This weekend we went to Peacehaven Community Farm's Harvest Celebration. Peacehaven is in Whitsett, NC, between Greensboro and Burlington.
According to their website, the vision of Peacehaven farm is to "be a community for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. The farm is located in the rolling hills of the Triad area of North Carolina, and will be a working farm that will provide a community within itself as well as invite others to the farm. It will not be a place of isolation, but one of destination for both those with disabilities and for the community at large." They eventually plan to have homes where residents can live and participate in farming activities, such as vegetable gardening and working with animal fibers.
"Peacehaven Farm is inspired by the family members of the farm's leaders: Tim and Susan Elliott, and Buck Cochran. All are parents of children with special needs. They have experienced the joys, the heartaches, the quest to 'fix', and the awe and wonderment of having someone they love with intellectual disabilities become all they were meant to be. The Elliott's twin son had a brain hemorrhage shortly after birth. They wanted to ensure that not only was their son cared for, but that he was also in a learning and loving environment. They began looking at different opportunities for their son. Then they met Buck Cochran, a former associate pastor at the Elliott's church. Buck had long had an interest in people with disabilities and in the ministry of L'Arche communities. 'The L'Arche model pairs residents with assistants and it is in that space,' Cochran said, 'lives are transformed. The residents become our teachers and we all grow.' In the fall of 2007, the three began transforming a place called Peacehaven from a dream to a reality."
So, we went to the harvest celebration, hoping to learn a little bit more about the farm's activities.
They had several goats in a petting area.
They had some chickens on display.
The farm is on a 90 acre plot of land, so we got a hayride tour of the property.
This is Lake Maskintosh which backs up to their property.
I didn't get a whole lot of pictures of their garden area, mostly because it was a small area that they are still developing, and most of this season's crops had already been turned under, however I was intrigued by the Sudan Grass. Any ideas on what that might be?
They have 6 sheep on the property that they sheer in the spring. As of right now they don't have any specific plans for the wool, but I think they plan to start a fiber program next year.
They barbecued two pigs from the property for dinner, and we ate sitting on hay bales.
One of the coolest things they had was an old apple cider press. The apples get placed whole into the wooden bin on top. Then the crank gets pushed, and it smushes them up into a barrel underneath.
Then another crank gets turned and it presses all of the cider out. For some reason, I was expecting the cider to be warm, but I don't know why. It was still delicious.
They even had a local potter demonstrating how to throw clay on the wheel.
It was definitely a cool harvest celebration, and it was a great opportunity to learn what Peacehaven Farm is trying to do in their community.