by Kerry Linderoth and members of AP Environmental Science (Brian Araque, Lucas Biondi, Ryan Jaeger, Jimmy Sandling, and Alex Voulgaris)
On November 4, 2015, students in AP Environmental Science visited Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY. While at the farm, students were able to participate in a variety of tasks, including herding turkeys, collecting eggs laid by the hens, and harvesting different varieties of kale. Students witnessed different strategies for sustainable agriculture that they are currently learning about in class, such as composting, crop rotation, and rotational grazing. Each of these techniques preserve the integrity of the soil and the ecosystem.
Stone Barns grows a variety of crops each season and raises several different animals, including sheep, turkeys, geese, pigs, and chickens. Unlike industrial farming practices, Stone Barns strives to emulate a natural environment for the entirety of its species. The farm also has multiple greenhouses to facilitate a four season farming cycle. Stone Barns has its own restaurant on-site, Blue Hills. The restaurant uses a variety of the farm’s seasonal, freshly grown crops, fruits, and vegetables to define the meaning of local ingredients. In fact, 70% of the restaurant’s ingredients are sourced directly from the farm.
Overall, students enjoyed learning about the practical uses of the concepts discussed in class in an interactive and real world context. Students will be able to apply their new knowledge to an upcoming project where they will be designing their own sustainable farm.