On March 23rd, I had an opportunity to connect with Bennett Konesni, a fellow AUNE Green MBA Alum. Bennett is a farmer and a musician, who is combining his passion for music, food, and culture. He is operating a 243-acre educational farm on Shelter Island, NY. The farm is called Sylvester Manor (www.sylvestermanor.org). This land has been part of his family since 1652.
Post bachelor’s degree, Bennett traveled to Europe, Africa, and Asia as a Watson Fellow to learn work songs. During this trip he worked with fishermen, farmers, and herders. Upon his return to the United States, he decided to move into Sylvester Manor and start his educational farm.
One of the things we discussed was change. He believes that “people make enduring, long-term changes when their decisions are based in pleasure or love, not fear or hate. So if we want to get people to change their attitudes for the better for the long-haul, we must use pleasure and love as a tool to generate that change.”
Some questions that have helped Bennett choose his career path are:
1. What would I love to do, if money was not an object?
2. What am I good at?
3. How shall I live?
4. What is a good life to me?
5. Who am I?
6. How do I give back?
We also discussed how to approach practicum. Bennett suggested either to spend the time developing a vision of what you want to do with your life, or identify what you love to do and learn how to spread it. Bennett’s vision was to start an educational farm to bring culture back to agriculture. He used his practicum to organize all the projects and action items he needed to do to make this vision a reality.
- John Costa