OUR BLOG: our program, our impact, past, present, future

July 17, 2019

With the summer already half way done, the Dene has been nothing but busy! Since the last time we reported the garden has really taken shape, students partook in a special Hildene event, a new gator was bought, and we have participated in quite a few of the Manchester Farmer’s Markets. 

When we first started this summer the garden was a jungle of weeds. Now, we have a variety of plants ranging from: Brussels Sprouts, Tomatoes, Basil, Carrots, Beets, Cabbage, Peas, and many more! 

Just last week, we got the opportunity to show off our hard work at a Hildene Donor Dinner. The night was quite a success for the team and we engaged in wonderful conversations about gardening and Hildene’s history. They even got to see the finished classroom, which is the new home for the Dene Farm Program. We are still waiting to move in, but it seems like the big day is just around the corner. 

The exciting news doesn’t stop there! After many years of borrowing vehicles, we finally bought a Gator! Transportati...

June 25, 2019

The Dene Farm is in full swing this summer with a new crew led by Mr. Andersen! It’s been a rainy start but that hasn’t stopped us from working hard and getting the job done. The new crew consists of 5 enthusiastic BBA students: Tobianna Aldrich, Kilo Francomb, Bolivar Rodriquez, Peter Tschaikowsky, and Abby Navin. Look out for their bio’s soon! 

Not a moment here has been wasted-- we’ve worked hard to make some beautiful tomato trellises and plant a wide variety of vegetables, including: potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, basil, brussel sprouts and many more. However, it doesn’t stop there! We also made our first appearance at the Manchester Farmer’s Market just last Thursday and are already preparing for this week’s! You can find our stand filled with the classic Microgreens and other seasonal greens, ranging from spinach to kale and everything in between! 

With many more weeks ahead of us, we are all looking forward to learning more about Vermont’s agriculture! Our plans for the near future...

With the first day of spring finally approaching the Dene Farm Program has been preparing to get outside and have classes digging in the dirt! As it gets warmer and the snow melts we have started to plant our longer season crops. We have recently sown onions, tomatoes and brussel sprout seeds. These seedlings will spend their childhood in the controlled, safe and comfortable greenhouse environment before making their way out to the garden. We also have a new display case in the hallway of the Seminary building that shows all the fun we have in our classes, summer employment and internships. Our new classroom is almost finished! Next year all Dene Farm Program courses will take place in the new classroom giving a boost to our facilities as well as our academic opportunities.

February 1, 2019

Hi ! My name is Ryan Howard Towsley, I am currently a senior at Burr Burton Academy, I have attended BBA for my 4 years. Throughout 3 of those years I took classes at the Dene Farm Program. I really enjoyed being there everyday, not just because my friends were there but because of how much excitement and fun it truly was. Everyday I learned something new about plants, food, animals, insects and more. Every time I learned something new about nature I started catching my self enjoying nature and eating more vegetables. I love the Dene Farm Program culture so much that after 1 year of not being there I truly missed it. Now I am currently working here at Dene Farm Program for the rest of the semester as an intern. For other classes I am currently taking Music Foundation.  I have become very passionate about making music, how to make beats, how to edit beats and lyrical/poetic writing. I enjoy writing stuff that goes on in the world that we as the people should fix or should have fixed. I...

January 28, 2019

Recently at Dene Farm our  Food, Farm, and Systems Thinking class harvested microgreens that will be used in BBAs cafeterias. Along with learning about food systems we like to get involved with our communities food system as a hands on way of learning. Another thing that is happening down at Dene Farm is we have started to plan out our garden design and seed order for spring. As the days have started to get longer we have increased the amount of microgreens we are planting. We are also looking forward to more frequent spinach harvest and starting another round of romaine lettuce. Stay tuned for more updates about Dene Farm Programs exciting developments.

Thanks to all who came to the Harvest showcase and supported the dene farm program. We had a great turnout and the night was a success! Now with fall ending we are preparing for the cold season. Recently we have put the remeh over the plants in the greenhouse to keep them protected during the winter. Right before the snow we harvested amaranth and calendula. Next semester BBA’s medieval studies class will being using the amaranth in the class. We also conducted a germination test for the calendula seeds. We tested ten seeds in a petri dish to see which ones germinated on average there was a 40% germination rate. This means that 4 out of the 10 seeds germinated.

Hi our names are Bri and Cullen and we are the two interns this year at the Dene Farm Program! Bri is a senior at BBA and Cullen is a Junior and we have both been Vermonters our whole lives. Bri loves to play sports and Cullen enjoys playing guitar. The Dene Farm Program has brought us both together to help out on the farm and learn more about where our food comes from. This week we harvested tomatoes that will go directly to our very own cafeteria at BBA! Next week we will be pulling out the tomato plants in the greenhouse as we just had our first frost on October 12th. While neither of us have had much previous experience with this type of work we are enjoying learning as much as possible and the opportunity to take a break during our regular school day. It’s interesting to see where the food that we eat comes from. Both of us have enjoyed our time and we are looking forward to continuing to expand our experiences at the Dene Farm Program!

August 8, 2018

         With the summer winding down and the students preparing for school, the Dene Farm Crew has been reflecting on their last eight weeks. We decided to all share our favorite moment or activity from this summer! Here they are:

Abby: My favorite activity this summer was definitely working at the Manchester Farmer's Market.

Bryn: My favorite moment was by-far making pickles! But I did love working at the Farmer's Market as well.

Sloan: My favorite moment this Summer was feeling the satisfaction after finishing the tomato trellises! I also loved bonding with the crew:)

Zoie: It was great when we walked into the Head House (our main building) and found baby pigs being cleaned in our sink.... they were adorable!

Stella: I loved going outside to identify our pollinator flowers!

Derek: It was wonderful to see the BBA Summer Team growing and becoming more confident in what they do over the course of a few short weeks. I am so proud of them!

       We are making the most of ou...

August 1, 2018

With only two more weeks left of help from our BBA Student Summer Crew, we are making sure to use this time productively by maintaining our beautiful gardens! There is always work to do- it's surprising how fast weeds grow back! Between rock picking, weeding, pest management, reseeding, and pruning, we are always getting our hands dirty. But since all of our planned crops have been planted this season, we have had time for many fun projects as well. Last week we spent time making delicious cucumber pickles (curried, dill, and spicy pepper), while this week we plan to make pesto with our excess basil! Since our last update, we have started harvesting tomatoes, kale, and calendula- with more on the way! Before the summer comes to end, we hope to see more and more progress with our crops so that the BBA cafeteria is stocked and ready for this school year. We also hope to see many visitors at the farm to make the last months of amazing weather count!...

July 19, 2018

Hello I’m Bryn and I am part of the BBA students working in the Dene Farm program. I’m fourteen, and I moved to Manchester, VT last summer so I could be a student at Burr and Burton Academy. I am especially excited to be a sophomore at Burr and Burton Academy this fall because I will be attending the Mountain Campus. The Mountain Campus encompasses lots of outdoor adventure and education. I was interested in applying for this summer job because it would allow for lots of time outside. During freshman year I took a sustainable agriculture class that uses the dene farm as it’s classroom. Being in the class made me more eager to work on the farm. So far I have enjoyed the time we’ve spent outside, planting, harvesting and preparing the BBA garden.

July 19, 2018

Hi! My name is Sloan, and I am currently working at the Dene Farm as part of the summer crew. I am going to be a junior at Burr and Burton Academy, and started work at Hildene in June 2018. Although I am working on a farm right now, I moved from Los Angeles to Vermont my freshman year (I had lived there my whole life), and it has taken me quite a while to get acclimated to being a more ‘outdoorsy” person. To solidify that goal, however, I decided to really go for it and throw myself into the world of Vermonty living by working at Hildene. So far, it has been absolutely amazing, and I am looking forward to the rest of the summer immensely. Although I only work four days a week at the farm, I have another job at the Copper Grouse as well that keeps me very busy. On top of that, my forte is visual art; so when I am not working, showering, eating, or sleeping, that is normally what I am doing. A few other ~fun facts~ about me include: my favorite subjects are English and History, I run a s...

July 12, 2018

Hi my name is Stella Farrell, and I am part of the 2018 Dene Farm Summer Crew from BBA. I live in West Pawlet, Vermont with my mom, my sister, my stepdad, and our dogs, cats, and chickens. I am going to be a senior at BBA this year, and I am most looking forward to going to Mountain Campus for the fall semester of the school year. I am very interested in environmental issues and working with the earth. I am looking forward to the time I spend working at the Dene Farm. I feel very lucky to have a job that I enjoy and that helps me learn more about farming and co-existing with our planet. In college I would like to study human ecology, (preferably through art). After that I would love to have a job involving sustainability and agriculture. My main goal is to help move our world and society in an environmentally healthy direction. Can't wait to see you around the farm!

July 12, 2018

Hello! My name is Abby Navin and I’m a part of the Dene Farm 2018 Summer Crew! Earlier this year I moved to Manchester, Vermont from a small town in Massachusetts and now currently live with my Aunt, Grandma, Cousin and our cat Fuff! I am about to start my senior year at Burr and Burton Academy and I couldn’t be more excited. In the coming semester I will be attending Mountain Campus and I thought that working on the farm would be great preparation for the challenging months ahead of me. So far I have thoroughly enjoyed working at the Dene Farm and it has made me realize my passion for agriculture and farming even more! When I am older, I dream of running my own animal sanctuary/farm, so this job seems like a necessary first step. In addition, I hope to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies while at college and eventually become a sustainability consultant. But until then you can find me on the farm or walking and hiking with friends! I can’t wait for everyone to see the progress we...

July 4, 2018

When faced with this weeks heat wave with highs almost reaching 100 and unrelenting sun, the Dene Farm Program summer crew pressed on, working on the Burr and Burton garden and some indoor projects. We tackled some aggressive micro weeds and planted onions onions onions! A small pea trellis was also built and peas, after being prepared in water for a day, were planted. This forced the peas so that once in the ground they germinated faster. We also planted peppers, broccoli, cabbage, bush beans, and flowers. There's a row in our garden that is entirely flowers, along with a few raised beds, for the purpose of attracting pollinators and beneficial insects and improving our garden's health. 

It was also a field trip week. We went to RK Miles to buy lumber to make additional raised beds and signs, in addition to purchasing some paints and paintbrushes. We used these supplies to make new, colorful signs for the BBA garden, featuring some snazzy artwork by the summer crew. PICT...

June 28, 2018

Hello all! The newest BBA student team has been working hard at the Dene Farm this season! They are here to tell you a bit about their summers so far...

We are incredibly excited to be working at the farm and couldn't ask for a better environment to be enjoying our summers in. We have completed two weeks of work in the rain and shine; planting, growing, and harvesting the produce that feeds Burr and Burton Academy. So far, the BBA garden has been prioritized as our most important project, and the fruit of our efforts (pun intended) has been incredibly rewarding. Within the garden, our main projects have been building and establishing tomato trellises, harvesting microgreens to sell at the Manchester Farmer's Market, preparing furrows and beds for planting, seeding and transplanting, and so much more. Although we have been working very hard these past eight days, it has been more fun than we imagined. Between driving the gator, petting bunnies, and making popsicles, our crew is making th...

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