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Why Education at MITP

Education—A Better Future
Moon In The Pond is committed to education about small-scale, diverse, eco-agriculture and local food production because we need it!

Not long ago most people lived relatively near the farms that grew their food. Our grandparents had a close, if not intimate, relationship with farmers and with nature. Those relationships infused communities with the values of respect and awareness of oneself, others, and the planet in a natural, real and living web of interdependence. That closeness to the origin of food gives a sense of one’s place in the natural world.

Decades of farming have given me a lot—the rich fullness, awesome complexity, and comforting security of life close to the land. Though not always easy, it taught me about real value, a broad perspective, the long view that brings a sense of belonging and responsibility. The daily experience of life and death, active participation in it, in many cases holding it in my hands, empowers and humbles me. I believe many more of us should have these experiences.

The past 40-60 years saw an accelerated move away from the land. Steady suburbanization of our culture, and industrialization of our farms and food systems have weakened our relationships to and understanding of our bodies, each other, our communities, and the world. We need to move in the other direction—closer to the land.

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For many children food comes wrapped in plastic, may be neon blue, and is nuggets, Os, or pockets. Their experience of a farm is aFacebook app. That’s why we welcome kids to discover that food comes from farms, grows out of the soil and is produced by nature on living farms; why we host school classes to experience carrots from the ground (not a bag), milk from a cow (not a carton) and sustenance from a real farm (not a factory). When grade schoolers, teens, volunteers, or apprentices dig potatoes, muck out the barn, milk a cow, or relax, laugh and share after an exhausting day of creative, gratifying work, their world is rocked. They see their lives very differently.

Many established farms have stopped taking apprentices and interns. Many farms don’t encourage or even allow visitors. This redoubles our resolve to have people see, experience and learn at Moon In The Pond Farm. If people can’t know, see, feel or smell a farm, how can they understand farming? TV, video games, and apps won’t do it. We believe teaching people about farms and educating potential young farmers is imperative to the continuation of sustainable agriculture and the preservation of its traditional practices and wisdom. Sustainable agriculture is simply not sustainable without a new generation of farms to continue and expand our work.

New farms need new farmers! The farm to table/local farm/local food trend is booming. We all love local farms and want to see more of them. We need more local farms to reverse the trend of dangerous, anonymous, industrialized farming. Education is the only way to spur this movement. Young people (who may never have visited a farm) need a place to experience a real farm, and farm life, to begin to even consider agriculture, an agricultural career or agrarian life.

By keeping the farm active and producing, by opening the gates to allow people in, by committing Moon In The Pond Farm to a mission of education, we provide opportunities for as many people as possible to see and experience farming’s benefits, value and rewards. For every new farmer educated at Moon in the Pond, we actually produce a multitude of benefits for entire communities – farmers’ markets, healthy school foods, butcher shops, local restaurants, and so forth. As those new farmers educate other new farmers, our impact is multiplied exponentially. Each life lived close to the land, farming, benefits many lives—in the community, region and beyond.

Good food and a clean environment require organic farms and farmers. Farmers need communities that support them. If we hope to have farmers and supportive communities, we need educational farms like Moon In The Pond. The vibrant active farms of a vital rural culture, the farms of our grandparents (and great grandparents going back 10 thousand years) filled that need and sustained our world. We continue that powerful tradition. At Moon In The Pond we’re fighting for a better planet—that understands the enormous power of working in harmony with nature. We commit to grow much more than just good food, we commit to grow a better future. –Farmer Dom

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