MCS students first go to the Farm in the spring of their 7-8s year, accompanied by their classroom teachers. Each following year, their time at the Farm increases. By fifth grade they make three week-long trips, one in each season of the school year.
Students tend the gardens; care for the animals (chickens, cows, pigs and sheep); learn to weave; explore fields, mountains and streams; and study traditional and contemporary life in the Catskills. Zero-mile meals and a closed-loop food cycle are daily experiences. As students advance through elementary and middle school, their work at the Farm becomes more challenging, drawing on and enriching their classroom curriculum.
Farm trips emphasize human dependence on natural processes and community members’ reliance on each other. Working together to make the Farm relatively self-sufficient, students learn to use farm products for food, fuel and clothing. They examine the economies of nature—in the wild and at the Farm—and the best measures for environmental conservation. Sharing these activities, attending daily classes and performing household and barn chores, the students come to function as a mutually reliant community.
Many alumni credit their time at the MCS Farm as the most important and eye-opening experience of their young lives. While the Farm produces a wide range of products to be consumed by the school community, we are most proud of producing graduates who have a deep, visceral understanding of the biological processes necessary to sustain life on this planet.