YMCA CAMP BURGESS & HAYWARD

chickens

Burgess Farm

 

 

ABOUT THE FARM

The Farm at Camp Burgess is an educational, diversified organic operation that includes vegetable, herb, and egg production. We currently have about 5,000 square feet of land under cultivation. Production continues year-round in an 800-square-foot heated greenhouse. The farm is also home to a flock of laying hens who provide fresh eggs, five Nigerian dwarf goats who keep our weeds in check, and two rabbits who are proven to miraculously cure homesickness. We also recently adopted a barn cat to help with rodent control in the greenhouse and shed, and we installed a pavilion which houses a honeybee observation hive.

 

 

 

 

WHY FARM?

At Burgess Farm, students, campers, and volunteers have the opportunity to help grow food for the community while learning about local and sustainable food systems. Hands-on, participatory activities reinforce important lessons about the true cost of food, allowing visitors to gain a deeper appreciation for the role farms and farmers play in today’s world.

 

 

 

 

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE FARM?

Farm projects provide countless volunteer opportunities for new and experienced farmers of all ages. All of the activities offered during the outdoor education seasons align with the Massachusetts education frameworks for middle school students. Some farm projects might include:

  • starting seeds in the greenhouse
  • turning planting beds in preparation for new crops
  • transplanting baby plants
  • sifting and spreading compost
  • harvesting, washing, and sorting produce for distribution
  • collecting and washing chicken eggs
  • feeding and watering the animals

 

 

WHO BENEFITS?

Produce from the farm is divided three ways. One third stays right here at Camp, showing up on the dining hall’s salad bar and in other dishes. One third goes to the Sandwich farmers’ market, where locals enjoy finding fresh food grown just miles from the market. And one third goes to local food pantries, including the South Shore YMCA’s Germantown branch, to help address food security in our community.

Students and campers who help out on the farm get good outdoor exercise and first dibs on the best strawberries, in addition to prime goat hang-out time. They also get to see the fruits of their labors moving beyond the camp and into the community, reinforcing the Y’s commitments to healthy living and social responsibility.

 

 

 

HOW CAN I VISIT?

Summer campers at Burgess & Hayward have the option to sign up for daily Farm Interest Group, selected at the beginning of each week. Cabin groups may also choose to visit the farm during Cabin Activity Periods (CAPs). For a more in-depth experience, sign up for Farming Specialty Camp, offered the final week of summer!

Students participating in our overnight Outdoor Education programs will have the chance to visit the farm during evening activity periods. They may also visit the farm during academic classes if there are farm projects available that fit in thematically with class content.

Local schools looking for a single-day visit to the farm are welcome, too. We offer farm tours paired with participatory activities which can align with Massachusetts state education frameworks in an array of subjects. Feel free to contact the Farm Director for more information about these memorable field trips.

 

OUR DONORS & SPONSORS

Burgess Farm receives support from a number of farming and gardening organizations, listed below. Please support these wonderful organizations in return!

 

TO LEARN MORE

The Farm Director posts “Fresh from the Farm” updates on Camp’s blog each Monday. Check it out here!

For more information about our farm-based programs, please contact Tara Laidlaw, Farm Director, at 508-428-2571 ext. 118 or tlaidlaw@ssymca.org.