There are converted tobacco fields in Kentucky, where now people grow organic produce. There are also homes with multiple garages that have been built on old farm land. People do need to live somewhere, but it would be nice if some of that old farm land were to be preserved.
At Holly Hill Farm, we work hard to preserve the woods, barnyard, salt marsh and growing fields preserved for their current use. The woods have trails for walkers and hikers, birds and deer. The salt marsh holds reeds and habitats. The Ice Pond almost serves as a vernal pool, with its ability to house salamanders and toads throughout the year. The open meadow gives space for the snakes and field mice who roam.
The barnyard is home to our beloved goats, bunny, chickens, donkey and horses who need shelter and space to play and exist. The farm house is a shelter for the farmers, their cat and an office to plan for the new year, and a certified kitchen to cook restorative meals and brew fairly traded coffee and tea.
The growing fields in production have rows of raised soil for arugula, potato and spinach to establish themselves and grow to fruition. We are grateful for this land and work hard to try and protect and not overuse it for our efforts to provide nourishing produce, lovely, beneficial flowers and well-grown herbs for healthy cooking.
We also spend a lot of time teaching about how best to cultivate crops and learn from the environment. Many of the thousands of students who come to Summer Camp, or on a school field trip, learn about the importance of the five things a plant needs (sun, water, space, air and soil) as well as the role that the woods plays in teaching us about decompostition and rich, organic humus providing growth for the trees, shrubs and wild flowers.
“The woods are lovely dark and deep,” I am often fond of saying, with reference to Robert Frost. In an effort to reach more students and would-be enthusiasts young and old, we offer teacher training for school teachers. We teach teachers about organic farming and ways they can incorporate lessons for their classrooms, from kindergarten to high school.
Our teacher training does not include any training in fire arms or school hardening. We seek to arm teachers with the knowledge of how food is grown, of how to excite students to enjoy good food. The teachers too can learn about responsible stewardship of the land.
The Farm is open dawn to dusk for visitors, for any student who wishes to learn, who wish to feel safe and who do not need to fight for safety. We are fortunate in this corner of the country to have congress people who are not beholden to the donations of the NRA. Teachers can come teach here with us for all students and schools can focus on education and learning. If students nation-wide walk out of their classrooms this March in protest and support of stronger gun laws, then hopefully people will listen and change their ways.
Those students can also keep walking to their open space, to the nearby woods or to a growing field, where change can happen, where there is no longer tobacco growing and instead, there is space to learn, plant and grow. Teachers can follow too, so they will not have to attend a training for guns, but participate in training for different weapons of change, like carrots, kale, garlic and beets, weapons of mass nutrition.