After our long cold snowy winter, spring is finally in the air. We've had significant snowmelt in the past few days thanks to sudden warm temperatures. Puddles and mud are everywhere—much to our ducks delight, and we can finally get back to shoveling compost and mulch to make beds and paths ready for planting.
Anthea Van Geloven ’17 has been in charge of our nursery, starting all the little seedlings that will go into our greenhouse and garden as things warm up. Our environmental science class has also helped start seedlings for the perennial herb layer of our food forest extension, including medicinal herbs that sheep enjoy such as wormwood and sorrel so they can happily forage in the understory.
Snowy weather has meant lots of indoor projects. Leo Brandon ’17 and Ian Rosenthal ’17 have been using their media experience to craft a video for our website about the Antioch Farm, its progress in the last two-and-a-half years, and where we want it to go from here.
Sam Senzak ’15 has been researching chick incubation in order to raise our own chicks from eggs this spring, and Leo and Sam have also been working to repair our sheep shelter for the new lambs that will arrive soon. Keegan Smith-Nichols ’17 is always busy running our compost program, and has also craftily turned honeysuckle branches into some beautiful hooks for our shed so it stays more organized.
Along with nursery duty, Anthea has been researching hardy disease-resistant varieties of apples that do well in this area, as Ohio’s climate is notoriously difficult for organic fruit production. We were also all able to enjoy a lamb tasting, trying the two different varieties that we raised last year. The consensus was that the both were delicious, but the Dorper-Katahdin sheep were a bit gamier than the Tunis sheep.
Another exciting winter activity is always the annual Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association conference in Columbus. This year five students and five staff members attended. They were particularly inspired by workshops on aquaponics and small-scale nut production, and excited to share the information and networking gathered at the conference.