Farm and Garden
Often cited as a highlight of the NCS experience, the farm and garden program does much more than provide opportunities for real work. At the barn, students learn about and care for a variety of farm animals under the careful guidance of faculty with both classroom and farm experience. Every morning and afternoon as part of daily work jobs, students feed and water horses and other animals, shovel manure, collect and wash chicken eggs. They learn the lessons of life’s natural rhythms—the birth of a lamb, the loss of chickens to predators, the power of disease—as well as respect for all earth’s creatures.
In our gardens, students gain a broad understanding of the full cycle of growing, the benefits of local food sources, and practices of sustainable living—all from direct experience. Students help transplant seedlings from the greenhouses to the gardens, prepare soil, weed, and harvest throughout the season. Each fall the school community participates in traditional potato and chicken harvests. Students prepare salads from lettuces they harvested, eat pesto prepared from our own basil, adorn dining room tables with freshly picked flowers. They store onions and potatoes in root cellars and freeze tomatoes for wintertime pasta sauce. They distribute all our food scraps to the pigs and the compost pile. Each spring, the entire School looks forward to a sure sign of winter’s retreat: the on-campus production of maple syrup, with students involved in tapping the trees, collecting and boiling sap, and sampling the final product. The tasty result of their labors typically supplies the topping for pancakes and waffles throughout the next year.