Horn Farm Happenings – March 17, 2023

History Mystery at the Horn Farm

No, that’s not a lawnmower! This week, GeoView Inc. conducted ground penetrating radar on two small areas of farm fields, just north of the farmhouse. This geophysical investigation is part of an ongoing history mystery here at the Horn Farm!

It all began with a 1700s map of the Ruby property, now part of the Horn Farm. The map was hand-drawn by landowner and surveyor, Samuel Ruby and details the orchards, production fields, and boundary lines of the Ruby property. The buildings depicted on the map, including a log cabin, pre-date the Horn Farm’s farmhouse and barn buildings and are believed to be located where Route 30 stands today. The Horn Farm’s farmhouse was built many years later in 1844 (est.), north of where the original log house is depicted on this map.

The map also has a number of unidentifiable notations and marks, two of which are the subject of our history mystery. Local historian Joseph Brillhart and geologist Jeri Jones of Jones Geological Services are leading the efforts to uncover the truth behind these curious markings.

Joseph Brillhart is a long-time friend of the Horn Farm Center and descendant of the Ruby Family. After many years of genealogical and historical research on the Ruby family, Joseph Brillhart, with the help of Jeri Jones, has located what we believe to be the location of the mystery plots. Joe’s thorough research has provided a few educated guesses as to what we might find: a family cemetery and a small outbuilding that may or may not have been used as a whiskey still.

It will be a few weeks until we have the results of the ground radar. Although it is a long-shot, we are hoping to uncover new insights into the history of the Horn Farm. If the ground radar reports indicate disturbances in the soil, we will have more clues as to what history lies beneath our feet.

We’re often searching for the stories that the land can tell us, be they ecological or cultural. That’s why we’re looking forward to potential discoveries that might enrich our knowledge of the farm’s history: to grow our records, find ways to honor our past, and put our present work in proper perspective.

Click here to discover more Horn Farm History

Welcome Greenhouse Intern: Shannon Phifer

“Growing up in Lancaster County and spending my summers up in the Pine Creek Valley, I had a deep-rooted connection to the beauty and wonder of nature and the great outdoors from a very young age….

I am humbled to be able to continue on in my exploration and education as one of the interns at the Horn Farm Center. When I am not interning at the farm, I work as a farm educator at Heritage Creek Farm Camp and Education Center in Mt. Joy.  I look forward to an amazing growing season and all the skills I will be able to take with me.”

Our greenhouse is buzzing with activity this spring as we welcome two new Greenhouse Management Interns! In addition to learning the ins and outs of organic seed starting and propagation, our interns will play an integral role in preparing for the Horn Farm Center’s 11th Annual Plant Sale on May 6th from 9am to 3pm.

What’s Going on with the Farmhouse?

We are rebuilding! On the night of October 25th, lightning struck the Horn Farm Center’s historic farm house, destroying the 2nd and 3rd floors.  Since then, recovery and rebuilding efforts are underway.

To learn more about our plans, process, and timeline, please visit: rebuildhornfarm.com


Explore the topic of foraging as an act of reciprocity.

In this class, we will discuss the ecological impacts of foraging, the history of tending wild plants in North America, how to develop better relationships with the land and the plants that provide for us, techniques for harm reduction and positive-impact harvesting, as well as plant identification and subsistence uses of plants.

Join us for Regenerative Foraging with Calyx Liddick from the Northern Appalachia School on Saturday, April 8th from 10AM-1PM at the Horn Farm Center!

Click here to Register.

Next Week: March 22-25, 2023

Are you curious about Earth Care, or wondering how you can have an ecological impact this year? Do you want to connect more deeply with Nature and care for the land around you, but aren’t sure where to start?

For 4 days, from March 22 – 25th, LadyBug EarthCare is bringing together dozens of training sessions, interviews and presentations from activists, experts and naturalists, who have found ways to increase their ecological impact through connection with Nature. You’ll hear about everything from Placemaking, Pollinator Gardening and Woodland Stewardship to Earth-Focused Professions, and more.

Horn Farm Center Executive Director, Alexis Campbell will be featured on Saturday, March 25th at 5PM to share Grounding Education with Action at the Horn Farm. You will also hear from some amazing experts like William Padilla-Brown, Dale Hendricks, and Calyx Liddick.

Each presentation is FREE and will be available for 24-hours, but you can also get lifetime access (along with some other amazing bonuses) by grabbing the ALL-ACCESS PASS HERE.

Enjoy the 2023 Mid-Atlantic Earth Care Summit!

Learn Bio-Intensive Gardening Methods!

Start transforming your garden for the health of soil, food, ourselves, and the planet!

Wherever you are in your gardening journey, bio-intensive methods offer great additions to the home-gardening toolbox. These simple techniques maximize productivity on small plots using minimal equipment and existing soil conditions. With a special focus on seed starting and bed prepping, we’ll equip you with timely ideas for spring management as the growing season approaches.

Join our Farm Manager Andrew at the Horn Farm Center on Sunday, March 26th from 10am to 2pm to tour some of the insights of this innovative and accessible practice.

Click here to Register!

Horn Farm Happenings – March 3, 2023

Downstream: The Bigger Picture Behind the Buffer

“Nearly half of the freshwater flow into the Chesapeake comes from the Susquehanna River, making it the largest water contributor to the bay. This means that Pennsylvanians, not one of us in viewing distance of the Bay, have a surprisingly crucial role to play in addressing the degradation of downstream ecologies in the Chesapeake.”

Part 2 of “For the Whole Streamour blog feature spotlighting the Horn Farm Center’s riparian buffersis live! In “Downstream, we illustrate how our efforts to protect land and water extend well beyond the boundaries of the Center, and how ecology teaches us to pay attention to impacts that will outdistance and outlive us.

“For the Whole Stream” is the first installment of a new series called the Horn Farm Ecosystem. Through monthly articles, we’ll walk the land in writing: visiting the forests, regenerative fields, and ecological action sites of the Horn Farm Center to explain our stewardship work, uplift nature, and inspire love for the land. Visit our February 17th, 2023 newsletter for more information about this blog series.

Click here to read the blog: Downstream

Volunteers Wanted: Spring Tree Plantings

Since 2018, we’ve planted over 15,000 trees thanks to our dedicated volunteers. This year, we are planting the final 2 acres of multifunctional riparian buffers at the Horn Farm – and we need your help! Join us for a few volunteer workdays this spring:

Planting days:

Tending/upkeep days:

Volunteers will help us plant and stake tree saplings, manage non-natives, and install protective tree tubes to help our saplings succeed. See you at the farm!

Click here to learn more and sign up to volunteer!

Training for the Future

On February 13th, we kicked-off the 2023 Land Steward & Ecological Gardener Training Programs! We welcomed 21 new students, who are eager to become practitioners of ecological land care.

Over the past 3 weeks, training program instructors Wilson Alvarez, Elyse Jurgen, and Andrew Horn laid the groundwork for understanding the natural history, ecology, and ongoing environmental challenges of our bio-region. Participants are exploring foundational knowledge in both the values and practices that generate impactful restorative earth work.

Their learning experience will continue as they begin hands-on training over the next 13 weeks. We are absolutely honored to guide our new students in their journeys to earth care. And, we are thrilled to be teaching the next generation of land stewards here in York County!

Claim Your Share: Horn Farm CSA

From June to October, CSA members receive a weekly box of seasonal, organically-grown produce. Fill your plate with local flavor this year! Become a member of the Horn Farm CSA to support local, regenerative farmers and the Horn Farm Center’s land-healing mission.

To help make our CSA more accessible, we are offering payment plans this year. Register by March 15th to pay in installments.

Click here to Register.


Learn the Miyawaki Method!

A forest from scratch? Learn this unique method for bringing a new forest to life!

In this class, we’ll tour Horn Farm’s Miyawaki test plots to showcase the ecological underpinnings of the Miyawaki method, its benefits to the ecosystem, and then demonstrate the process for building your own Miyawaki mini-forest.

Each participant will leave with their own Miyawaki starter kit including seven unique, native tree seedlings and the knowledge to bring rewilding home or wherever the land can benefit from this innovative planting technique.

Join us on Sunday, March 19th from 9:00am-1:00pm for Miyawaki 101, led by Woodland Steward, Wilson Alvarez at the Horn Farm Center.

Click here for more information and to register.

Horn Farm Happenings – February 17, 2023

More Ways to Learn: Horn Farm Ecosystem

At the Horn Farm Center, nature is our teacher, our companion, and our collaborator. By working alongside the natural world, we recognize how we, like the networked soils of our fields and forests, are rooted in a constellation of relationships.

With this ecological understanding, we see how everything we do ripples across an unbreakable fabric, human and more-than-human, biotic and abiotic, such that the health of one system is integral to the health of the whole.

That’s our birds-eye perspective on the work of the Horn Farm Center. But what does it look like on the ground, across the wild, semi-wild, and gardened spaces that weave the tapestry of our ecosystem? How are we leveraging nature’s interconnectedness in our stewardship practices? And, why are we so committed to ecology-based stewardship on the farm?

To give you the groundwork and share the story of this relationship with nature, we’re launching a new blog series called the Horn Farm Ecosystem.

This blog will offer monthly articles spotlighting different project areas at the Center. With each installment, we’ll walk the land in writing: visiting places like our forests, our regenerative fields, and our riparian buffers to contextualize, demystify, and address the seriousness of this work in a world that needs human hands as part of its healing.

Through a combination of science, history, and our own learning experiences, we’ll convey the bigger picture of our commitment to environmental stewardship, and why we constantly ask ourselves: what would nature do? 

This week’s blog explores our work with multifunctional riparian buffers on the farm. We hope you enjoy it!

Click here to read the blog: Upstream

Final Riparian Buffer Plantings This Spring

Since 2018, with the help of dozens of visiting groups and hundreds of volunteers, we’ve planted over 15,000 trees and reclaimed 14–soon to be 16–acres of farmland, transforming them into multifunction riparian buffers.

This year, we are planting our final 2 acres – and we need your help! Join us for a few volunteer workdays this spring.

Volunteers will help us plant and stake tree saplings, manage invasives, and install protective tree tubes to help our saplings succeed. Hope to see you at the farm!

Click here to learn more and sign up to volunteer!

What Do You Want to Dig Into?

As we look to expand and diversify our programs this year, we want your input! Let us know what kinds of classes or workshops you’d like to see in the future at the Horn Farm. Give us your input by taking a short, 3-5 minute survey.

Click here to give us your feedback!

Horn Farm CSA: New Members Welcome

From June to October, CSA members receive a weekly box of seasonal, organically-grown produce. Fill your plate with local flavor this year. Become a member of the Horn Farm CSA to support local, regenerative farmers and the Horn Farm Center’s land-healing mission.

To help make our CSA more accessible, we are offering payment plans this year. Register by March 15th to pay in installments.

Click here to Register.

Susquehanna River in PA, USA on a summer autumn day. It is the longest river on the East Coast of the United States that drains into the Atlantic Ocean, via the Chesapeake Bay.

Origins of the Susquehanna Valley Landscape 

Are you interested in the natural forces and human activities that have shaped our unique region? Learn to think in “deep time,” like geologists, to explore the landforms of the Lower Susquehanna Valley. This class will focus on the influence of plate tectonics and other geological processes that created our landscape.

We’ll also devote special attention to the ancient river at its heart and the influence of the massive ice sheets which, just moments ago in geological time, approached the region but never quite reached it.

Join us on Thursday, March 9th at 6pm-8pm for “Origins of the Landscape,” part one of the four part Land & Peoples of the Lower Susquehanna Valley program series with the Horn Farm Center. This session is led by Dr. Ed Wilson and Dr. Jay Parrish, former State Geologist of Pennsylvania.

Click here for more information and to register.

New Series: Windows to Wild Lands

Exploring primitive skills invites us to connect more closely with nature and our human ancestry. On the first Sunday of every month from 1 to 3pm, Horn Farm Center’s new introductory classes offer a glimpse of distinct skills that echo the resourcefulness, simple ingenuity, and nature-based lifestyles of our past.

By attuning our hands and minds to these tactile skills, we not only learn survival strategies, but the values of patience, attention, and respect that come with immersing ourselves in our natural surroundings.

The spring Windows to Wildlands class topics are:

  • Wild Basket Making – March 5th, 2023
  • Making Natural Cordage – April 2nd, 2023
  • Animal Tracking – May 7th, 2023
  • Alternative Uses of Plants – June 4th, 2023
  • Assembling Primitive Traps – July 2nd, 2023

Click here for Windows to Wild Lands

Upcoming Classes & Workshops:
February 16th: Baking Bread: White & Wheat
February 25, 2023: Maple Sugaring
February 25, 2023: Maple Sugaring
March 3, 2023: Wild Basket Making
March 5, 2023: March Foraging Walk
March 9, 2023: Land & Peoples Series: Origins of the Landscape
March 16, 2023: Flatbread
March 23, 2023: Land & People Series: The Indigenous Peoples
March 25, 2023: Hugelkultur Workshop
March 26, 2023: Bio-Intensive Garden Primer
April 2, 2023: Making Natural Cordage
April 6, 2023: Backyard Composting
April 6, 2023: Land & People Series: European Settlement
April 8, 2023: Regenerative Foraging
April 13, 2023: Spring Garden Prep & Planning
April 15-16, 2023: Foraging Foundations Weekend
April 20, 2023: Backyard Composting
April 20, 2023: Land & People Series: The Contemporary Landscape
April 20, 2023: Baking Bread: Sourdough & Flatbread
May 7, 2023: Animal Tracking
May 10, 2023: Sweet Potatoes 101
May 11, 2023: Understanding Your Garden Q&A
May 20, 2023: Botany for Gardeners
June 4, 2023: Alternative Uses of Plants
June 10-11, 2023: Foraging Foundations Weekend
June 15, 2023: Gardener’s Guide to Weeds
July 2, 2023: Assembling Primitive Traps
July 6, 2023: Insect Identification for Gardeners
September 9-10, 2023: Foraging Foundations Weekend

Upcoming Events:

February 25, 2023: Public Disco Porch Benefit Show
April 22, 2023: Go Green in the City
May 4-5, 2023: Give Local York
May 7, 2023: 11th Annual Plant Sale
September 23 & 24, 2023: 19th Annual York County Pawpaw Festival

Volunteer Opportunities & Work Days:

April 2, 2023: Tree Planting
April 15, 2023: Tree Planting
May 20, 2023: Riparian Buffer Upkeep
June 17, 2023: Riparian Buffer Upkeep
General Volunteer Information