The Hartsbrook School

High School Service Learning Week ~ Farm Service

This group traveled to Brookfield Farm where we spent part of our time interviewing farmers and part of our time harvesting carrots, which was “way more fun” than the students had expected. Students loved hearing the stories of the farmers we met who had not been exposed to farm work during their childhoods, but had discovered it at college, or while working in other jobs. They were impressed by the way those young farmers had worn different hats, had tried out different things, and had come to their work at Brookfield with real purpose. Over the course of the week, students heard important lessons, which they noted in their journals: you don’t have to be an expert at something to do it; it’s never too late to follow your dreams. The farmers also raised larger issues, namely ones related to labor, gender, and farm work. In reflection of their own work in the fields, students noted the joy and happiness of a small crew working together, the emotional and mental benefits that come with immersing yourself in manual labor. They noted the smell of carrots, the beauty of the landscape. They appreciated the hard work that farmers do every day to feed us. And they were satisfied to see the direct results of their physical work: at the end of the week, filling a corner of the root cellar, were 6,000 pounds of carrots—the carrots we had helped to harvest, and which will find their ways into the kitchens and ovens and soups and stews of Brookfield Farm CSA members through the long winter. ~Ethan Myers, High School Humanities
and Mary Kay Costello, Science and Math

I really love hearing the stories of the apprentices—each one is so different, yet they have all come to this same point of being. There’s something powerful about being in the present, in the now. Such a purposeful work, being a farmer. Such intention and heart that goes into harvesting the produce that will benefit, feed, nourish so many. ~Sylvana, 12th grade

…Their bodies were essential for farming, it’s where all of our strength comes from, and we need to take care of and fuel our bodies. I noticed that the land and chatting with the farmers has made me more aware and more mindful of what these farmers do. It was an amazing experience! ~Kara, 10th grade

There is something special about having a conversation across a row of carrots while the sunshine warms your wind-chilled cheeks! ~Lila, 12th grade

There was so much joy while we worked. It distracted me from everything but what I was doing, and it was great. Although I was cold, I almost didn’t mind. ~Faith, 9th grade

The farmers were so joyful and happy and motivating every morning. They had so much knowledge and they came from completely different backgrounds. They come together as a community, and they work on giving back to our community. ~Sylvie-Grace, 11th grade