Homesteading at the Farm
Campers who sign up for Homesteading will be able to experience what it was like to live in the mountains of western North Carolina 100 years ago, as well as what it means to be a modern Homesteader living sustainably today. They will work in our organic garden, planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops. Campers will also help tend to the goats, chickens, and turkey; gather eggs; and help with a variety of other tasks that are essential to running the farm.
Through individual and collaborative work, campers get to enjoy the tangible benefits of their hard work each day—maybe some flapjacks with sorghum syrup or a frittata with swiss chard—that has been prepared on the wood-burning stove by the assigned cooking group for the day.
Mountain Campers that are a part of Homesteading are given opportunities to participate more independently in higher-level skills at the farm. Older campers in past summers have helped build a bicycle-powered grain grinder, which we use to process sorghum and corn, and a portable, solar hot water system that heats water for washing our dishes. They also have the opportunity to sign up to go to the local farmer’s market to sell produce from the farm. Using the profits from the market, they are able to make micro-loans to farmers in other parts of the world through our Rockmont Farm lending team on Kiva. (As of May 2017, we have loaned more than $4,600.)
By giving campers individual and group responsibilities in all aspects of farm work, campers see first-hand the value of hard work and cooperation. At the same time, campers increase their knowledge of food systems and build a higher level of organic growing skills to take home with them. They experience the benefits of their labor by tasting the freshly prepared food they help prepare.
When we harvest food and send it to the camp’s dining hall for others to enjoy or sell produce at the Black Mountain Farmer’s Market, campers see how we are connected to our broader community. And when we use the profits from the market sales to make a microloan on Kiva to a farmer in Indonesia or Peru, they see our connection to the broader world.
About the Instructor
Homesteading is taught by Jon McNair. Farmer Jon has been managing the farm and acting as skill head for Homesteading for more than 10 years. Prior to his tenure at Camp Rockmont, Jon taught for eight years in the public school system in North Carolina.
Camp Rockmont offers a long list of exciting camp activities and skills training opportunities. Visit our activities page to learn more!