Our Farm and Garden
Often cited as a highlight of the NCS experience, the farm and garden program does much more than provide opportunities for real work. At the barn, students learn about and care for a variety of farm animals under the careful guidance of farm staff. Every morning and afternoon as part of daily work jobs, students feed and water horses and other animals, muck out stalls, collect and wash chicken eggs. They learn the lessons of life’s natural rhythms—the birth of a lamb, the loss of chickens to predators, the power of disease—as well as respect for all earth’s creatures.
Students also gain a broad understanding of the full cycle of growing, the benefits of local food sources, and practices of sustainable living—all from direct experience. Students help transplant seedlings from the greenhouses to the gardens, prepare soil, weed, and harvest throughout the season. In Edible Schoolyard classes, students make salads from lettuces they harvested, prepare pesto from our own basil, and make cheese from our goats’ milk. After every meal, dining room waiters separate food scraps for either the pigs or the compost pile.
All-school traditions like potato and chicken harvests in the fall and collecting sap for the on-campus production of maple syrup in spring involve students in accomplishing important jobs on the farm. They also show vividly that much work is best completed by many hands, building community in the process. Lastly, they give students a well-earned sense of accomplishment and a first-hand understanding of what it takes to produce fresh food.
See also the NCS Farm & Place-Based Curriculum Guide