Farm Institute campers Juliette Colas and Evan Troost gave tours. Evan stood next to an aerial map of the farm where campers had previously identified plants around the farm, naming clover, oxeye daisies, fleabane and hairy vetch.
“Well that’s actually found right under us,” he said of the purple-flowered cover crop. Juliette pointed out barns, greenhouses and silos with expert commentary.
As a warm summer breeze swept in offf the Great Plains of Katama and sheep and cows grazed under the setting sun, the Farm Institute held its annual Meals in the Meadow event Saturday night. The fundraiser raises money for the institute’s education programs that connect children and adults to sustainable farming practices.
Cocktail hour was for learning. Campers like Juliette and Evan explained a variety of farm practices from composting to chicken husbandry to jam making. Ruby Mercier, 10, showed off a buff orphington breed of chicken. “I like how I get to learn a lot here,” she said. “Right now I’m working with the oxen and helping give rides. I’ve been working with the oxen for three years.”
As guests mingled, plein air artist Brandon Newton painted the Dutch belted galloways in the distance. The painting was one of many silent auction items available.
“We have one goal and one purpose and that’s to connect people of all ages and all circumstances to their food, to illuminate that trail from the dirt to your belly and to make that visible to everyone,” said Farm Institute executive director Jon Previant.
“Every moment on the farm is a teaching moment. Both spiritual and mundane, both scientific and folk art. All farmers, but especially teaching farmers, live and work at this intersection and for us it is another day of practical magic.”