to carry on what Kurt Alstede started. “After graduating college, I do have plans to integrate myself into the business in more ways than I have been able to, now that I could work there full-time, and I see myself working my way up.” Alstede, who loves to be front and center and communicating with customers, envisions a big part of her future educating consumers on how and where their food is grown. “And then I do see myself ultimately taking ownership (of Alstede Farms) with hopefully the help of my sister and my brother, and really being able to advance the farm into what’s going to come in the next few generations.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.