Our Organic Farm

Our Organic Farm – Thanksgiving Farm, CSA

Thanksgiving Farm at the Center for Discovery encompasses over 100 certified organic acres at Stonewall Preserve, 40 acres at Applebee Farm and an additional 10 certified acres at the Main Campus or home farm.  The Farm grows roughly 60 different types of vegetables, flowers, and herbs and is home to several species of livestock including beef cattle, laying hens, pigs, and sheep.  The farm is designed to provide both quality food for the Center and meaningful work for the residents who live here.  Farm products are certified organic and animals are pasture raised.  The farm is in production from May through November but also incorporates winter production of leafy greens and herbs by utilizing 8 hoop houses for season extension of cold hearty crops and heated greenhouses (2) for off season growth.

Thanksgiving Farm, CSA
Thanksgiving Farm supports a 300 member CSA made up mostly of staff, families, and some community members. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a means through which people can re-establish a connection with the place that they live through the food that is produced there. CSA is a two way relationship, the farm provides fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs throughout the growing season, and in turn the members amke a financial commitment tot he farm in the spring and share in the harvest through the summer an fall. Field Notes from The Farm

Healing Gardens
The Healing gardens are working gardens where a variety of medicinal and culinary herbs, flowers, ornamentals and shrubs grow. They create harmonious and sensory spaces where those cared for or educated at The Center as well a staff can enjoy working in, spending time or just walking through. There are 5 such gardens in the different campuses and they are differently conceived to meet specific intentions. They constitute a path into the farm in some respect. Their scale and lay out make it easy for anyone to participate and learn the basis of horticulture and the biodynamic method we use on the farm. From the early Spring to the late Fall, adults or students are seen participating in the care of the beds, the planting and maintaining and also in the harvesting. A fair amount of herbs are finding their way to the herbal workshop where other individuals dry them and process them for the making of culinary herbs and teas as well as some cosmetic products. The gardens and the workshop are Demeter® Biodynamic certified. These gardens and their several hundred of plant species have multiple healing effects on the soil, the landscape, and people in different ways

About Biodynamic Farming
The biodynamic method dates back to 1924 and is one of the original approaches to organized organic farming worldwide. As in organic farming, biodynamic farming does not permit the use of synthetic chemicals or fertilizers But what distinguishes a Demeter Certified Biodynamic® Farm from a certified organic farm is that, in its entirety, a Demeter Biodynamic Farm® is managed as a living organism. This is the fundamental principle of the biodynamic farming method.  In terms of day-to-day practices, management is aimed at creating a holistic farming system that is minimally dependent on imported inputs (feed, hay, seed, manure, etc.) for its survival . Ideally everything required to maintain the vitality of the farm arises from within the living dynamics of the farm itself. Thanksgiving Farm currently holds both USDA Organic and Demeter Biodynamic® certifications.

Future Farm Plans
The Center for Discovery plans on converting 3 hoop houses to wood heated greenhouses utilizing our own wood, rendering the greenhouses completely sustainable and off the grid as well as increasing farm production by adding increased vegetable acreage to the current rotation providing an additional 45 total acres (15 active, 30 resting).  This will allow the Farm to further support the Agency’s considerable vegetable needs bringing us one step closer to sustainability.