Horn Farm Happenings – September 9, 2022

The Abundance of Reciprocity

This year, Project Manager, Anna Echo Hawk planted a three sisters demonstration garden, which gifted us an abundance of sweet corn this month! We couldn’t be more grateful–not just for the bounty, but for the experience of watching this plot grow and harmonize over the past few months.

Three sisters demonstrates reciprocity and interdependence with and within the natural world–values that we try to impart through our workshops and practices at the Horn Farm Center. By virtue of their natural growth patterns and survival strategies, the crops of the Three Sisters emerge in ways that nourish the whole. Each crop, in striving for individual flourishing, becomes a companion and caretaker supporting the growth of others.

Displays of such nourishing relationships can be found wherever you look in the Three Sisters garden:

  • Corn stalks serve as inviting poles for the wandering, adaptable beans, which thrive on vertical support.
  • In return, the beans stabilize the corn stalks and, deep beneath the soil, convert nitrogen to a usable form that fertilizes the other, hungrier crops.
  • Squash along the perimeter offer broad, low-lying leaves that, by shading the soil, retain moisture on dry summer days and reduce weed pressure.
  • Biodiversity fortifies all the crops against pests, with an array of habitat attracting more insect life and, thus, encouraging greater balance in predator-prey dynamics

The Horn Farm Center’s three sisters plot also celebrates the benefits of a fourth sister–the sunflower–who brings additional shade and attracts pollinators to the benefit of wind-pollinated crops like corn. In these and other ways, we can see nuanced and abounding harmonies at play, and confirmation of the vision we hope to share: that cultivating food has the potential to restore and rejuvenate the health of natural cycles.

We are indebted to centuries of Native American caretaking and expertise for animating and preserving this knowledge of the Three Sisters. The Susquehannock people predating European colonization in our region practiced this style of annual planting and embodied its teachings of balanced relationship with the land. By bringing the Three Sisters to our farm, we’re leaning into our mission of reconnecting to the past and humbly helping to restore faith in the tacit teachings of the plants we depend on.


From Waste to Resource: Composting

This past weekend we hosted another Backyard Composting workshop with Farm Manager, Andrew Horn! We thank our friends at York County Solid Waste & Refuse Authority for helping to make our composting workshop series a success!

Don’t miss your chance to learn the do’s and don’ts of home composting in a program designed for accessibility and affordability.

Our final Backyard Composting workshop of 2022 will take place on Thursday, September 22nd from 5-7pm at the Horn Farm Center.

Click here to learn more and register for Backyard Composting. 

George Washington’s Favorite Fruit

Native Americans first cultivated pawpaws as a food source, as it was the largest edible fruit indigenous to the land that is now the United States. In fact, the Shawnee even had a pawpaw month in their calendar. While pawpaws and other edible plants now grow wild throughout our lands, it is probable that many are descended from intentionally planted and managed Native orchards and forests.

The pawpaw has been valued by many throughout our history. George Washington claimed it as his favorite fruit, and pawpaws were grown at Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello. Jefferson is said to have believed the pawpaw had potential for cultivation, and sent seeds to Europe as an example of a uniquely American plant. The widespread fruit even proved useful  in feeding  the famous expedition of Lewis and Clark. They subsisted on pawpaws for three days at one point in their epic journey.

Learn more about the Amazing Pawpaw in the HFC blog article written by David Dietz.

Throughout this month, you can also find pawpaw fun facts on our Facebook and Instagram as part of our countdown to the 2022 Pawpaw Festival. Join us on September 24th and 25th, 10am-3pm at the Horn Farm Center!

Read more about the Amazing Pawpaw

Last Call for Pawpaw Fest Volunteers!

We are thankful to have a robust crew of volunteers helping us with this year’s – bigger and better than ever – Pawpaw Festival! And, we still need help on Sunday, September 25th.

With only a few weeks to go until the 2022 York County Pawpaw Festival, we’re excited to share how we’ll be thanking this year’s volunteers! Our complimentary Pawpaw Fest goodies for volunteers include:

  • Lunch at the event
  • A bag o’ pawpaws
  • A pawpaw cookbook
  • Pawpaw stickers

Willing to help us out? Let us know how and when you’d like to volunteer by signing up today using the link below.

Click here to sign up to volunteer!

Sponsor Highlight: Natural Awakenings

Each month Natural Awakenings magazines across the country take a practical look at the latest natural approaches to nutrition, fitness, creative expression, personal growth and sustainable living. The magazine offers interviews with national experts and inspiring how-to articles. Each month brings fresh perspective around a timely theme sure to pique your interest.

At the front of each community issue Natural Awakenings offers global news and views as a complement to news and events of local interest. The magazine highlights healing arts practitioners in the local area and connect you with a wealth of national and local resources mapping out alternate routes to a healthier, happier, longer life. A life that feels good all the way around.

As a champion of healthy living, Natural Awakenings is expanding their impact by sponsoring the 2022 York County Pawpaw Festival. We thank Natural Awakenings for supporting our work and mission at the Horn Farm Center.

Learn more about Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks
Learn more about Natural Awakenings Central PA

Foraging Foundations Weekend

This weekend, discover the skills, knowledge, and practices that are critical to our sense of place. Through mindful foraging, we can provide ourselves with healthy, free food and medicine, become more self-reliant, and connect on a deeper level to the landscape in which we live.

Farmer, Forager, and Educator, Jon Darby, will provide foundational knowledge for those interested in beginning (or deepening) their path towards building a relationship with the land, incorporating wild plants into their everyday life, and gaining the knowledge to confidently share with others. Expect a diverse array of lecture, conversation, general plant walks, hands-on exercises, and the opportunity for plenty of tasting of both raw and prepared wild foods.

Topics covered will include:

  • Safe practices
  • Ethical considerations
  • Basic botany including: terminology, plant parts, and plant families
  • Plant observation and identification
  • Understanding and using plant keys
  • Culinary uses – Harvesting, preparation, cooking and tasting
  • Utilitarian uses – making natural plant cordage

Join us this weekend, September 10th & 11th, for Foraging Foundations with Jon Darby.