By Marianthe Bickett (’15)
I've arrived back on campus from co-op just in time to wind down the season on the Antioch Farm. I spent my summer on a farm in Washington State, learning to grow in the silty soil and wetter climate of the beautiful Skagit Valley. Fruit does especially well in that climate, and I gorged myself on blueberries, pears, apples and plums. But I am relishing being back in Ohio for the fall, I even teared up a bit when I first landed in Chicago and saw all the golden and red-tinged deciduous leaves. Now I am back at Antioch for my final three terms, and looking forward to continuity in my work on campus and on the farm before graduating in June!
The farm is also exploding with fall colors, thanks to flowering cosmos, marigolds, chicory and yarrow dotting our annual garden, and bright orange and red tomatoes still ripening in our hoop house. Our first frost is on its way, so we are enjoying the last of the summer fruits and focusing our attention on nurturing the scallions, spinach, lettuce, collards, radishes and beets that will grow in our hoop house into the winter.
We raised and slaughtered seven lambs over the summer, and have been enjoying lamb in the dining hall for curries and gyros. The chickens we hatched and raised in the spring are full-grown now, but we have a few too many roosters so those will become soup soon. Roosters can be aggressive towards hens and us, and they don't lay eggs, so we don't like to keep more than one around.
We also now have our up-and-running solar array on the edge of the farm on south campus, which was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting on October 10th. With this, we are securing our investment in relying on renewable energy and getting closer to carbon neutrality for campus. It is incredible to watch all the plans we've discussed over the past three years coming into reality!