“Thank you for this food. This food. This wonderful, glorious food. And the animals. And the vegetables. And the minerals that make it possible.” I remember entering the dining hall during the fourth week of our very first summer of camp, and the echoing voices of 70+ young people singing grace struck me in a new light. We had sung these words weekly since the beginning of staff training, and yet the reverence they were expressing struck me deeply.
Our summer camp hosts campers ranging from ages 5-18, many of whom experience there a sustainable farm for the first time. Thinking back to my childhood, I felt a twang of jealousy for how much earlier they will understand how their food is grown and for the potential influence that knowledge may have throughout their formative years. At age 23, I found my voice through advocating for a regenerative, healthy food system. What will these youth do with their voices at just 16? 11? 6?
Our aim at Bellwether Farm is to equip children and adults to become informed, inspired, and empowered leaders for a sustainable future. Throughout the summer, campers engage in both “traditional” camp activities, such as canoeing, fishing, and cooking dinner over a fire. They also partake in stewardship-focused activities such as animal care, harvesting salad greens for dinner, cooking lessons, and being part of our compost system by taking food scraps to our lovable forest-raised pigs. As a life-long camper and lover of all things farming, I am continually awestruck by the brave and honest learnings of our young people, who are often willing to ask the tough questions I’ve seen many adults struggle to address:
- “If we can grow lettuce here, why does the grocery store sell it from California?”
- “This doesn’t taste like the other carrots I’m used to. These taste GOOD. Why?”
- “Wait, these pigs are where bacon comes from?”
At camp, we’re continually able to share our love of beekeeping, compost, soil health, local food systems, and a deep reverence for God’s amazing creation, day in and day out. Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of our work, though, is watching campers’ personal transformations as they begin to ask, “How can I take this home with me? Where do I start?”
Our work lies in planting both physical and spiritual seeds, and trusting that God will help them sprout. Do you have a young person who would benefit from attending Bellwether Farm’s summer camp this year? Registration is live!
Please visit bellwetherfarm.com/camp
for more information. Scholarship applications are available on the website and due by May 1.