Agricultural Activities

pasture

Maplehill Community Farm is located on 140-acres in Marshfield, Vermont just “up the hill“ from Plainfield Village. An old Vermont hill farm, Maplehill Community Farm is a mixture of open fields and forested hillsides. It enjoys sweeping views of the distant Green Mountains and the Worcester Range to the west and the closer Marshfield Hills and the Orange Range to the east and south.

The farm plays an integral role in the service operations of Elmhill, Inc. providing hands-on opportunities to explore alternative methods of education, food production, distribution, preservation, community development, and land-based lifestyles that support sustainability and responsible land stewardship. As we consider the role that small, diversified farms will play in the future and as we consider Maplehill Community Farm as a trust to that future, we are working to develop and sustain practices that will support long-term food production in our long-range planning and planting.

Farm operations consist of vegetable production, beef cattle, laying chickens, pigs, maple sugaring, hayfields, and an extensive woodlot. Much of the food produced on the farm feeds students of Maplehill School programs, Maplehill School faculty/staff and interested neighbors.

In addition to providing a specialized educational environment for Maplehill School Students, the farm may also host students from different educational institutions for a variety of program offerings.

Maplehill Community Farm holds a yearly Community Garden Day Celebration in late May. This is a time for Maplehill School staff, students, and families along with neighbors and community members to celebrate the new growing year by planting in the garden, participating in garden related workshops, sharing a wonderful potluck lunch and bringing home garden starts grown in our greenhouse.

Sustainable Local Food Systems

Maplehill Community Farm produces fresh, healthy food in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. The Farm practices sustainable methods of production. We have direct buying relationships with local farms and are working to develop our capacity to provide produce and meat to a local public school. The Maplehill School Farm-to-Table program includes a long-term goal of sourcing at least 60 percent of the food it serves to students from a combination of its own farm and other local farms. Elmhill, Inc. relies on the Maplehill Community Farm for its Elder Outreach Project, which includes monthly food donations to the Twin Valley Senior Center and the Onion River Food Shelf. The Farm is a resource center for educational and agricultural experimentation and endeavor.

Land-Based Education

maple sugaring

The Maplehill Community Farm environment and its associated activities provide experiences that foster understanding, appreciation, and vocational preparedness. As an educational environment, the farm site elicits diverse forms of interaction and countless opportunities for reflection. As an educational environment, the farm promotes hands-on learning that addresses achievement in traditional subject areas. As solace to individuals who seek it, the farm provides a peaceful, beautiful place where rhythms related to life, work and recreation are simple and straightforward. Fresh air, clear boundaries and room to move make Maplehill Community Farm a place that inspires individuals to relax and develop trust in the value of hard work and honest relationships. In practical terms, students learn important job skills in day to day lessons on the farm. The farm, with its projects and chores, provides real-life activities that support the transition from an educational program to life in the world.

chickens

Maplehill School programs are located on a 140-acre working farm. Students take part in the running of the farm through vocational training classes in organic gardening, animal husbandry, landscaping, forestry, carpentry, culinary arts, small engine repair, and farm outreach and marketing. Students work with staff to plan project-based learning activities that are based on the land. Students have space to unwind, relax and recharge. Our Farm-to-Table Program provides much of our school’s food year-round. We teach our students responsible land stewardship and environmental sustainability.