At St. Timothy’s School, an all-girls private high school in Stevenson, MD, just west of Goucher College, the Bon Appétit team is lucky enough to be able to buy from the productive campus farm, called Redlands Farm. Run by two full-time farmers, Sammy Lichtenberg and Adam Clopton, the farm also benefits from many student workers. (All St. Timothy’s students need to participate in a sport of some kind, and working on the farm can count towards students’ sport requirement!)
A few months ago, I teamed up with Sammy to host an event to bring in students who had not already signed up to work on the farm. Once the sports season is over, St. Timothy’s students usually spend the last few weeks of school doing mixed after-school programming, led by Health and Wellness Director Megan Armbruster. Sammy and I turned one of Megan’s Health and Wellness classes into a farm volunteer day!
A group of first-years arrived at Redlands for an afternoon of farm work on the hottest day of the year. Starting in the shade with a lesson on soil health, the farmers talked to students about what qualities they look for in healthy soil, like high levels of organic matter and microscopic life, as well as the issues of topsoil loss and pollution that can occur with unhealthy soil. Then the students helped to build the soils at Redlands by forming a bucket brigade to cover two rows with compost that would later get planted with onions. The afternoon ended with a discussion about how the water used on Redlands makes its way to the Chesapeake, and how the farmers try to keep their soil on the farm while not using chemicals that may pollute the Bay — and then the tired students took a break from the heat to play with the chickens.