"Being naturalized to place means to live as if this is the land that feeds you, as if these are the streams from which you drink, that build your body and fill your spirit... To become naturalized is to live as if your children's future matters, to take care of the land as if our lives and the lives of all our relatives depend on it. Because they do."
~Robin Wall Kimmerer, "Braiding Sweetgrass"
Spring means calves are soon to be born!
While spring always brings change, transitions, and new beginnings for the growing season, this year in particular seems to have us welcoming more into our lives than normal. We are excited to welcome our first ever interns Rachel and Erica to the farm this season. We are hoping to teach and show many aspects of regenerative agriculture and living in community with them as we also learn from the skills and experiences they bring to our farm. And it is always good to have more helping hands as our list of tasks and farming systems grows. We also are focusing on new areas of cultivation and stewardship on the farm this year that we haven't had the time or designs to create yet. Particularly, we are hoping to spend a great deal more effort on healing our riparian woodlands through invasive species removal and planting more diverse native trees and shrubs; building an outdoor kitchen for cooking with wood from the farm and also an earth-sheltered greenhouse that will provide year-round growing space; and working with new organizations, groups and people to help foster connections to our local ecology and the beautiful world that we live in. The projects and task lists abound!
One of those recent community connections was an ecological design course taught by our good friends Ben Weiss, Robyn Mello, and Wilson Alvarez that used our farm as a teaching ground this past Sunday for their 30 students. It was a wonderful day for everyone to learn from each other about different farming systems as well as how to look at the whole farm landscape from an ecological perspective. We met many new faces of people interested in these topics whom we hope to see again and collaborate with in the future. It is becoming more apparent to us that spending the time to make these human relationships flourish is often what is needed to find better and more creative ways to make our natural landscapes flourish too. We can learn so much from each other. I hope you can make the time amidst the spring bustle to build deeper and more growth-oriented and collaborative relationships in your lives whether it is with people, animals or trees.
Eggs - We have so many tasty pasture-raised chicken eggs available for sale at the farm now till June when our CSA starts so come and get them! $5/dozen
Summer CSA Shares Available - Our Summer CSA offers egg, shiitake mushroom, and grass-fed meat shares beginning in June and running through the end of October. Egg and mushroom shares are weekly or biweekly pickups whereas meat shares are every 4 weeks. You can choose any combination of the different shares and buy multiple shares if you would like. Click here for pricing and more info. The pickup locations are here on the farm, at the Horn Farm Center in York County, or at our Mulberry Street drop-off point in Lancaster City. Call 717-967-4012 or email us at email@example.com to order. If you are picking up at the Horn Farm Center, we encourage you to also join theHorn Farm Center Vegetable CSA near York so that you can get vegetables, eggs, mushrooms and meat all in one place (same pickup time). Thanks!
Looking for Logs
We're still looking for logs to make next years mushroom harvest. Do you have a small woodlot that needs thinned? A tree that needs to come down this spring? We can provide some tree felling and sustainable forestry services, or simply come pick up wood that's already been felled. We can use oak, sugar maple, beech, and sweetgum. Trees need to be freshly cut and free of disease and rot. We need wood that is 4-8" in diameter cut to 3 ft lengths to make mushroom logs, but we can take other sizes for firewood if some of it falls in the appropriate range. Call 717-693-3381.
Pigs are powerful creatures full of energy and an unending desire to move and use their bodies everyday. Those bodies are essentially a sturdy, muscular tank with a nasal excavator at the front end. When a group of pigs gets to rooting and foraging for worms, roots, and grubs there will be soil flying in all directions. Knowing this, we decided to employ our pigs for some excavation work. We needed more space for corn and beans to feed ourselves through the winter as well as a place to plant tree seedlings en masse for planting out later. So, we decided to over winter our pigs on areas of lawn so that the pigs could spend all winter rooting up the sod, trampling hay into the ground we fed, and spreading their manure (as pigs do). What we are left with is no sod, fertile ground, and a little bit of work to loosen the soil back up for planting. This is one of the small ways we work with the natural tendencies of our livestock to fulfill a goal of ours while also making our livestock that much happier.
The grass returns!
FOOD AND JUSTICE
We try to include this section in each newsletter because it gives us an opportunity to talk about what is important to us here at the farm and to share the good work being done by others. We have highlighted organizations like Soul Fire Farm, a Black-led farm in New York state, and La Via Campesina, a movement supporting small farmers all over the world.
We want to bring it a little closer to home this time by sharing a bit about an organization that is trying to offer support to local people facing difficult times right in our own backyard. Community Place on Washington in Elizabethtown is a newly opened social service hub, housed in a renovated building that was once a school and a church. Within the building is the Community Cupboard food pantry, Elizabethtown Community Housing and Outreach Services (ECHOS), Elizabethtown Area Communites That Care (EACTC) offices, Community Action Program "Parents as Teachers" office, Barshinger Financial Counseling office and the Winter Shelter, which provides overnight housing in the colder months for those who are homeless. The building is owned by United Churches Elizabethtown Area (UCEA) which runs the Community Cupboard, Meals on Wheels and the clothing bank. Renovations are in process to tear down an old garage and build a new clothing bank. Campaigns are ongoing to build another building that would house five temporary low cost apartments, expanded ECHOS offices and Hope Within dental clinic. (Hope Within is a local non-profit medical clinic.)
According to Beth DeGoede, administrative assistant at Community Place, "if you talk to any Winter Shelter volunteers, they would tell you that the shelter is too crowded! There is really not enough room for the guests that we currently have. There are twice as many guests this year as last year. (NO, Mr. Trump, the economy is not doing well for everyone!) Also, Hope Within has been given all of the equipment needed to run a dental clinic (there is NO dental care for low-income individuals in northwest Lancaster County), they just need the space to put it."
We are glad there are local people working to create a more fair and just community and we agree especially with this statement from the mission and vision page of their website;" We believe we are all made stronger when we help each other."
Find more about what they do, and how to help at their website
April is tree planting party time. Come join in and help us establish a living fence and/or riparian buffers this month. Bring: proper boots, work gloves, sun hat, water bottle and weather appropriate clothes. Some shovels provided but bring your own if you have a favorite. Participants will get fed a hearty lunch and have time to wander the farm grounds. Details below!
Living fence planting party- April 6th, 9am-3pm Hedges were once, and still are in some places, a common land management practice delineating pastures amongst the commons. Our hedge will grow to be hog tight, provide medicinal hawthorn berries, create wildlife habitat and serve as a wind break.
Riparian buffer planting party- April 20th, 9am-4pm
Come join in and help us plant 300 riparian trees in collaboration with Chesapeake Bay Foundations Keystone 10 Million Tree Project. We'll be planting native species of sycamore, black willow, redbud, river birch, arrow wood, elderberry and tulip poplar.
Riparian buffers are important watershed ecosystems that filter sediments and contaminants from agricultural run off, prevent stream bank erosion, provide wildlife corridors and many other aquatic ecological functions. We'll be establishing riparian buffers on at least 4 sites along our section of Little Chiques creek, some intended to be multifunctional and some to be semi-wild spaces, all with the intention of encouraging a pasture to forested stream connection.