erik jacobs and dina rubick
The place I call home these days is The FarmSchool, a fertile 180-acre strip of ridge top in Athol, where 15 student-farmers are spending a year learning the ins and outs of growing food, managing forests, and raising animals for meat. I arrived at the farm in October, just as the leaves were reaching their peak brilliance. The Farm School — which offers three-day programs for schoolchildren, a summer camp, a full-time middle school, and the apprenticeship program I’m in — takes us through all seasons of farming, weaving together class work and on-farm training.
First time farmers plan for the growing season and lambing.
A would-be farmer finds chills and perspective during a long winter on the farm.
Fasting is a great way to cleanse the body and to tune it in for the changing seasons. In today’s world, toxins can leave the body feeling weighed down and sluggish, but with a little fasting know-how, toxins can be removed and no one needs to be a nutritionist, a doctor, or plastic surgeon to do it. Following a fast, the body and mind will experience a natural high, bringing with it motivation and healthier lifestyle decisions.
Homegrown, homemade pumpkin pies are becoming the starting event to the holiday season. This year we turned 8 winter luxury squash into pumpkin pie mix.
Homemade cough syrup made with on-site elderberries and locally produced honey.
I, alone, am no one. I do not grow food. I do not water the garden. I do not photosynthesize. I do not put the life force in the soil. I do not make the seed. A natural force other than I is responsible for all this. That same natural force uses this body I like to consider my own to garden.
Pennsylvania is under federal quarantine due to the threat of Emerald Ash Borers. Raising awareness and getting the facts are important. However, getting to the root of the problem may be as simple as supporting local food systems.
How to acquire bat guano.
Bat guano has been used as an organic fertilizer for many centuries and bats act as an organic alternative to insecticides. Many factors have played a role in the reduction of global bat populations, from inappropriate bat guano mining to the spread of white nose syndrome and today awareness must be raised about what people can do to protect bats and their habitats. By integrating local bat colonies into local food systems and changing misconceptions about bats, bat populations and bat guano will remain steady and available for centuries to come.
Winter down-time from the garden is the best time for planning what vegetables you want to grow in the upcoming season. Having the seeds ready and knowing when to plant them can minimize the chaos in spring and maximize harvests in fall. It’s all about getting ready now.
Compost happens, yes. But if food scraps are thrown into a pile and left to rot, a hot smelly mess may be taking over. That’s because the process of composting is a symbiotic relationship between carbon and nitrogen. Or at our home, cardboard and food scraps.
Support your local food systems while getting the most from your home garden.
Growing lettuce and other leafy greens indoors with an aeroponic system in a south-facing window seems like a wise move, especially during this long, snowy winter. Here I will explain the basics of growing greens with an aeroponic system, starting off with the initial expenses and moving on to pH and nutrient solution. Then I’ll hope the sun provides enough life-giving rays long enough each day to grow some leafy greens.
Learning how to make a soil block is a simple skill capable of permitting one to become involved within their local CSA or farm. It can also be a great way to meet local farmers, reduce CSA membership fees, and learn about organic gardening. Before each seed is sowed it must have a soil block to grow in. Being part of that initial step brings great joy.