Farm to Forest: An Educational Land Stewardship Initiative
The Farm to Forest educational initiative rests on a stewardship philosophy that nature comprises a shifting mosaic of working landscapes and sacred wilderness. Our land-based educational projects and curricula acknowledge the role of humans as active stewards of the land. We help students move beyond the artificial separation between areas that supply resources for daily consumption and those that serve as spiritual refuge to which we can escape. Any choice humans make has an impact on the environment, thus we must intentionally manage for a diversity of ecosystem services. Instead of managing our land in isolated units: garden, orchard, pasture, campus, and forest, with our newly created curriculum students explore ways to manage the entire property holistically.
Our comprehensive conservation program safeguards water resources, increases habitat resiliency, encourages target species, promotes recreation, and sequesters carbon while advancing empowering alternatives to fossil fuels. We have also moved beyond the traditional grief-based model of advocating pollution mitigation into an exciting realm of regenerative design. Students discover that environmental problems can be solved not merely via alleviation, but also by means of the creative concepts that synergistically and holistically improve health and well-being.
Other elements of the Farm to Forest Initiative: Farm to Table Class, Garden and Orchard, Environmental Science Class
Recent Press about our Farm to Forest Program: Gold Rush: Hands-on sustainability in the Sierra Foothills, Woolman teacher awarded $10k Audubon Society grant, Stinky compost, bug hunts and dirt diggin' fun, Planting the seed to grow up strong, healthy
We are grateful to the following organzations for their genoursous grants supporting our Farm to Forest Initiative: Toyota Audobon TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Program, Strawberry Creek Meeting Dime-A-Gallon Project
Woolman's Farm and Orchard
Woolman’s orchard was first established by conscientious objectors during the war-torn 1960s, in a gesture that echoes biblical connections between orchard-planting and peace. Today we think of those brave people as we prune their trees every spring and harvest the fruit in the fall; the several dozen apple and pear trees yield abundant fruit for our school community, both fresh and preserved. Last fall, for instance, students and staff harvested nearly two thousand pounds of fruit. Besides eating hundreds of pounds fresh and cooked, we also canned more than twenty-one gallons of apple sauce, ten gallons of pear sauce, and a gallon of quince sauce, and pressed dozens of gallons of cider. In the last year we have planted over 50 additional fruit and nut trees, ensuring diverse harvests for future decades.
Our 1.5-acre farm consists mainly of vegetables and fruits that are grown for the Woolman Semester kitchen and for a variety of educational purposes. We did not have to order produce from off-campus sources because of the bounty of our harvest from August until December! We also have an experiential Farm-to-Table class for semester students that focuses on the current food movement and philosophies of farming and cooking. In addition, we host multiple elementary school groups every week, giving them the opportunity to experience where food comes from and get their hands dirty digging for potatoes.
Here is the link to a newspaper article about those programs: Stinky compost, bug hunts and dirt diggin' fun. In addition to these younger audiences, recent college graduates come to participate in our year-long Community Internship program during which they experience a whole year of growing food, from planting to harvesting to cooking. During the summer we facilitate a 6 share CSA for members of the Quaker meeting here on campus.
Our new 9000 sq. ft. permaculture inspired edible forest garden contains over 100 species of fruits, nuts, berries, and herbs.
We are also very greatful to the following incredible organizations and nurseries who have generously donated over $2000 worth of trees, shrubs, and vines for our garden and orchard: Adams County Nursery, Burnt Ridge Nursery, Clifton's, Indiana Berry, Oikos Tree Crops, Reeseville Ridge Nursery, Rolling River Nursery, Sierra Gold Nurseries, Trees of Antiquity, Van Well Nursery, Whitman Farms