We hope everyone had an enjoyable Berea College Homecoming this past weekend. It was such a thrill to see some of our Ag. Alums stop by the store and check out the progress we’ve made on ideas they’ve shared with us during our annual visioning and planning meetings.
In these brainstorming sessions, students, faculty and staff sit down together to discuss lessons learned and ideas for the future.
Many improvement on the farm were born from these meetings, including the transition of hogs from confinement to pasture, the addition of more certified organic acreage to provide beans and grains for humans and livestock, the reintroduction of poultry and, of course, the Berea College Farm Store as a means of getting more student-grown food from the farm into the community.
Most folks may not realize that the Berea College Farm isn’t just a place for students to fulfill their work-study labor requirements, but a laboratory where they get real-life experience learning the why and how of lessons taught in the classroom.
Students have the opportunity to give us their input and feedback on nearly every decision made at the farm and are encouraged to try new ideas and learn from their mistakes. Indeed, mistakes are often where the most learning occurs.
The continuing mission of the Agriculture and Natural Resources program is education above all. Back in 1915, Berea College vocational dean Francis Clark wrote that students “have a great opportunity to see what can be done by improved methods and the most important thing is that they learn the principles, so that they can put them into practice on their own farms.”
In the spirit of continuing education, we’ve got some upcoming opportunities open to students and community members. This coming Saturday is the third edition of our “Break it Down” series. Chef and farmer Nathan Turner will lead participants through the process of cutting a whole chicken down into its various parts to feed friends and family.
The class is $35 and includes a chicken for participants to butcher and keep. Space is limited to 10, and the registration deadline is today to allow us to have enough birds. Call 985-3685 or stop by the store during business hours to register.
For folks who have been interested in learning more about how to use our brewing kits or how to grow gourmet mushrooms from our mushroom kits, we’ve got you covered there as well. These kits make excellent do-it-yourself gifts for the holidays, and can be enjoyed by both recipient and giver, assuming the recipient is willing to share the fruits of their labor! The brewing workshop is Nov. 22 and the mushroom demo is scheduled for Dec. 6. Look for more details in next week’s newsletter so stay tuned!
Speaking of the holidays, I thought it might be worth noting that we just received the first seasonal batch of egg nog from our friends at JD Country Milk in Logan county. JD milk is free of antibiotics, steroids and other hormones. It is low-temp pasteurized, non-homogenized, pasture-raised dairy goodness. We also just got a fresh supply of free-range Pike Valley Farm eggs, but they never last long. Get them while you can!
Until next time, eat well!