Farmer Erin’s Letter From Farm Camp

Camper parents tend to dawdle at drop off. They linger, asking, “Why isn’t there a camp for adults?”  I tell them about our  Farm Camp for Adults, (next class: July 23); they sigh. They want to play. They don’t want to go to the cube farm. They want what their children have: the freedom to explore and enjoy this historic farm. Who can blame them?

One of the most important aspects of Farm Camp is the vibe.  For me, that means creating a sacred place where campers experience deep engagement and deep relaxation. After spending a year at school, the last thing campers need is a rigid schedule. Yet, we do want them to engage in meaningful work and gain an understanding of the importance of good, clean, fair food. So, mornings are about engagement. A farmer may gather campers to move chickens to a new pasture, for instance, while explaining the importance of manure and soil fertility. Or a counselor may lead a foraging expedition for tasty weeds and flowers for the pizzas they make from scratch and cook in the sun oven.  Little bits of information shared as we go.

At lunchtime the vibe shifts. Time for deep relaxation. For some campers, that means an afternoon of play or exploration with newfound friends or exploring the woods, climbing trees, eating lunch in a fort, swimming, reading a favorite book, playing foozeball, hanging out with the counselors, napping, daydreaming. They choose their favorites until we gather for Swap Blanket.

At the end of the day, we gather at Swap to check in and give voice to our desires, then the trading begins. Campers bring items from home (no electronics) that they no longer want to trade for new items, especially found farm treasures like a guinea hen feather or huge squash. This subtle lesson in recycling and sustainability is a mainstay at camp. And proof of its impact was confirmed when a parent reported that her camper squirreled away items all year in anticipation of gathering for Swap again at camp.

You can share in our Camp Vibe every Friday when campers take over our farm stand. They set up the stand, prepare signs, and are so eager to help you choose your food, flowers and treats. One camper has even launched a new gardening product sure to improve your blooms — bunny berry bags. Come see!

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