Spring has finally chased much of the cool, frosty mornings from our path and Timpson Creek Farm is ready to grow. Our hoophouses are full, our greenhouse is full, and new things are hitting the soil out in our cultivated annual crop fields. We’re experiencing some typical soggy Spring days and while we have to maneuver through them carefully, we are grateful that the life giving rains have returned to the Appalachians. As the Earth rolls from the digestive nature of winter into the abundant, expansive energy of the growing season, we are once again running just to keep up. Our hands are full of projects leftover from winter pursuits added to the everyday striving of our landscape into complexity and abundance. Before we know it we will be weeding and mowing constantly and managing continual harvests.
This past week was especially productive as we welcomed Elon University students who came onto the farm for a week of ecological adventures, farm work, Biodynamics and Alternative Agriculture curriculum, and Volunteership all in the name of Service Learning. This unique and gifted group of students chose to come to the farm to learn about living systems during their Spring Break, instead of drinking mojitos on the beach or couch surfing at their parents’ house. Each morning started with class where we analyzed the archetypes of the Universe and the building blocks of living systems. We explored the ways we can mimic natural communities in the region where we grow our crops to create sustainable systems that require limited inputs and produce holistic, healthy foods.
We were fortunate enough to have Kimberly Coburn, Director of The Homestead Atlanta come and connect these rhythms to that of societal norms and interpersonal relationships. With Kimmy, we explored how our human society is in fact a living system that operates similarly to that of an ecological system and we were all given some coping strategies for aspects of our human experience that feel overwhelming or seem out of our personal control.
The students also got the opportunity to visit Cara Lee Langston, the Director of the Teaching Kitchen located at the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. Cara gave the students a tour of these incredible facilities, space which has been converted from a grocery store into a dynamic and crucial food hub. Following the tour, we volunteered for the afternoon, sorting donations into boxes that would be distributed to other food banks in Georgia. The Volunteer coordinator Robin told us that the work we did in 45 minutes would have taken a handful of volunteers a day or more to complete, and the students left knowing their actions made a difference.
Throughout the week, students got to participate in most every level of our food system, from planting seeds and applying Biodynamic Preparations, to potting up herbs, to building a hoophouse and volunteering at the food bank. Together we cultivated a great appreciation for where our food comes from and the natural systems necessary to see that system can find balance. We were inspired by the commitment each student made to completing farm tasks, working as a team, and relating their new experiences to their own fields of study. We miss them already and can’t wait to see the beautiful gifts they will bring this world.
Interested in signing your Group, Institution, School, or Camp up for an Agriculture Intensive? Contact us today and let’s make a plan to bring agriculture and ecology into the learning experience.