“And on the 8th day, G-d looked down on his creation and said ‘I need a caretaker,’ so G-d made a farmer.”
I spent my winter months talking to a lot of people about our Farber Farm. During staff interviews I described in detail what they would see when they entered camp this upcoming summer. With campers I explained the added programs, with food, that they would get to participate in this summer. So many conversations, so many descriptions, and yet as all these people arrived at camp, my words paled in comparison by the actual farm. Nobody could’ve imagined such an amazing space that added such value to camp. I’m still stunned every time I visit the farm and here’s why…
When I step onto the Farber Farm, I see flowers, I see vegetables, I see fruits. I also see community. In this crazy way, I see a microcosm of our camp community in the farm. I’m not an expert farmer, nor will I admit to knowing the difference between hot crops and cold crops (I’m learning though). I will say that I’m an expert in relationship building. In the camping world we take great pride in putting the right bunk of campers together, then pairing them with the right staff. After that, we schedule them a bunch of activities that will enhance their summer experience. This formula, with some added secrets(!), creates a perfect setting for lasting relationships, memories that stand the test of time, and pure fun and laughter. At the farm, you need the same kind of formula for your crop community to flourish. You can’t mix and match your crop nonchalantly. You have to make sure the right crops are put into the same plot (bunk), there are some plants and flowers that help ward off pests and keep the crop safe (counselors), and then help water and weed so the crops can enjoy the sunshine. And that’s just the farm without even talking about connecting the campers.
In the Jewish religion we are to be guardians of the earth, Shomrie Adamah. To be able to teach our campers the importance of stewardship and tending to the land is such an added bonus to our camp experience. To allow campers to gain a new connection to Judaism, outside of other traditional senses, is amazing. Our calendar garden is revolutionizing the way our campers think about holidays, seasons, and food. We watch campers and staff flock to the Farber Farm to get dirty, to eat a tomato of the vine, to learn how to make their own food straight from the land. No matter the reason, the Farber Farm is creating a new relationship with our campers, a relationship with the earth.
I’ve enjoyed watching our campers grow with the farm, both literally and figuratively. This is the magic of camp.
Associate Director, Camp Maas