Horn Farm Happenings – October 21, 2022

Why We Do What We Do

There are a lot of justifications for the work we do and the skills we teach at the Horn Farm Center. One came through with alarming clarity on NPR’s Morning Edition last week.

According to the latest reporting from the World Wildlife Fund, the populations of most major animal groups on our planet have plummeted nearly 70% since 1970. From fish to mammals, birds to reptiles, these creatures are critical to the biodiversity that keeps ecosystems stable and the atmosphere livable.

It shouldn’t be surprising that this striking loss is attributed to human activities: habitat fracture, overdevelopment, unsustainable agriculture, and globalized consumption. Concerned scientists and environmentalists have not minced the fact that we’re living through an era of human-driven mass extinction.

This is why we spend every day doing what we do: demonstrating and teaching ways for people to produce, consume, and interact in greater harmony with the land. The gravity of the situation is overwhelming, but we know that solutions lie in committing ourselves to locally-focused, ecologically-sound lifeways and teaching these skills to future generations. We need to prioritize habitat repair, regenerative farming, and other forms of uncompromising earthcare if we want to ensure a livable future for all.

Learn more about the Horn Farm Center’s strategic goals to increase wildlife habitat through agroforestry and regenerative agriculture,  reduce our carbon footprint, and teach others to do the same by visiting our website.

We encourage you to listen to the full segment on NPR’s website and read WWF’s report at worldwildlife.org.


Cheers to Our Community

This month, we had the pleasure of hosting many of our generous donors and community partners for an evening of connection and celebration.

Locally-crafted sweet potato mash, onion tarts, custard acorn squash, braised greens, hazelnut cookies, and pawpaw beer made for great company as we shared this year’s progress in transitioning to perennial agroforestry and growing our regenerative mission.

As a keynote to the program, Dale Hendricks–local tree-enthusiast and owner of Green Light Plants LLC–connected our vision to the pioneering work of John Hershey, who spent much of the early 20th century learning from native trees and cultivating a landscape where agriculture could work in harmony with natural systems. His work pushed the edge and recognized the land’s needs well before agroforestry and regenerative agriculture were termed. We can’t help but see our own shift towards perennial agroforestry on the farm as part of his legacy.

Very many thanks to all of our donors for the tremendous help you have given us this year in the wake of our farmhouse fire. With your support, we’ve taken strides not only toward a rebuild that befits our mission, but toward new and exciting projects that will capture the full scope of what we’re all about.

Another thanks to John Wright Restaurant, Farm to Freezer, Locally Seasoned, Collusion Brewery, and Sarah Cahill for transforming Horn Farm produce into culinary delights for the event.

From our human partners to our other-than-human collaborators, we look to our community with beaming hearts and so much gratitude!

Thank You York College Students!

Thank you to the York College of Pennsylvania Spartan Serve Network for joining us at the farm last Friday to complete some important riparian buffer management! Student volunteers cleared a weedy patch near our tree plantings, mended damaged tree tubes, planted seedlings, and provided stellar golden-hour company.

As the season winds down, we’re looking forward to one last community volunteer opportunity in our 8 acre multifunctional riparian buffer. Register today to join us on Saturday, November 5th, 10am-12:30pm, for some late-season planting and tree check-ups.

If you’re new to volunteering with us, this is a great opportunity to learn more about our ongoing land restoration project in partnership with DCNR PennVest, GIANT and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Healing Planet Earth, the Stabler Foundation, and the Keystone 10 million trees campaign.

K10 Partnership Celebrates 5 Million Trees

Congratulations to Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership for reaching a huge milestone this month! Together with many partners from around the state & region, #10MillionTreesForPA planted their 5 millionth tree in Franklin County.

The Keystone Partnership has been pivotal in our efforts to establish 14 acres of riparian buffer on our farm, helping us plant over 15,000 trees over the past four years! We couldn’t have done this without the Ketystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, who provided trees, supplies, and volunteer resources.

As we bask in this accomplishment, let’s give a shout out to the hundreds of volunteers who’ve put hands to the dirt and helped make our vision a reality. From 2018 to just last week, over 200 volunteers have braved the elements, planted seedlings, posted tubes, righted poles, and managed invasives, bringing both muscle and comradery to our stewardship efforts.

Community Gardeners Take on the “Soil Your Undies” Challenge!

As we prepare for our  Soil Microbes 101  class on October 29th, we’ll let you in on a BRIEF experiment conducted by two of our community gardeners this summer!

As part of the Pennsylvania Soil Health Coalition‘s “Soil Your Undies” Challenge, enterprising gardeners Phyllis and Mark buried two fresh pairs of drawers in their garden plots to see just how hungry healthy soils can be. Bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and worms process soil nutrients by feeding on organic (carbon-containing) compounds, so adding cotton underwear to the mix, it turns out, can tell us a lot about how these populations are getting along!

Annihilated undies = a thriving soil food web, full of the microbes essential to garden and ecosystem health. After this experiment, our gardeners will amend the soil in Mark’s plot and see if any improvements occur.

Soil Microbes 101 with Suzanne Shea

Ever seen a nematode? A microarthropod? Halloween is almost here, so why not spend some time with the creepy crawlies that call our farm and garden soils home?

Next Saturday, discover the creepy crawlies that make our soils come to life. In this program, participants will explore the microbial life that makes up soil and how we can nurture it, producing healthier plants and happier land.

Participants will get to see microbes through the microscope while exploring the building blocks of soil science. Whether you’re a gardener, farmer, or aspiring food grower, fall is a great time to expand your knowledge and plan proactively for the growing season!

Join us on Saturday, October 29th for Soil Microbes 101 with Certified Soil Food Web Lab-Tech, Suzanne Shea.

Click here to Register for Soil Microbes 101