by Susan Cook, Ecosystem Farm Apprentice (an excerpt from Field Notes, week 3) It’s a little after noon and it’s time to eat lunch. I look at my hands and they are caked with dirt. I’ve learned by watching Sky and Becky that one quick and natural way to wash your hands is to pull…Details
by Becky Seward, Ecosystem Farm Manager
(Written to the CSA community and published in this week’s edition of Field Notes.)
I write to you on the tail end of a couple of beautiful days of rain and another gorgeous day of sun and warmth to wick some of that extra moisture off of the field. It has been a truly blessed season here at the Ecosystem Farm; I cannot believe the good fortune we’ve had! I have really enjoyed seeing you all around the community, and have been feeling so welcomed by many of you. Thanks for your support!
The weather has afforded us some nice days to work in the greenhouses and do some substantial weed-pulling. Yesterday I came home filthy from a day of field work, cleaning out a dusty shed, and cutting bamboo. It was a wholly irritating, itchy, yet satisfying discomfort that is so fulfilling to ash off at the end of the day. I was reminded that this is a life that I love, with its balancing act and its never-ending to-do list, for its visceral tasks. The sense of completion that I get from weeding an entire bed comes not only from the fluffy beds that are left behind, but the moist knees and the dirty hands. My father (who is volunteering Tuesdays now!) was reminding me this week that I was always in the dirt as a little girl, with worm collections and bugs in jars left about the house. I have fond memories of dressing up in frilly dresses and tights, only to climb the nearest tree or plop in the nearest mud puddle. It was in these spaces that I felt myself and I suppose, at the time, I was garnering an appreciation for nature that has only grown deeper and more sophisticated as I have grown older.
It has always seemed to me that farming is one of the most people-oriented and timely ways to be a nature lover. It is a profession, serving a human need, that has immense ramifications in both the human and natural world. I see more birds from the tractor than I would from a walk in the woods. After the big rain this week, on Monday we saw two snapping turtles, a few big black snakes, several wild turkeys, as well as the regular sightings of birds of prey and insects. It is a naturalist’s paradise of songbirds alone at the Ecosystem Farm and we have enjoyed sharing our observations with each other as we work each day.
Farming allows me my personal connection with nature every day, as well as my visceral need to be caked in mud, and also a human connection in the most profound way. We not only develop an intimacy with the farm as an ecosystem and the food that we tend with care for you, but that food in turn goes to you for your health and your connection to the land. I hope you feel this care in your box this week!
An excerpt from The Satisfactions of the Mad Farmer by Wendell Berry:Details
Have you been to the farm lately? What’s going on with the Tobacco Barn? If you have walked around the National Colonial Farm lately–perhaps during last weekend’s Children’s Day–you may have noticed something a little off. The tobacco barn is looking a little less than colonial lately as it gets a bit of a face…Details
by Sky Harman, Farm Apprentice She likes flowers. She likes good food. She likes pretty things. She likes to be with her children and grandchildren, but we live far away. Instead I’ll try to give her my thoughts and some words, which I hope might bring joy to her heart and let her know that…Details
This season marks a significant milestone for the Ecosystem Farm at Piscataway Park. For 20 years, through a land-based training program, the farm has been serving the community, providing farmer training, farmland protection and restoration, and local food in a way that advances sustainable land management, economic viability, and social equality among aspiring farmers. Together,…Details
Playing the part of a second grader discovering what “Colonial Farm Life” is all about, last week I followed along on one of this season’s school tours. Each year, several thousand students from throughout the Washington, D.C., metro area arrive at the National Colonial Farm to learn about the history of the land and its…Details
Children’s Day Event Teaches Southern Maryland History and Culture Through an Interactive Outdoor-Learning Experience
For Immediate Release Accokeek, MD–According to the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights proclaimed by Governor Martin O’Malley, all Maryland children “shall have the opportunity to… discover and connect with their natural world… play and learn outdoors… celebrate their culture and heritage.” For more than 50 years, the Accokeek Foundation at Piscataway Park has been…Details
by Polly Festa, Livestock Manager To quote Charles Dickens, “Cows are my passion.” I have been passionate about cows ever since I was a toddler, when my parents would place me in my playpen in the barn while they milked our herd of purebred Jerseys. This was the way of life growing up on…Details
by Colleen Walter, Site Interpreter Last week Matt Mattingly, Manager of the National Colonial Farm and Historic Interpretation, presented a talk to the docents of Gunston Hall entitled “Ordinary Life on the Potomac.” The docents there are most familiar with the life of founding father George Mason and the history of his home, Gunston Hall.…Details
Hidden in a line of trees just off the Pawpaw Trail sits an old wooden fencepost, rotten with age but still wrapped with barbed wire. No longer in use, this lone piece of fence serves now to remind us of the pastures where farmers felled trees and put up their livestock in the decades before…Details