Saturday, September 3, 2011

Phoenix rising from the ashes

Classic photo of the eternal Miller Farm :)

This is the first Miller Farm blog entry for over a year now, and there is so much to talk about! Here's a very short recap of what's been up for the past year and a half. Last school year students living at Miller Farm kept up with the traditional activities: tapping sap; hosting workshops on cheese making, yogurt making, etc.; organizing the halloween party; producing fresh produce; hosting weekly farm day; and spending night in the loft of the barn. We also started some new projects, most notably hosting the Boys and Girls Club Green Eaters after-school group at the farm, which included growing food and cooking healthy meals together. Having kids around the farm is a blast! It was very refreshing to be exposed to such honesty and passion for the simple things that we take for granted (amazement at seeing planted seeds grow into something we could all eat). We also established a new bee colony and they are buzzing along happily as I write this. There were also a lot of visitors - parents, siblings, grandparents, and community members. Here's a picture from the school year of 2010-2011 which includes a lot of parents and farmers in the rain:

One downside to last year were problems with the farm's septic system. Essentially, sewage was leaking on to the back yard of the farm near the main back garden, causing worry for health (cats included) and knowledge that it was a problem that needed to be fixed by the college. Three interns were supposed to be living at the farm over the summer, but due to the septic issue the college would not allow students to live on the grounds and the interns had to live on campus. Despite promises that a new septic would be installed by the fall semester of 2011, students were informed a week before moving in that the septic was not completed and we would not be able to live at the farm during the fall semester. It has been a struggle to rise from the ashes, but Miller Farmers are still maintaining weekly ag meeting, farm day, communal meals, and we are hopeful that the septic will be fixed in the near future. Until then, we will keep farming, upholding a space for students and Richmond community members to explore their interests in agriculture, sustainable living, and community building. We also have a new advisor, James Farmer, who is the assistant director of the Center for Environmental Action, a new department at Earlham. He is a regular attender of ag meeting and has been an advocate for us in these unsure times.

And now, some pictures from the summer!

Bees! Last year Nathan Jones helped us establish our beehive.

Yoni and Dan Turner doing a hive check.

The herb garden/flower island in its pre-growth stages.

A nice view of the mulched pathways in the herb garden.

The cardboard in the garden was used to suppress weeds before planting.

Summer farm interns working in the "secret garden."

Kale and basil growing behind the bike shed next to the hops.

Rosalyn and Felix, who's new to the cat community.

This is our first picture from the fall! During our first farm day after weeding like madmen we ate pizza that was made in our cob oven! Songs were sang, jokes were told, and wonderful times were had. The theme was "Phoenix Farm Day," and we all rose from the ashes of sadness about people not being able to live at the farm and channeled that energy to working hard and coming together as a community. Good times to come in the future! Stay tuned!

Love and Light, Miller Farm

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

Hey farmers! That's awesome to hear! It was upsetting to find out that y'all can't live there this semester - the septic tank was an issue back when I was there (2000-2003). Keep breathing that great new life into the farm. Please give me a shout if there's anything an alum can do. The place looks great and I wish y'all the best.