By Kat Christen, Antioch Farmer
The farm has sprung to life in the last two months. We continue to build the soil fertility, which is an ongoing process. We have been laying down thick layers of crushed campus leaves and compost from both the Antioch Kitchen vegetable scrapes and local horse manure. The unseasonal temperatures and dryness have presented some challenges, requiring a lot more watering of crops, poultry, and humans. However, for its first growing season, the farm is doing great.
We harvest twice weekly, all of the produce going to student dining in Antioch Kitchen. Students assist with harvesting, rinsing, weighing, and storing produce. We have been able to provide almost all the salad and cooking greens needed this spring. Other crops harvested include peas, beans, carrots, beets, turnips, herbs, summer squash, and scallions. The first tomatoes are just ripening and we expect an abundance of tasty heirloom varieties by the end of July.
Eighty-five poultry for meat and eggs currently live on the Antioch Farm. These include ducks and chickens. Forty laying hens will reach maturity by autumn, providing the estimated egg need for all the students. Currently, most are foraging in a patch of winter wheat planted as a cover crop last fall. They are able to knock down the stalks and eat most of the grain as a supplement to their organic feed.
The farm was well integrated into Alumni Weekend this year. During the week prior, eight to ten alumni volunteers helped out by weeding, planting, mulching, and making paths. There were some tough 70-year-olds in this crowd! During the weekend, lunch was served adjacent to the farm, and tours were run every ten minutes. Approximately 100 alums toured the farm. Lots of alumni were excited about the new farm. Twenty-four pastured, slow-growth chickens along with some greens from the Farm were served during the weekend.
Student Farm Interns
Two admitted students, Alexander Schlosser ’16 and IdaLease Cummings ’16, started as interns late June. They are part of the newly developed intern program in which students or others can work on the farm in exchange for room and board. The interns also volunteer one day a week in the Glen, mostly helping George Bieri with honeysuckle removal. Students will participate until late September, before they begin classes. This is a win-win arrangement, as the students get to experience the farm and meet current students while the farm gets the help it needs for the summer. A similar, though much shorter, experience is also available to two new admitted students for two weeks just before fall classes start.