By Kat Christen, Antioch Farm manager
The first snow blanketed the farm in October, marking the end of the Antioch Farm’s second growing season. Since January, we have harvested over 5,500 pounds of fresh produce, provided 150 pounds pastured lamb, and collected over 1,000 eggs. Thanks to our fifteen dedicated students, whom have worked on the farm since January, we have had a very successful season!
Our hoop house, under the leadership of Charlotte Pulitzer ‘16, is still producing cold hardy crops like lettuce, Asian greens and Swiss chard for the dining hall. The hoop house is entirely passive, using no electricity. On warm, sunny days, the sides of the hoop house are rolled up manually to allow cooling. On a sunny 50 degree day, the hoop house can reach 90 degrees inside!
What do farmers do in the fall? Many things! For example, our eight student farm assistants are busy harvesting and caring for cold season crops, building new beds with our own compost, removing trellises and debris, caring for chickens and ducks, planting trees, and much more. Keegan Nicols-Smith ’17, one of our new farm assistants this term, enjoys sheet-mulching garden beds, that is layering them with newspaper, compost, then straw to prepare them for spring planting. This is a no-till, worm-friendly method commonly employed on the Antioch Farm.
Wendell Berry, famous author and sustainable agriculture advocate, honored our campus with a visit on November 4th. Farm assistant, Charlotte Pulitizer ’16 helped bring Mr. Berry and introduced him to a gathering of students, staff and faculty, including many students that work on the Antioch Farm. During the session, which was in a question and answer format, Mr. Berry made insightful connections between literature, social and environmental justice, and sustainable farming.