Author Archive: Alexis Campbell

Horn Farm Happenings – February 09, 2024

 

Learning from the Land & Our Partners

Last weekend we had a basket-full of fun and hands-on learning during our first Agroforestry Work & Learn – a collaborative educational program thanks to our friends from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural ResourcesPenn State Extension, and Foggy Blossom Farm.

Below pristine blue skies, we hosted farmers, land stewards, community organizers, and curious folks from all around our region for a full day of education in the Horn Farm’s multifunctional riparian buffers and demonstration fields.

Over the course of the day, participants had an opportunity to:

  • Learn the nitty-gritty of planting, growing, coppicing, bundling, and sorting basketry willow while partaking in our annual coppice work.
  • Explore our riparian buffer and learn how to use native species for live staking (or planting new plants from cuttings). Take-homes included!
  • See a glimpse of check dams, Zuni bowls, and other earthworks that use site-sourced materials for land restoration.
  • Enjoy a special session from western PA-based Foggy Blossom Farm on taking willows from tree to basket!

It was a great day for sowing inspiration and weaving together folks from across PA (and beyond!) interested in the creative and restorative potential of agroforestry.

Interested in learning more about working with coppice trees? Join the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay at the Horn Farm Center for an in-person demonstration of the process of livestaking.

Click the link here to learn more and register for this free learning opportunity!


Commissioners Share Support for the Farmhouse Rebuild 

This past week, York County Commissioners – President Commissioner Julie Wheeler, Vice President Commissioners Scott Burford,  and Commissioner Doug Hoke – visited the Horn Farm Center to discuss the Farmhouse Rebuild Project.

After touring the building, which has been stripped, stabilized and protected since the fire, we shared our plans for transforming the 1840s residence into highly functional and energy-efficient classroom and office spaces. We also discussed some of the unexpected hurdles we faced during the design phase of the project, which have included:

  • unusual design challenges related to retrofitting a historic brick building to be highly energy efficient;
  • volatility within the construction market;
  • and the long timeline necessary for thoughtful planning and fundraising.

Despite these surprises along the way, Murphy & Dittenhafer and our rebuild team completed construction documents for a newly retrofitted facility at the end of last year. We are now focusing on raising funds to start construction.

The farmhouse has always stood as an iconic symbol of the Horn Farm and our important mission to heal the land and educate our community. We are eager to see the farmhouse become that once again when the project is completed. During their visit, each Commissioner shared their excitement and support for preserving and revitalizing this historic landmark.

Learn more about the Farmhouse Rebuild Project.


Join Our Land Steward Crew

Do you love getting your hands dirty and working outdoors? Do you have experience with landscaping or lawn maintenance? Are you interested in learning about regenerative farming and ecological restoration?

We’re seeking a part-time, seasonal land steward to help staff, renting farmers, and volunteers manage the Horn Farm property.

Activities include: mowing and weed whacking, trail maintenance, weeding and monitoring restoration sites, tool upkeep, leading volunteer workdays, and supporting HFC community events.

This position is seasonal, lasting from May to October 2024. Perks include flexible working hours, seasonal produce and foraged goods, and free tuition for HFC classes beyond the term of the position.

Consider joining our crew this summer and apply soon!

Click here to learn more


Save the Date: Spring Plant Sale

Dreaming of spring? So are we! Mark your calendars for the Horn Farm Center’s 12th Annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 4th, 2024 from 9AM to 3PM.

If you’ve shopped with us before, you know it’s going to be a great time!

Stop by and shop from a wide variety of organically grown vegetable, herb and flower starts. The sale will also offer trees, shrubs, grasses, herbaceous perennials, and a unique selection of native plants.

Click here to learn more about the Plant Sale


A Legacy of Growing in Community

In 2009, the Horn Farm Center launched the Community Gardens at the Horn Farm because our founding members believed that everyone should have access to fresh, home-grown foods. Since then, Horn Farm’s 101 community garden plots have been a source of nourishment, connection, and community for hundreds of local gardeners.

The Horn Farm Community Gardens remain a cornerstone of our programatic offerings today. Plots are currently open and available for registration!

Each plot measures approximately 20′ x 20′, and gardens are open for use from April 1st through October 31st. As a regenerative farm, we ask that gardeners follow organic and ecologically-guided gardening practices–more info is available at the registration link below.

Looking back on our 20 year history, we are so thankful to those that had the foresight to establish a collaborative space for cultivating healthy food and community. Join our deep-rooted community of local gardeners- reserve your plots!

Take a look at the 2009 Merchandiser article announcing the Community Garden project! You can see some of Horn Farm Center’s founding members, many of whom still support the organization today: the late June Evans (front), David Dietz, Paul McCleary, Mike Flinchbaugh, Steve and Mary Presto (left to right). 

Click here to Become a Community Gardener

Horn Farm Happenings – January 26, 2024

Homesteading Education: A Throwback

Between 2013 and 2016, Horn Farm Center’s Homesteading Education Day was an annual community gathering where visitors participated in demonstrations, talks, and workshops focused on common and forgotten homesteading skills, such as cottage gardening, growing fiber and dye plants, food preservation, homemade soap, candles, cheeses, and more.

We are paying homage to Homesteading Education Day by offering homesteading-themed topics throughout 2024. Check out our Homesteading Education “throwback” classes below:

And, we have much more to come later this spring and fall! Stay tuned and we will share more opportunities for you to get back to those homesteading skills.

Help us celebrate our 20th Anniversary this year by enjoying special programs that harken back to a popular event remembered by many in our community!

Click here to Register for Homesteading Programs


10 Acres Planted: We Did It!

Helping nature thrive is an ongoing commitment, but at the end of 2023, we celebrated a huge milestone!

After four years of thoughtful planning, ambitious planting, and tireless stewardship, we’ve finished planting our 10-acre multifunctional riparian buffer restoration project, called Regenerative Farmscape East.

What is a riparian buffer and what makes ours “multifunctional?” Check out 2023 blog series, For the Whole Stream to explore the importance of stream-side environments and how we’re doing what we can to support ecological health both upstream and downstream.

Thanks to hundreds of program participants and volunteers of all ages, over 400,000 square feet of degraded land has been planted with over 15,000 native trees and shrubs. 

This collaboration between people and plants is an effort to nourish soil, protect water, create habitat, and provide other local benefits in the form of education and harvestable agroforestry products. As an organization dedicated to connecting people with nature, we’ve created a buffer that does the same: offering food, medicine, fodder, and a “nursery” of plant materials for future propagation while helping the land heal and thrive.

The project will continue to be a labor of love, bringing together students, volunteers, farm supporters, and wildlife for years to come. But for now, we’re happy to take a gander across the buffer and celebrate the great strides that four short years have accomplished. We will continue bolstering and stewarding the buffer with the hope we’ve had all along: that through learning and experience, we can sow healthier relationships between people and nature.

This project was made possible through grant funding from DCNR PennVest, the GIANT Company through Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Healing the Planet program, and the Mid-Atlantic Media Hub Fund of York County Community Foundation. Thousands of trees along with tools and ample support were provided by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership.

Our gratitude also extends to the hundreds of volunteers and stewards who dug in the dirt with us to uplift the land. We’re especially grateful for our board member, Master Watershed Steward, and intrepid volunteer Cindy Pizziketti for thousands of hours committed to this project.


Livestaking with Alliance for Chesapeake Bay

Now that our 10-acre multi-functional riparian buffer is growing, we are eager to enjoy the buffer as an interactive learning and demonstration space.

Join the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay at the Horn Farm Center for an in-person demonstration of the process of livestaking.

This training will cover livestake collection and installation and will also provide the opportunity to take home a few livestakes as well.

This session is limited to 50 people, so register for free today to save your spot!

Click here to Register for Livestaking


Save the Date: Spring Plant Sale

Dreaming of spring? So are we! Mark your calendars for the Horn Farm Center’s 12th Annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 4th, 2024 from 9AM to 3PM.

If you’ve shopped with us before, you know it’s going to be a great time!

Stop by and shop from a wide variety of organically grown vegetable, herb and flower starts. The sale will also offer trees, shrubs, grasses, herbaceous perennials, and a unique selection of native plants.

Click here to learn more about the Plant Sale


Last Chance to Apply! Ecological Gardener Training Starts Soon

Whether you’re interested in converting your lawn into a thriving ecosystem, seeking deeper connection with native plants, or simply want to contribute new skills to your community, the Ecological Gardener Training Program offers a comprehensive deep-dive into the world of creating and tending resilient ecosystems.

We’re just under TWO WEEKS AWAY from the start of the program, so apply today to reserve your spot! No prior knowledge or training is required–just a curiosity and a passion for connecting with nature.

Click here to learn more & apply.

Horn Farm Happenings – January 12, 2024

The Way of the Willow

In many cultures around the world, animals and plants hold symbolic meaning far deeper than their ecological roles.

Willow trees, for example, share a widely common cultural significance of survival and endurance. Because of their unique ability to thrive in adverse conditions, people around the world see willow trees as a sign of resilience.

Willow is also extremely flexible. Having branches that may be bent without breaking, willow trees can withstand high winds, storms, and even natural disasters. Willow teaches us that flexibility and adaptation are key to success when faced with challenging circumstances.

And so it’s fitting that we are kicking off 2024 – the Horn Farm Center’s 20th Anniversary – with two community events, our Winter Willow Workdays:

We hope that you can join us! These two volunteer days will be the first of many opportunities this year to celebrate and honor the resilience of our organization – through storytelling, programs and community events both new and renewed.

Here’s a sneak peak at what we have in store during our 20th Anniversary year:

  • Horn Farm History & Storytelling
  • A Special Series of Homesteading Workshops (stay tuned to find out why this is a 20th Anniversary “throwback” theme)
  • Summer Solstice Community Gathering on June 22, 2024
  • New announcements about the Farmhouse Rebuild Project
  • and, the launch of a Wild & Uncommon new brand for the York County Pawpaw Festival – also entering its 20th year!

2024 will be a year for reflection, celebration, and transformation as we move towards the next season of carrying out our mission. In the spirit of our friend the willow tree, we will look back at all of of our accomplishments and the hurdles we’ve overcome while also looking forward and sharing our vision for the future of the Horn Farm Center.


A History of Community Resilience

The Horn Farm Center is a conservation success story. Born out of the effort to save the farm from industrial development in 2000, the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in 2004.

The Horn Farm was saved by a community of passionate people, who understood that our natural spaces and cultural practices of stewarding and cultivating the land are sacred and need to be preserved. 

20 years later, that sense of responsibility for the wellbeing of our community and natural environment has endured. In fact, it has grown exponentially as we have cultivated a deeper connection with this place.

The Horn Farm has been farmed for at least 250 years and continues to be farmed and stewarded today. The farm has weathered fire, flood, and even thieves, yet it stands on as a symbol of York County’s proud heritage in locally-rooted farming and land stewardship.

Across its history and into today, the farm is also a symbol of York County’s maker-spirit: always exploring the fringe and the cutting edge with the help of imaginative community members.

Learn more HFC history


Learn to Garden Ecologically

Interested in building native habitats and pollinator gardens? The Ecological Gardener Training Program teaches the work of fostering native habitat gardens throughout the seasons.

Why start now?? Because students experience the flow of activities as the seasons shift: from a winter of observing, learning, and planning to getting down in the dirt during the growing season, fostering real change on the land.

Whether you’re interested in converting your lawn into a thriving ecosystem, seeking deeper connection with native plants, or simply want to contribute new skills to your community, this Training Program offers a comprehensive deep-dive into the world of creating and tending resilient ecosystems in human spaces.

We’re excited to bring you another year of nature-based learning in partnership with Waxwing EcoWorks Co.!

We’re just under ONE MONTH AWAY from the start of the program, so apply today to reserve your spot! No prior knowledge or training is required–just a curiosity and a passion for connecting with nature.

Click here to learn more & apply.


“The Ecological Gardener Training Program was an outstanding experience! The core classes provided great context in gardening for nature and the course gave us plenty of experiences to practice planning, site prep, and planting. The field trips were exceptional and the camaraderie with other gardeners was a joy. Highly recommend!”

– Diane Koons, 2023 Ecological Gardener Training Program Graduate


beekeeping-1

Last Chance! Beekeeper Training Starts Soon

Don’t miss you chance to become a beekeeper in 2024! Taught by Mark Gingrich of Gingrich Apiaries, the Horn Farm’s Beekeeper Training Program explores beekeeping from its scientific underpinnings to keeping a hive at home.

Over the course of this two year program, participants will work side by side with Mark and other program participants to learn all aspects of keeping bees.

Register soon! The Beekeeper Training Program starts on January 17th. The class meets monthly for 1.5 hour sessions from January until October.  

Click here to register.