November on the Antioch Farm

By: Ruthie Lane '17

We are on our way out of the fall weather. Though we are still experiencing some of the bright sun-shiny days of October, the wind blows harsher and I have added at least one more layer of sweaters to my farm-wear to protect myself from the chill. Though the farm staff is as usually busily moving from task to task while they prepare for the cold weather, the garden itself is being put to rest for the season, becoming still. The garlic is tucked warmly under a blanket of fresh straw. The row covers snugly secured over the tiny scallion seeds burrowed in their neatly hoed dirt bed. Sage, ferns, and tea herbs have been added to the ecosystem in the food forest and we eagerly await their arrival in the spring.

As the beds are put to rest and the seeds tucked in, the farm staff has begun to turn our attention towards building projects, the the new annual garden fence, the construction of a new coop for our chickens, and maybe a more permanent harvest shelter.

While out in the field our attention has turned towards building and protection from the cold, it is another world in the hoop house. Entering there is a scene of spring. The warmth of the heat trapped by the plastic structure is a wonderful refuge from the blustery wind that often wipes through the field. Fresh greens appear in the raised beds: Corn Salad, arugula, and other salad greens that sprout up from where our spring greens had dropped their seeds. Tatsoi, mizuna, pac choi, and spinach that were planted mid-late October begin to take their forms as distinctly different little plants.

The feeling of excitement from the springy growth in the hoop house is complemented by the warm engagement of the community that I have seen this past quarter. Because I am co-oping on the farm, I have been able to spend a bit of time there each day and during this time I have been more fully exposed to the connection of the Antioch Farm to the greater Antioch community. Though I have always known it as a place of positive and continual growth, this quarter I have had the chance to see the farm more in its entirety. I have seen volunteer students, staff, and faculty show up to harvest with the farm staff on Wednesday, naturalists from Glen Helen’s Outdoor Education Center help us with our planting projects, and classes contribute and use the space for research and inquiry. I have heard and participated in conversations that have sparked and strengthened networks between people and departments on campus using the farm as a platform for collaboration and innovation. Seeing this community participation and the symbiotic relationship of the farm and the rest of the Antioch community it is clear that the farm is a crucial resource and space that can greatly enrich Antioch in many ways. I am so excited to see the growth that will take place this upcoming spring not only with our little seeds, but also within our Antioch community.