Everyone out at the farm survived the minor setback into winter earlier this week, with sunny 60 degree weather one day and snow blanketing campus the next. I think spring is finally going to stick around this time, and the sun and green and warmth are delicious after the long cold winter we've had. It is high time to get things in the ground—potatoes, kale, beets, cabbage, collard greens, swiss chard, peas, and lettuce can all get planted before the last possible frost date. Garlic that stayed dormant all winter is sending green stalks out from the beds of straw, and we've been harvesting lots of salad and cooking greens weekly from our hoop house.
More light also means our chickens and ducks are back to laying lots of eggs for the dining hall. New baby chicks arrived a few days ago and are happily skittering around their home in the Trailside Museum. This year we are also incubating eggs from our own chickens, so we will have a full house of new egg-layers soon.
It is amazing how much the farm has transformed in the last two weeks with the onset of warm weather and three full-time students dedicated to its care. We have three co-op students for spring quarter, Jessica Steinruck '17, Misha Krotov '17 and Aubrey Hodapp '17. They are in their second week of work and all enthusiastic to be digging in the dirt, gaining lots of new experience and learning.
Within the different areas of the farm (hoop house, annual garden, food forest, nursery, animals and compost) the co-op students are able to choose particular areas of interest, which they are responsible for during their three-month tenure.
Jessica has had other farm experience, but is excited with the amount of autonomy this has allowed, giving her a greater feeling of investment and ownership over her work. Today she was in the food forest planting some of the understory herbs, excited that she could use her best judgment to select the row placement. This is something I've also greatly appreciated working at the Antioch Farm, and part of the luxury of learning on a farm dedicated to education as well as production.