Mountain School students are an integral part of a very productive, small diversified organic farm. Students engage in meaningful work and develop a realistic perspective on farming through daily jobs that are essential to keeping the farm running.
Fall semester students harvest and process tens of thousands of pounds of vegetables and fruit from our four-acre garden, help to rotate the cows and sheep from pasture to pasture, harvest apples from our orchard and make apple cider, care for the turkeys, chickens and pigs that will feed the school over the following year, and make tea blends with fresh herbs from the tea garden. Spring students make maple syrup, assist with lambing, harvest greens from the greenhouses, feed and care for the barn animals, prune the apple orchard and help to plant the garden that a new group of students will harvest in the fall. Students in both semesters cut firewood that will heat our buildings through the winter. Through these jobs, students acquire a deeper understanding of manual labor, a strong work ethic, and what it takes to put food on the table.
Eat What You Grow & Grow What You Eat
Most of the food served in our dining hall is grown right here on campus. The farm produces highly nutritious food, scaled to meet the school's full consumption needs, while also maximizing the diversity of food produced. This amounts to nearly one hundred different kinds of fruits and vegetables totaling around thirty-five thousand pounds per year. We also produce 100% of our meat, eggs, and maple syrup. The kitchen strives to use as much of what we produce as possible. Many of our graduates say that living the eat what you grow philosophy sparked a life-long awareness of where their food comes from and an appreciation for the value of their own labor.
Besides participating in the daily work of this farm, students are exposed to a wide range of agricultural practices in our weekly farm seminar. During recent seminars, students have learned about local beekeeping practices, explored their personal food values, practiced their sheep midwifery skills, debated genetically engineered crops, and discussed the predicament of migrant farm workers. They have also grappled with broader issues of agricultural policy: What does it mean to farm sustainably? What is the true meaning of the word organic? Is food a human right? While they are here, students meet local dairy farmers and vegetable growers, hear their stories, and visit their farms. Students also have the option to visit a local slaughter house and witness the meat cutting process.