Common Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), or "Nature's Medicine Chest"
There is no shortage of elderberry products for personal wellness on the market: elderberry syrup, tea, elixir, tincture, gummies, kombucha, and more. But have you ever seen an elderberry on the land in the context of ecological restoration?
At the Horn Farm Center, we've planted hundreds of native elderberry shrubs across various restoration sites for their ecological as well as their medicinal value. With their sprawling and mat-like root systems, elderberries are well suited for renourishing and stabilizing soils in the riparian buffer zones and other margins that we're rewilding.The fine density of their root systems also creates ideal microenvironments for beneficial soil microbe communities, helping rebuild soil fertility on former agricultural lands that, after years of intensive annual cropping, deserve a boost. Above ground, elderberry's foliar fullness and fruit productivity serve an abundance of insects, birds, and mammals, all of whom contribute to wider ecological wellbeing. Being entwined in nature ourselves, we can partake in this annual harvest by collecting berries and using them in the cooling months for their remarkable vitamin stores and immune-boosting properties.
Part of this year's elderberry harvest will be used to create elderberry-flavored beverages for our annual donor get-together and homemade elderberry ice cream for our volunteer gathering and bonfire on Sunday, October 8th. Along with members of our Community Crew and other dedicated volunteers, participants in our elderberry harvest days are invited to the volunteer gathering.
Other elderberry harvest days (sign up separately):
What to bring:
Please wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes, dress for warm weather, and bring your own water bottle (refills will be available). Participants may use their own work gloves and pruners, though we do have these items on hand for those who need them. Currently, we only have one regularly-checked porta-potty on site due to the 2021 house fire, so please plan accordingly.
New Volunteers: please read and sign our Volunteer Waiver and Release Form before your arrival. You can bring a printed, signed copy with you to the event or send a virtual copy to email@example.com. Physical copies will also be available upon arrival.
Physical activity note:
This workday will require moderate physical labor including walking on uneven terrain, reaching, bending, repetitive hand motions using manual pruners, and spending time outside in warm to hot temperatues.
York, PA 17406