2016 – Restoring the Hearth

Summer Kitchen Ribbon Cutting

What a year! We will be taking a two week break–closing the office from now until the end of the year. Before we do, I want to share with you some of the highlights of 2016. In a world filled with news of tragedy and destruction, we’ve been quietly building a foundation for our community’s future. Grants from WellSpan and the U.S. Department of Agriculture helped to underwrite the restoration of our summer kitchen. It took almost nine years and more than 2,400 volunteer hours to convert an 1830s building into a licensed kitchen. We celebrated on November 9 with a ribbon cutting ceremony pictured above. We think of our summer kitchen with its wood burning squirrel tail oven as the hearth of the farm. When we look at the word ‘hearth’, we find both the words ‘heart’ and ‘earth’ contained within it, and those two words sum up our values: love of the Earth and each other. Now that the kitchen has been restored, we can gather there for the preparation of food once more.  In the first month, we held workshops on Bread Baking Basics and Vegetable Fermentation. Up next is Bread Baking 201 in January. Many more classes and events are in the works for 2017. Look for details on our website and our Facebook page.

Love Carved into the Floorboards

Other 2016 milestones:

  • The York County Commissioners extended our lease of the Horn Farm property to 99 years!
  • A conservation easement is being placed on the 189-acre Horn Farm property thus guaranteeing it will be a farm forever!
  • We completed an assessment of the entire property and created a Land Use Management Plan.
  • We built a second greenhouse.
  • For the first time, we offered a Farming Internship, and we had the privilege of working with Andrew, Betsy, Joshua, and Miranda from April through October.
2016 Farming Interns

L to R: Andrew, Education Director Jon Darby, Joshua, Betsy, and Miranda

Remember to sign up for your 2017 CSA share before January 30th to get the discounted price.

Thank you to all of our amazing volunteers, friends of the Horn Farm, and to those who supported our work with their financial contributions. We wouldn’t be here without you! If you’d like to support our work, please donate now!


Mushrooms, Foraging, Permaculture 101, Wilderness Skills, Summer Kitchen Dedication, and a Harvest Party!

Introduction to Permaculture –  October 15

Permaculture is a practice that is steeped in deep observation, understanding relationships, and designing systems that meet our needs while simultaneously caring for the Earth and providing for future generations.

permaculture 101

Foraging – Roots – October 20

October – Roots! Now is the time to begin digging roots – as the plants begin to drawn their energies into the ground to store them for winter, we can begin to take advantage of this and dig them up to be used as tasty root vegetables, process and dry them for coffee, tea, and medicine.


Wild Lands Immersion – October 23 through November 27

Wild Lands Immersion – Primitive Skills Fall 2016: Students will gain hands-on experience with basic, pre-industrial, woodland-style survival skills/bushcraft.


Harvest Party – October 29

Join us around the bonfire as we share a potluck dinner to celebrate the abundance of the harvest!


Summer Kitchen Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – November 9


Gardening with Mushrooms – November 13

Join local mushroom enthusiast and educator, William Padilla-Brown, for this extensive workshop, Gardening with Mushrooms. This 7-hour workshop is perfect for gardeners, farmers, permaculture designers, grassroots bioremediators and mushroom lovers.

william padilla-brown

Squirrel Tail Oven – Bread Baking Demonstration – November 17

squirrel tail oven

Many Hands Make Light Work

This morning as I went through the albums of archived photos, flyers, and news clippings (compiled by a volunteer) I was overcome with feelings of gratitude for the amazing people who have volunteered their time, money, and love for the Horn Farm for over 16 years.  In 2000, in response to plans to rezone the property as industrial, citizens circulated a petition that in two weeks received 2300 signatures of people who wanted the farm remain in agriculture. It has, and it will long after we are all gone thanks to the vision of the current County Board of Commissioners who recently voted both to place a conservation easement on the property thus preserving these 186 acres forever as farmland, and also to recognize the successes and viability of the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education by extending our lease of this land from the County to 99 years.

What prompted me to go through albums of photos this morning was my search for a ‘before’ photo to go with these photos which hint at all of the work being done by people who continue to shower their time, money, and love for the Horn Farm in their work to convert the 1800s summer kitchen into a certified kitchen where we will be able to offer our beginning farmers a place to process fresh produce into sauces, jams, and pickles as well as a place hold classes, workshops, and celebrations as we continue to find ways to connect our community to local food. The celebration of the completion of renovations is scheduled to happen at our Summer Solstice celebration on June 20.

When I accepted this position I hold as Executive Director not quite one year ago, I knew intellectually that an enormous honor had been bestowed upon me. Now I understand with both my head and my heart how many people have made it possible for me to do my work here, today.  I look forward to continuing our work together as we make way for those who have yet to come.

Thank you for all that you do!



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