Happenings

Horn Farm Happenings – August 18, 2023

Planting Seeds of Resilience

Read the latest installment of the Horn Farm Ecosystem blog!

“What would happen if, instead of planting individual trees, we approximated a forest? What if success hinged not on human tending but on trees tending, urging, and animating each other?”

Since 2018, mini-forests following the Miyawaki method have been taking shape at the Horn Farm Center. Today, over a dozen plots across our restoration landscape are flourishing with 30+ native canopy, understory, and shrub species, reviving biodiversity at an extraordinary pace.

So what is the Miyawaki method? How has it informed alternative approaches to ecosystem renewal at the Horn Farm? And why is it so promising as a process for restoring biodiversity while reawakening our sense of place on the landscape?

The latest installment of the Horn Farm Ecosystem blog series digs deep into the Miyawaki method, tracing its origins, necessity, process, and outcomes while inviting you to experience the “big tiny” forests we’re bringing to life!


Get Your Free Ticket to Pawpaw Fest!

Tickets are now on sale for the 2023 York County Pawpaw Festival, held on September 23rd and 24th at the Horn Farm Center!

So how do you get a free ticket? Sign up to volunteer! From admission to activities to parking and pawpaw purchases, we’re seeking volunteer support to help make our celebration of York County’s wild and uncommon a success!

As a volunteer, you’ll benefit from free admission to BOTH festival days, lunch, and a goodie bag. FULL DAY volunteers will also enjoy PRIORITY ACCESS to purchase pawpaws before doors open to regular attendees!

Consider joining our volunteer team to help us enhance this truly local and unique experience!

The 2023 Pawpaw Festival is presented by the Horn Farm Center and Explore York.

Sign up to volunteer


The Horn Farm Board of Directors volunteer to serve as the governing body of the organization. They establish the mission and purpose, ensure adequate resources, and provide oversight.

Horn Farm Center is seeking new board members for 2024, especially those with a background in finance, accounting, law, technology, or fundraising.

The major responsibilities of  board members include:

  • Establish and advise leadership
  • Oversee governance policies of the organization-not the day-to-day operations
  • Provide financial management including adoption and oversight of the annual budget
  • Promote the organization to external audiences
  • Conduct fundraising and outreach
Board members serve three year terms and should expect to attend meetings which are held on the third Monday of every month at 6pm. The time commitment is 1-3 hours per month. For more information and to express your interest, email our Executive Director at executivedirector@hornfarmcenter.org

What Homesteading Skills Do You Want to Learn?

From 2013-2016, Horn Farm Center hosted a popular educational program called Homestead Education Day. This day-long event included demonstrations, talks, and workshops focused on teaching common and forgotten homesteading skills.

In celebration of our 20th Anniversary next year, we are hosting a “throwback” Homestead Education Day on Saturday, June 22, 2024.

As we prepare to revitalize this program, we want to hear from you!

Let us know what homesteading skills you would like to learn at the 2024 Homestead Education Day by filling out the survey linked below.

Click here to take the survey.


Sponsor Highlight: 7group

7group is a long-time supporter of the Horn Farm Center! From Give Local York and Pawpaw Festival to our facilities and rebuilding efforts, 7group has been a partner in accomplishing our mission. This year, 7group is ensuring that you can explore regenerative programming at Horn Farm Center by sponsoring the York County Pawpaw Festival!

7group began more than 20 years ago to help to change how American builders, designers, architects, and owners understood the built environment as sustainable. When they worked on creating the U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification program, they knew that it was the first step towards true sustainability, but not the last.

Together with their clients and colleagues, 7group has been imagining a different way to understand how humans, their built environment, and the natural world around us all live and breathe with each other.


Learning the Language of Plants

How do plants communicate with us? What can we gather about their nutritional, medicinal, and ecological values through observing shapes, scents, tastes, and more?

Discover the secret language of plants through intuitive observation during a day-long workshop led by special guest instructor and herbalist, Alyssa Dennis of Eclipta Herbal.

As a way to fully engage the topic of plant language, we will focus on Goldenrod, which grows in abundance at Horn Farm. After exploring the plant’s ideal habitat and growth cycle, we will harvest and prepare a Goldenrod herbal tincture for each participant to bring home.

Dig deep into the multi-sensory wisdom of plant language with a day of foraging, medicinal tincture-making, and hands-on learning!

Join us on September 16th from 10AM- 5PM for Plant Language: Kin-centric Ecology within Herbalism at the Horn Farm Center.

Fall Container Gardening for Pollinators

Did you know migratory birds and butterflies fly 100+ miles per day? Making that journey requires a lot of fuel and stamina! But what can we do to ensure that our avian and insect friends get to their destination safely?

Join Pollinator Steward, Heather Andrews, at the Horn Farm Center to learn about the migrating creatures and how we can create our own sun or shade planting this fall to help them sustain their long flights.

Learn how to create a pollinator garden using just 3 plants for sun or shade that will be attractive to migratory butterflies or hummingbirds. We will create 2 demonstration pots- and you will select plants to take home to create your own!

Join us on September 9th at 10-11:30am for Fall Container Gardening for Pollinators with Pollinator Steward Heather Andrews at the Horn Farm Center.

Horn Farm Happenings – August 7, 2023

Telling the Story of Horn Farm

The Horn Farm is a mosaic of stories, going back centuries to present day. The history of this place is as complex and meaningful as the work that occurs on the land today.Providing a comprehensive picture of our story isn’t easy, especially since the Horn Farm Center is many things to many people. From community gardeners, renting farmers, and CSA members to our program participants, volunteers, and event attendees, each individual who engages with the Farm writes their own narrative in our community storybook.

Complimenting our human perspective is the land itself. Each field, woodland, meadow, and pathway of the Horn Farm’s 186-acre property tells a story of what was, what is, and what will be. So much has changed over time but the land paints the clearest picture of what’s been accomplished and what work still needs to be done.

This summer, Communications Intern, Mel Beans took on the herculean task of weaving together Horn Farm’s story through words, images, and geographic locations. Using ArcGIS StoryMaps as her communication tool, Mel crafted a virtual tour of the farm that shares the unique history, programs, projects, features, and even future goals for the farm.

We plan to continue to update this StoryMap as the organization and our work on the land continues to evolve. Mel did a fantastic job of capturing Horn Farm’s Story and we hope you will take the time to enjoy it!

“When I began my internship at the Horn Farm Center, I quickly realized that there is a lot to learn about the center’s diverse work and 186 acres. The farmland, woods, and meadows of Horn Farm tell a long and constantly transforming story. There was a need for an easily accessible resource that provided a comprehensive overview of all that goes on at the farm as you explore the land.

Creating this virtual tour became a way for me to tell the story of the Horn Farm Center. It is the culmination of my two-month long internship here that captures both the diversity of the actions and opportunities taking place at Horn Farm, as well as their cohesiveness—rooted in community, education, and in living in reciprocity with nature.

Through compiling and synthesizing information gathered from key contributors to the Center, internal archives, local news articles, social media pages, and the Horn Farm Center’s website, I got to deepen my understanding of the organization’s work and its positive impact on our community and the environment. I’m excited for people to use this new resource as an introduction to the Horn Farm Center or as a way to deepen their familiarity with this important organization and its work!”

– 2023 PSSI Summer Communications Intern, Mel Beans


Pawpaw Fest: Tickets Now on Sale!

The 2023 York County Pawpaw Festival at the Horn Farm Center is on September 23rd and 24th, and TICKET SALES have just gone live!

Enjoy guaranteed admission and perks by reserving your tickets online today:

  • Premium Pass: includes admission to one day of the Pawpaw Festival, a t-shirt designed by local artist Joanna Tice, and entry into a door prize drawing for Horn Farm Center class vouchers.
  • General Pass: includes admission to one day of the Pawpaw Festival.

Over the next two months we will highlight the many new and exciting features enhancing this year’s event! For starters, we have a one-of-a-kind lineup of educational talks and tours AND a growing list of vendors offering food, products, crafts, and artwork from the heart of York County.

Visit our website for full festival details, and sign-up to volunteer!

The 2023 Pawpaw Festival is presented by the Horn Farm Center and Explore York.

Click here to purchase tickets!


Squirrels, beavers, and mastodons-in-training took over the Horn Farm!

This week, students in our Becoming the Animal youth series learned all that it takes to shape the landscape like animals do every day!

Our squirrel day enTAILed lessons about squirrel’s diet and habitat, followed by a visit to the outdoor classroom to journal, draw, spot the squirrel-friendly trees, and build a squirrel nest! Of course, our spotlight on squirrels wouldn’t be complete without planting trees ourselves, since squirrels are pros at dispersing the seeds of the forest!

The next day we moved from the woods to the wetlands for beaver day, learning about what makes a healthy watershed and watching the creepy crawlies of a healthy waterway in action! We tromped back to the outdoor classroom to feel beaver fur, draw beaver dams, and build our own using beaver-approved materials. Overall, we learned just how incredible beavers can be at engineering their ecosystems and supporting other animals!

We finished the week with a lost, but not forgotten, animal friend – mastodon! We learned how this smaller, hairier cousin of the elephant was well adapted for North America and helped to shape our landscape in ways that we no longer see today. Students also explored plants that co-evolved with mastodon and still thrive in our wetlands and forests. We completed our animal training by learning how to safely use tools to be an ecosystem engineer and steward – just like mastodons once were!

It’s been a perfect week for our young naturalists to Become the Animal!


What Skills Do You Want to Learn? 

Homestead Education Day

From 2013-2016, Horn Farm Center hosted a popular educational program called Homestead Education Day. This day-long event included demonstrations, talks, and workshops focused on teaching common and forgotten homesteading skills.

In celebration of our 20th Anniversary next year, we are hosting a “throwback” Homestead Education Day on Saturday, June 22, 2024.

As we prepare to revitalize this program, we want to hear from you!

Let us know what homesteading skills you would like to learn at the 2024 Homestead Education Day by filling out the survey linked below.

Click here to take the survey.


The Joy of Foraging 

Foraging is the act of finding and gathering wild foods. By engaging in this age-old practice, we can provide ourselves with healthy and abundant food, become more self-reliant, and connect on a much deeper level to the landscape in which we live.

Discover the joy of foraging this fall at the Horn Farm Center! Gather with others to learn and connect while exploring all that our landscape has to offer.

  • August Foraging Walk: August 13th, 10AM-12PM
  • September Foraging Walk: September 3rd, 10AM-12PM
  • Making Natural CordageSeptember 3rd, 1PM-3PM
  • Plant Language: September 16th, 10AM-5PM
  • Foraging Wild Teas: October 1st, 10AM-12PM
  • Fall Foraging Foundations: October 21-22, 9AM-3PM
  • Foraging for Roots: November 5th, 10AM-12PM
Join us for our monthly Foraging Programs this fall at the Horn Farm Center!

Horn Farm Happenings – July 21, 2023

Tickets On Sale August 1st

Amazing local food, one-of-a-kind crafts, and a shared love for nature: we’re thrilled to once again bring these things together for the 2023 York County Pawpaw Festival, taking place on Saturday, September 23rd and Sunday, September 24th from 10am to 3pm at the Horn Farm Center!The Pawpaw Festival is entering its 19th year and has truly become an annual attraction. Last year, we welcomed over 2000 visitors from near and far to enjoy the wild and uncommon flavors of the York and Lancaster regions. This year, we’re enhancing the visitor experience with ONLINE TICKETS – available beginning August 1st, 2023 at hornfarmcenter.org/pawpawfest/

Purchasing a ticket in advance will guarantee your admission to this year’s festival. We’re offering two levels of admission:

  • Premium Pass: includes admission to one day of the Pawpaw Festival, a t-shirt designed by a local artist, and automatic entry into a door prize drawing for Horn Farm Center class vouchers.
  • General Pass: includes admission to one day of the Pawpaw Festival.

Stay tuned for updates about NEW educational programs, vendors, and other details about the 2023 Pawpaw Festival presented by Horn Farm Center and Explore York.

Mark your calendar to purchase your tickets, going live on August 1st!


The Pawpaw Experience

Can’t get enough of that delicious pawpaw flavor? This year, the Horn Farm Center has partnered with John Wright Restaurant to offer a wild and uncommon culinary adventure on Friday, September 22, 2023 – the evening before the Pawpaw Festival.

The Horn Farm’s Pawpaw Experience at John Wright Restaurant will feature a 3-course pawpaw-themed dinner with two drink pairings.

Stay tuned! Tickets and more information will be announced in August. 


Restoring land and reviving ecosystems takes time and a team. That’s why the Horn Farm Center’s new volunteer program offers more ways to engage with nature and regenerative land stewardship.

The Horn Farm Community Crew program provides hands-on volunteer training with Horn Farm staff.

Perks of membership include ongoing training and education with experienced staff, a free t-shirt, volunteer social events, and the ability to log hours spent volunteering to redeem free class vouchers and other perks.

Interested in becoming a member of the crew?
Join us this Sunday, July 23rd for our 2nd Training Day!  Click here to Sign-Up for the Community Crew.


New “Wild Lands” Primitive Skills Intensive & Weekly Series

Are you ready to reconnect to the land and develop essential survival skills? Horn Farm Center’s “Wild Lands” programs explore primitive skills and invite us to connect more closely with both nature and our human ancestry.

This fall, we are offering our Wild Lands series in two formats:

  • Weekly Workshop Series: 5 full-day workshops starting on October 1st and ending on October 29th.. These classes take place each Sunday in October from 9AM to 4PM. Register for individual days or the entire weekly session.
  • 4-Day Intensive: Runs Sunday, October 1st through Wednesday, October 4th from 9AM to 4PM. This format provides a more immersive deep dive into primitive survival skills.

Students will gain hands-on experience with basic, pre-industrial, woodland-style survival skills. This includes gathering wild foods, building debris-huts, animal tracking, fire-making techniques such as hand-drill and bow drill, making basic hunting implements such as a survival bow and simple traps, and much more!

Whichever format works best for you – join us for our fall Wild Lands programs starting October 1st at the Horn Farm Center!

Click here to learn more.


Become the Beaver!

Beaver-y excited for the Horn Farm Center’s NEW youth education program, Becoming the Animal, for children ages 9 to 12!

This three day series, taking place from Monday July 31st to Wednesday, August 2nd from 9am to 12pm is an opportunity for children to learn about animal behavior and ecology through the lens of three unique and important animals—one of which is the beaver!

Among very few animals to redesign their habitats, beavers play essential ecological roles: the dams they build foster habitat for countless aquatic species, prevent erosion and flooding, and sustain water table levels.

But why would beavers build such complicated structures in the first place? Aside from their need for comfortable lodging that stores their food and protects them from predators, researchers have found that beavers’ motivation to build arises from their aversion to the sound of running water!

Discover more about our friend beaver as well as squirrel and mastodon during Horn Farm Center’s Becoming the Animal Youth Program Series!

Click here to learn more