I’m rich with knowledge, soil, and vitamins at my fingertips: A lady from Maine admits her unconditional love for the Antioch Farm
By Kiersten Savage '16
This is not a farm.
It’s a pipe; a pipe full of organic infusions of experience, that create material and metaphysical sustenance.
Thank you Antioch College/Farm.
My being is nourished, in more ways than I can describe. If you have an ailment, it is Antioch’s environmental investments I would prescribe.
These past few months of my local and lovable co-op have been akin to smoking and relishing in a fine pipe tobacco carefully cultivated for the most smooth and sensual smoking experience. If the inhalation of reputedly life shortening plants isn’t your style, Antioch Farm has been much like a distinguished cheese that my taste buds and the body connected to them owe their inspiration and knowledge too.
In actuality (and perhaps to the benefit of my lungs), it is Antioch Farm’s gorgeous vegetables and fruits that I have been retaining knowledge from and fiercely relishing upon consumption, like hot dogs, almost (I don’t really like hot dogs, just in case you were concerned about my opinion on such things, and if I did, I would go for spicy brown mustard). I feel so lucky to work in a place where I can chill with chickens, tend to baby plants and lambs, and receive income for performing tasks and duties amongst the nature I enjoy. If that isn’t almost ideal, I’m not sure what is, but then again I’m unsure about most things. This uncertainty makes life and learning that much more exciting; in a positive way of course. The farm is a motivating place; the bees business and work ethic drive one to levels of productivity one was not sure of their capability of reaching.
This morning I was reaching up to the limbs of an older apple tree, I thinned the green and spherical once-blooms, in hopes of a better crop this fall. This meditative task left me feeling content and excited at the apple’s development over the next few months, and my eventual gain of crunchy sweetness.
The farm offers a variety of tasks that I find stimulating due to the duties’ differences. I am allowed to sort of experiment with growing styles, bed structures, animal interactions (of course the most beneficial and humane sort of actions), while adhering to guidance and recommendations for the more precedent tasks and their attached methods. Creative projects and research of personal interests applicable to growing and sustainably producing useful organic items are strongly encouraged on the farm. I love that it exists for our educational and sustainable/environmental benefit and allows us to enjoy a myriad of jobs.
The diversity of projects makes my mind buzz and my heart sing, since I am likely to get silly if I feel stuck. The farm is a place for growth (and learning of course), of vegetables, mind, body (my muscles have grown, wow!) and what some might say of a spiritual connectedness to the living and dying things in Antioch’s biosphere. Yes, Antioch has a designated “biosphere of awesome.”
Speaking of awesome (yes, it does bring me awe), some of my favorite and most inspiring learning experiences on Antioch Farm have been my interactions with our animals and the development of our food forest. To witness the transformation of an abandoned patch of weeds (well, it was probably more than that, but for dramatic purposes) into a permacultural space with fruit and nut trees, medicinal herbs, aromatic tea greens, and abundant spices. Our food forest has bolted this season into a more mature and varied garden. We now have perennials of lavender, lemon mint, lemon catnip, echinacea, lovage, thyme, and chamomile. We plan to add more before the cold comes.
Some of these herbs I hadn’t heard of previously, like lovage. I can appreciate its name, although many may not like it, since it is similar in taste to celery. It can be used in dishes and is great for broth or tea (in its tea form, it is reportedly good for digestion and can act as an antiseptic.) Oh the wonders of the natural world are infinite! On a side note, celery needs more lovage, not enough people appreciate it. Please excuse my tangential tendencies. I am very proud to have been a part of The farm’s continued development and educational experiences. I have learned so much, about plant identification, uses, their care, and sustainable practices for the cultivation of food and medicinal plants.
It is a beautiful thing when one can walk two minutes from their dorm to get some comfrey to make a salve with, or pick some bee balm to add to their black tea, or take a few peas for an afternoon snack. The farm’s creative spaces, inhabited by animals, herbs, and vegetables remind me of why studying life and its many grand and chock-full-silos-of subjects and knowledge is so important and enjoyable. The farm inspires my academics and my academics inspire my love for this planet, this place, and the people I share it with.
In essence, I have so much love for my Antioch Farm experience.