The Wonderful World of Sustainable Farming

By Zoe Goldberg ’19 

On Friday, October 20, the AP Environmental Science classes went to Stone Barns in Tarrytown, NY. While we were there, we took a tour of the grounds and learned about the sustainable farming methods they use. All of the students worked together to cook a healthy, fresh, farm-to-table lunch. While working with the Stone Barns staff, we learned about the farm and natural practices they use to produce their food so we can implement sustainable practices in our own lives and help preserve the earth’s natural resources. 

During our tour of the farm we had the opportunity to see the greenhouses, fields, and even collect eggs from the chickens! We were also able to ask questions of the farm staff, who told us about the farm’s crops and animals and gave us inspiration for our upcoming farm projects. I learned how it is possible to run a functional and sustainable farm. Stone Barns uses crop rotation and cover crops to retain nutrients in the soil, prevent erosion, and prevent crop diseases from spreading. They also move their animals over multiple fields to improve the soil quality. (When animals eat the top of blades of grass, it strengthens the roots.) The animals also naturally fertilize the ground with their manure, and pigs naturally till the soil, allowing new plants to be oxidized and grow. Stone Barns raises their own honey bees, who pollinate the plants and produce honey, and the farm uses goats to eat invasive species like vines on the trees, making room for crops that are beneficial to the land.

Going to Stone Barns opened my eyes to sustainable farming practices and inspired me to be conscious about the origin of my food. It also showed me all the work that goes into operating a farm without conventional practices. In the end, it is well worth it, for people and the environment.