Farm

F&W’s organic farm is a typical Vermont hillside farm that is healthfully sustained.

We raise dairy cows, pigs, sheep, goats, alpacas, laying hens, meat chickens, and ducks. All F&W animals are lovingly cared for throughout their lives here. Our farm animals play a role in keeping our fields fertilized and our gardens free of weeds.  Each animal has a specific purpose, such as producing milk, meat, dairy, fiber, or eggs.  None of the animals raised at Farm and Wilderness are considered pets, they are here to show people where their food comes from and what it takes to raise animals for food and fiber.  It also shows a kinder, more respectful way to raise animals for consumption. They teach us about lifecycles from birth through death as well as about responsibility to others, and hopefully empathy for other species.

Acres of gardens are planted each spring and tended by campers during the summer. Our camp kitchens use our organic, fresh produce throughout the growing season. Fall harvest is boxed for our local C.S.A., canned, dried, or frozen. Our organic dairy provides us with much of the milk we drink.

 

Food

Campers consistently rated our food as one of their favorite aspects of summer! Meals are when campers connect with friends and cabin mates, staff to see how all their campers are doing, and everyone recharges on tasty food.

Our kitchen staff prepare nutritious dishes that kids enjoy eating. Camp cooks often return to work at F&W for years, and many campers have discovered their love of cooking while helping to make bread, homemade pizzas, or a stir-fry for dozens of appreciative eaters.

Farm & Wilderness can accommodate campers who are vegan, unable to eat meat, dairy, or gluten.

Buildings & Forests

Farm & Wilderness manages approximately 4,800 acres of forests through goals of sustainable timber production and enhanced wildlife habitat. Our setting is a living laboratory, providing opportunities for campers, teens and staff to learn about the forests, wildlife, and adventures outdoors.

In our forests, F&W attempts to mimic the same changes that occur as woodlands age undisturbed. We harvest trees near maturity to create an open space for seedlings to get established, as well as manage our woodland to encourage quality trees to reach maximum growth. Our harvested wood is used for building projects at F&W and sold at local sawmills. Woodward Reservoir and the surrounding lands are managed annually for preventing invasive species.

Sustainability

Farm & Wilderness has a long history of environmental sustainability, for years the camps have composted food scraps and only a few flush toilets for the 800 staff and campers, instead relying on outhouses or what F&W folks call “Kybos”.  The humanure is composted and spread on a non-food crop field saving F&W an estimated 1 million gallons of water annually and the thermophilic composting process sequesters much of the carbon at the same time.  F&W, as far as we know, is one of the only organizations to do this on such a large scale.  Permission for this is granted under a Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Permit.

In 2009 we started gathering data for our first Greenhouse Gas Audit and began developing strategies to reduce our carbon footprint.  We had energy audits performed on our year-round use buildings.  After reducing the heat loads we began incorporating new technologies such as LED lighting, high-efficiency appliances, brushless motors, and building heating controls to reduce consumption.

It was once common to see diesel pickup trucks driving the roads however, we started using electric golf carts in 2010.  The culmination of these strategies has reduced F&W’s carbon emissions by 31% as of 2016, and more significantly, due to an increase in campers and staff, over 42% per capita.

In 2014 the TF boiler plant was constructed.  The F&W main campus is on a 600-acre parcel and consequently, there are a significant number of dying or “hazard trees” on the property.  These trees along with construction waste are used to generate heat and hot water for the Tamarack Farmhouse.

In 2015 we received a grant from Green Mountain Power (GMP) to install solar panels on the Tamarack Farmhouse roof, producing over 18,000 kWhrs annually, more than the building uses.

In 2017 a solar array was constructed behind the Sustainable Resources Building providing the additional 80,000 kWhrs F&W uses annually.

Looking ahead we are excited to continue our partnership with Efficiency Vermont and GMP.  We have participated in two pilot programs, one testing heat pumps to reduce loads on the grid and the other using batteries to flatten electrical “peak demand”.  This battery also serves as the backup at our dairy plant in the event of a power outage.

For more information check out our Resource blog, recycling a truck or get the details of our GHG audit in the annual report.

 

The Ninevah Foundation

In May of 2018, Farm & Wilderness and the Ninevah Foundation formally joined forces, run by a common board of trustees, dedicated to the education of children and teens in six summer camps and stewardship of the environment.  The Ninevah Foundation conserves more than 3,000 acres around Lake Ninevah and Saltash Mountain in Mount Holly and Plymouth, Vermont.

VISIT THE Ninevah Foundation WEBSITE!