The Slow Unfolding of SpringIt may seem that spring is unfolding ever so slowly – the cold nights and harsh winds make us long for the warmth that usually accompanies May; but not this year it seems.  Spring, however, is being felt abundantly in all corners of our school, campus, and fields. Baby goats, Lucky and Clover have now left their pen to head outdoors under the watchful eye of their mother Hope; the baby chicks that the Sustick family have taken such beautiful care of are now in their coop at school, feeling increasingly adventurous with each passing day; the sheep and cows have been let out into the green pastures, delighting that they can now eat fresh grass and flowers and no more winter hay!

Four nucleus colonies of honeybees were hived last week and we are delighting in the sound of their flight to and from our apiary, and the knowledge that they are bringing their bee essence and wisdom back onto our land. The barn swallows who were raised under the eaves of our cow barn last summer have now returned from the south and are rebuilding their nest for the next generation.

But there has also been a new shift in our agricultural work at Hartsbrook this spring, brought about by this unique situation. We understood early on in this crisis that we did not want to miss a whole agricultural year and are working not only towards having many of our Land Stewardship Program elements in place for when we welcome our students back in the fall, but also finding ways to support our school and wider community.

The Hartsbrook School sits in a unique position with its resources of land and its active agricultural arts curriculum. We believe that food insecurity will become a significant problem as our local communities struggle with this economic downturn, and so we have adjusted our agricultural work this summer to focus on growing as much food as possible and which will become available not only to our school community but also for distribution to local food banks and organizations.

Our greenhouse is filling up fast with vegetable transplants waiting to be set out into our 3-Sisters Garden and Hill Top Fields once the season warms a bit. Already with the help of our assistants, we have planted an acre of early-season crops. There will be much hand work needed to support these crops over the summer, and it is also our wish that our school community may become part of our working volunteer crew. It is also our hope and expectation that we will have a considerable supply of fresh produce to share with our school and wider community.
More to come!

Sending you warmest greetings,

Nicki Robb
Director of Land Stewardship

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