I hear the crunch, crunch, crunch of gravel under my boots as I walk between the two historical structures. To my left is the corn crib, one of the oldest structures on the property. Once used to store corn, it is now a place where chickens roam, produce is washed, and feed and equipment are stored. To my right, the shop. These two buildings act as welcoming pillars to the entrance of our modern-day Procter Center Farm.
The original farm on this land was thousands of acres and produced a few types of grain crops. Today, the farm is six acres, and produces over 40 different vegetable crops, chicken, eggs, and pork. Neither farming method is better over the other, it is just two different types of farming methods. Instead of mass producing a few commodity crops, Procter Center Farm now focuses on growing specialty crops and pasture-raised animals using regenerative and organic farming practices.
Procter Center sits on land that has been farmed for centuries. Continuing to farm this land is a rare privilege in an age when the United States is losing farmland at staggering rates. According to AgWeek.com, 31 million acres of farmland was lost between 1992 and 2012. Procter is proud to retain the land it was gifted, over 70 years ago.
The farm our campers and guests know and love today was established in 2009. Twelve years later, the farm continues to supplement the Procter Center kitchen, provide fresh food to locals at various farmers markets, and is a learning lab for groups of all ages. This year, for the first time, summer campers will spend a large part of their camp experience with the farm. It is an incredible experience to take a seed, plant it, nurture it, watch it grow and receive sustenance from the fruit. There are so many parallels between growing vegetables and growing in our faith.
I gaze out, across the farm, and see the greenhouse, high tunnel and fields. It feels like home. There is a special, radiating feeling of calm, love and hope, and it resonates from the soil up into the air. If I stop, close my eyes and take a deep breath, I feel the warm breeze pass over my face, and the sun shines through the dark of my eyelids. I am at peace.
Danielle Vogel serves as Farm Manager at Procter Center. Connect with Danielle at firstname.lastname@example.org.