Tenting in the barn & working at Local Farm is part of the Yale Harvest Program.
Yale Harvest is a pre-orientation opportunity offered to incoming Yale freshmen where they spend five days on an organic family-run farm learning about food production and physical labor. The Harvest Program was student-conceived as an alternative to Outward-Bound-type programs. The students reasoned that instead of getting lost in and finding their way out of the woods to build self-confidence, survival skills, and trust; participating in farm labor would be just as new and challenging to many students as well as increasing one’s understanding of one’s food sources. And indeed, here at Local Farm we’ve observed the camaraderie born of cooperatively over-coming shared on-the-farm challenges as it creates lasting bonds among the students.
We hosted our first Yale Harvest leadership training group in May of 2006 and a pre-orientation group that August. The main project we tackled that year, and for several subsequent years, was cutting briars and reclaiming pasture. It rained a lot and the over-our-head tangles of barberry and multi-flora rose bushes were daunting. Yet most of us cried at the end because it had been such a wonderful experience. Yale Harvest remains one of the highlights of our year at Local Farm.
Besides cutting briars, students washed, walked, and milked cows. They also made butter and ice-cream.
By the last day at Local Farm, the students were no longer daunted but TRIUMPHANT!!!! And so were we, Local Farm farmers about all the many future mouthfuls of grass that the group had liberated!