Mountainside’s campus hosts a two acre vegetable garden, a high tunnel greenhouse, and 60 acres of agricultural fields. It is an ideal setting to educate youth about soils, how to grow and prepare nutritious food, and how to farm and garden in ways that enhance soil health and protect water quality.
Farmer, Nick Miller, manages Mountainside’s agricultural fields, vegetable gardens, high tunnel greenhouse, composting, and produce sales, and also leads the following MEE school year Harvest Lessons and Harvest Clubs as well as Bar-T’s specialty summer Harvest Camp.
As part of Mountainside’s Campus Greening Plan, MEE facilitated the conversion of 32 acres of commodity crops to 17 acres of permanent pasture and 15 acres of pollinator meadows. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Farm Stewardship program provided essential funding as well as 200 trees and shrubs. Additional funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and a Bayer Feed A Bee grant closed the funding gap and allowed us to acquire a diverse mix of perennial wildflower seeds.
MEE offers agricultural lessons to students of all ages participating in field trips and overnight retreats at Mountainside. Lesson topics include but are not limited to best land practices, soil health, the life cycle of plants, native habitat, and nutrition. These sessions incorporate a hands-on exploration and the option to participate in preparing a deliciously fresh snack.
MEE engages students from 35 Bar-T Kids Club centers, in Harvest based activities. Farmer Nick runs an hour lesson, once a week, for four weeks. Topics and activities include seed investigations, planting dos and don’ts, growing and using fresh herbs, and harvesting fresh produce to prepare various dishes. Every activity is centered around seasonal availability. This program takes place at Mountainside, in the garden and high tunnel or at the Bar-T Center, depending on the time of year.
If interested in partnering with MEE to bring Harvest Clubs to your after-school program, contact Shannon Richardson.
HARVEST & COOKING CAMP
While not a program under MEE, Bar-T Mountainside offers a specialty camp called Harvest and Cooking Camp. Farmer Nick teaches campers how our food grows, lets them plant their own vegetables, and even teaches how to prepare the food they harvest. Learn more here.