Horn Farm Happenings – December 9, 2022

The Season for Learning & Growth

The slower winter pace of outdoor work at the Horn Farm has provided an opportunity for exploration and learning. This past week, HFC staff took two field trips to learn from regenerative practioners in Pennsylvania.

Our first trip was to Green Light Plants to learn about perennial plant propogation and forest farming. Dale Hendricks has been growing and propagating plants professionally since 1975. In 1988, he co-founded North Creek Nurseries, and in 2009, Dale founded Green Light Plants to build carbon-friendly and regenerative landscapes. He has been growing native, woodland and permaculture plants, organically and joyfully ever since. Dale graciously invited our entire team to his property to learn first-hand how he has implemented regenerative permaculture systems on his homestead.

We also visited Foggy Blossom Farm outside of Pittsburgh, PA to learn about growing and coppicing willow for basketry. Owners Dan and Betsy Brockett are raising a food forest and nursery in tandem with an ever-expanding willow program. Dan began teaching himself how to weave willow baskets in 2018 and he hasn’t slowed since.

Over the course of several hours, Dan walked us through Foggy Blossom Farm, teaching everything from willow-specific pests to demonstrating his harvesting and sorting processes. Learning from Dan was a unique opportunity since he is both a grower and a crafter of willow. His perspective was incredibly helpful as we make plans for managing over 800 willows for basketry that were planted in 2018 at the Horn Farm.

We are grateful to have such talented and generous friends who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences with us. We thank Dale Hendricks, Dan Brockett, and Betsy Brockett for helping our team and the Horn Farm grow!

Rebuilding the Farmhouse

Just a few months ago on October 25th, we reached the one year anniversary of the farmhouse fire. We have come a long way since, with many months spent on:

  • recovering our operations,
  • engaging contractors and architects,
  • determining our goals for the rebuild,
  • and working on the design process.

We still have work to do but we anticipate being ready to rebuild by next spring. To keep you up to date on our progress, we created a new landing page that will provide regular updates and information on the farmhoues rebuild.

Apply Today: HFC Training Programs

“I signed up for the Land Steward Training Program because I own a small farm with a woodlot and space for gardening. What I learned gave me skills and knowledge for using local energy and existing ecosystems to achieve my goals.

I’m now a lifelong student of my land. More than that, I gained lasting friendships with likeminded people in the area, and these are an important source of ongoing encouragement and volunteer labor on my farm! I’ll always be grateful for my time at the Horn Farm.”

— Chris Upham, 2021 Land Steward Training Program graduate

Each program fosters deepened connectivity with the land around us while providing hands-on practice to develop skills in your area of focus. Join us next year for a learning adventure at the Horn Farm Center!

Each program fosters deepened connectivity with the land around us while providing hands-on practice to develop skills in your area of focus. Join us next year for a learning adventure at the Horn Farm Center!

Click here to learn more about Training Programs

In the News: Wandering in York County

History teacher and blogger, Jamie Noerpel, took a Foraging Class at the Horn Farm with five of her students. She shared their experience learning with Woodland Steward, Wilson Alvarez in her York Daily Record blog “Wandering in York County.”

We thank Jamie for capturing the essence of our educational programs and for featuring the Horn Farm Center in her blog!

Photo Credit: Jamie Noerpel







Volunteers Needed: Winter Willow Harvest

We are seeking daytime volunteers to help us complete our second annual willow tree coppicing! Community workdays are scheduled for December 13th & 14th and January 16th & 17th.

Coppicing is the process of pruning a tree or shrub to ground level in order to stimulate the growth of shoots and provide a sustainable supply of agroforestry products year to year. This winter, we are harvesting willow shoots for basketry, kindling for biochar, and live stakes.

Tasks will vary depending on our progress and volunteer counts. These can include: pruning willow branches with hand pruners (down to stump level); sorting harvested branches by height and thickness; bundling and tagging prepared branches; and carrying branches and branch bundles.

Let us know if you can join us!

Click here to Volunteer

Winter Plant & Tree Identification with Calyx

Identifying plants in the winter presents a unique set of challenges. Practicing this skill will not only strengthen your plant ID skills, but will also provide you with a renewed sense of abundance for the food and medicine available to us throughout the cold season.

Join us on Saturday,  January 28th at 1pm-4pm for a Winter Plant & Tree Identification Walk with Calyx Liddick of Northern Appalachia School.

Click here to Register for Plant ID Walk