Become a Volunteer!

Volunteers are central to the Horn Farm Center’s mission and serve as stewards of the land and the organization. 

Whether supporting our staff during community events or breaking a sweat taking regenerative action on the land, our volunteers are vital in enhancing our ability to heal the landscape and provide an enriching educational space for teaching others to do the same.

Our volunteer family consists of students, parents, retirees, gardeners, nature-lovers, and other individuals with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. Volunteering is a fantastic way not only to help the Horn Farm Center accomplish its land-healing mission, but to explore transferable nature-based skills in the presence of dedicated community members and experienced staff.

Exciting News!

We’ve recently expanded our volunteer offerings through a dedicated program called the Horn Farm Community Crew! Supporting both land-based activities and educational programs, members of our Community Crew have access to staff-led training, specialized projects, and perks. If you are looking to have a consistent and lasting impact on the land while learning alongside the Horn Farm’s experienced staff, consider signing up to be a crew member! Learn more about this new and evolving program below:

Current and Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities at the Horn Farm:

Community Crew Training:

Become a part of our ecosystem of learning and action!

By joining the Horn Farm’s Community Crew volunteer program, you’ll have access to training, perks, and specialized workdays that support both land stewardship and community education across our landscape. Learn more and sign up for our next training day on Sunday, August 11th below:

Elderberry Harvest Workdays:

Spend an evening outside with us while helping us gather elderberries for upcoming events!

The Horn Farm Center has 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 re-nourishing and stabilizing soils in the riparian buffer zones and other margins that we’re rewilding. Above ground, the prolific berries serve an abundance of insects, birds, and mammals, all of whom contribute to wider ecological wellbeing. We can partake in the bounty as well, benefitting from the berry’s’ incredible vitamin stores and immune-boosting properties.

Join the harvest with us by signing up for the volunteer workdays below:

Wild & Uncommon Weekend:

Otherwise known as the York County Pawpaw Festival, we are looking for volunteers to help with many aspects of our 20th anniversary event, taking place on Saturday, September 28th from 9am to 5pm. Areas of need include set-up/clean-up, parking, overseeing the registration table and kids’ activities, fruit sales, engaging visitors, and more.

Festival volunteers enjoy free admission to the Festival and a pizza lunch as a perk for helping out. Volunteers also earn priority access to purchase pawpaws before the festival begins.

Riparian Buffer Workdays:

Forested areas along streams–also known as “riparian buffers”–act like safety nets for local waterways. Without plenty of plant life to catch sediment, stabilize soil, intercept nutrients, and provide habitat, waterways become eroded, polluted, and inhospitable for us and our more-than-human neighbors. That’s why the Horn Farm Center is has spent the past five years planting thousands of trees across dozens of acres of streamside land. We are responsible for healing and preserving ecologies both upstream and downstream, and we need plenty of volunteer hands on the land to help nature thrive.

The Horn Farm’s riparian buffers are not only healing to soil, water, and regional biodiversity. They’re also multifunctional–full of plants that provide usable materials like weaving products, food, fuel, and cuttings called “live stakes” that can be replanted for future restoration work. Volunteers are helping us build a landscape that’s not only good for wildlife and the watershed, but that we can interact with in positive and nurturing ways–through learning, responsible harvest, and reawakening our connection to local nature.

Winter Willow Workdays:

The dormant season is the ideal time to harvest willow rods for basketry, live stakes, brushwood bundles, and other uses. Spend a cool morning outside with us while helping us gather willow branch bundles and learning about the Horn Farm’s transition to agroforestry!

Yearly maintenance through “coppicing,” or cutting trees to ground level, enables many wetland-adapted species like willow to resprout robustly, benefiting our other-than-human residents during the growing season while outfitting our harvest needs when the dormant season arrives. With over a dozen varieties of basketry willows as well as native willows planted as part of our first multifunctional riparian buffer, our annual willow harvest is a big event that can benefit from many hands pruning, sorting, bundling, and transporting.

  • We are finished for the 2023-24 harvest season! Stay tuned for next winter’s workdays beginning in December, 2024.

Summer Kitchen Event Support:

The Horn Farm’s Summer Kitchen is rooted in volunteer support. Without the generosity of community members who completed major renovations to the historic space in 2018, it wouldn’t be the certified commercial and teaching kitchen that it is today! Summer Kitchen volunteers assist with set-up, clean-up, supervision, and any dishwashing, ingredient organizing, and other tasks that need to take place during a class.

Summer Kitchen volunteers are expected to help at numerous classes throughout the year and must complete a basic food and kitchen safety course offered virtually through the Penn State Extension. Horn Farm Center covers the course cost so long as volunteers are able to commit to numerous Summer Kitchen classes.

Annual Plant Sale: see you in 2025!

The Horn Farm’s annual Plant Sale is a beloved community event ringing in the spring growing season with a wide variety of organically-grown plant starts for sale. In 2024, we’ll be offering vegetable, herb, and flower starts, medicinal plants, trees and shrubs, and native grasses, herbaceous perennials, and vines.

We invite a handful of volunteers to help our event run smoothly each year. Areas of need include set-up and clean-up, parking, and plant sales.

  • Stay tuned for 2025 sign-ups!

Board Service

The Horn Farm Board of Directors volunteer to serve as the governing body of the farm. They establish the mission and purpose, ensure adequate resources are available to accomplish the mission, and provide oversight of the farm’s operations.

Horn Farm Center is seeking new board members for the upcoming calendar year, especially those with a background in finance, accounting, law, technology, fundraising, or marketing.

The major responsibilities of  board members include:

  • Establish and advise leadership
  • Oversee governance policies of the organization-not the day-to-day operations
  • Provide financial management including adoption and oversight of the annual budget
  • Promote the organization to external audiences
  • Conduct fundraising and outreach

Board members serve three year terms and should expect to attend meetings which are held on the third Monday of every month at 6pm. The time commitment is 1-3 hours per month. For more information and to express your interest, contact us!