Explore the farm
At the Antioch Farm you will find a variety of growing areas to provide healthy food for the Kitchens, robust learning opportunities for students and a more sustainable campus. All growing areas use sustainably focused growing and management methods including permaculture, organic and ecological.
Annual Garden & Hoop House
Surrounded by a locally harvested locust post fence, two acres of annual agricultural area provides the bulk of the farm food harvested for student dining. Annual crops grown in this area include heirloom tomatoes, pole beans, colorful potatoes, mixed salad greens, and much more. Sustainable growing methods are utilized to grow the freshest, tastiest, and healthiest food on the Antioch Farm. In addition to using no synthetic fertilizers, chemical pesticides, or genetically modified seeds, we actively employ a variety of methods to build the soil including microbial inoculants, cover cropping and on site composting.
A passive hoop house allows yearround fresh vegetable production. In the winter, we grow coldhardy crops like collards, spinach, salad greens, and radishes without electricity. Openers respond to the change in temperature to open the vents if the greenhouse gets too warm. The sides also manually roll up to provide ventilation and temperature control. Tree boards from milled oakwood scraps from the Glen Helen Preserve make up the edges of the raised beds within the hoop house. Students and community volunteers built the raised beds just after the hoop house was installed in 2011.
Animals & Rotational Grazing Sheep
In 2013, our first small herd of sheep was brought to campus. They rotationally graze on the Farm, and under the 5acre solar array, gaining most of their nutrition from green pastures. While grazing under the solar array, the sheep provide a great mowing service and eat weeds in hard to reach places. This greatly reduces the need for fossilfuel powered mowing equipment as well as labor costs.
We currently raise 7-10 lambs each season. Students participate in their daily care and wool shearing. To promote good health, students also harvest medicinal herbs from our food forest and feed them to the sheep. At the end of the season, the grassfed lambs are butchered locally and served in our dining halls.
A variety of chicken and duck breeds live on the Antioch Farm, including heritage breeds threatened by extinction. Our poultry are primarily raised for eggs, which are collected daily and served in the dining halls.
In keeping with the Farm’s ecological ethic our poultry, like our sheep, have access to pasture daily, live in mobile structures, and are fed primarily local, organic feed. An electrified mobile fence, charged by a solar panel, contains the birds and keeps them safe from predators. This fence allows us to provide fresh grass to the animals as well as distribute their fertilizer around the Farm. Students participate in all aspects of care for the birds from chicks to adults.
We currently have two food forests, totalling approximately 2 acres. The food forests include edible trees, shrubs, berries, and herbs in a natural forestlike environment. Some plants are also selected for medicinal properties, beauty, pollinator food or building material.
Unlike monocultures, or plantings of just one type of crop, a food forest takes advantage of the ecological growing patterns of plants in nature. Like natural forests, a food forest is planted in layers, each layer containing different plants suited to the microclimate. For example, the following plants are growing in each layer in the northern food forest:
Canopy Trees: Walnut, Mulberry, Locust
Understory Trees: Paw Paw, Redbud, Apple, Pear, Plum
Shrubs: Hazelnut, Bush Cherry, Serviceberry, Figs
Berries: Black Berries, Currents, Jostaberries
Herbs: Spearmint, Comfrey, Asparagus, Nettle, Oregano, Wild Chives
The northern food forest also includes three honey bee hives.The southern food forest, planted in 2014, includes over 100 fruit trees such as pears, apples, plums, cherries and paw paws. Understory plants include raspberries, blackberries, mint, thyme and clover.
Planted along the contour lines, the southern food forest also contains four water swales (shallow ditches) just uphill from each row of trees to catch water runoff and put it directly in the tree root zone. In addition to keeping our trees well watered, these swales slow water flow into the local watershed after a storm event.
Future plans include a nut grove food forest. Find out how to contribute here.
The pollinator path is a planting of perennial herbs and flowers that provide food and habitat for native pollinators and beneficial insects along the western edge of the farm. Native pollinators are essential for good crop pollination, which is required by many annual crops to produce vegetables. Habitat loss and environmental toxins are leading to a rapid decline in native insect populations. The pollinator path provides a refuge for these important insects on the Antioch Farm. In 2015, several courses involving students planned and implemented the first phase.
Compostable materials, such as vegetable scraps and coffee grounds, are collected campus wide. That means harvested produce from the Farm goes to the Kitchens and scraps return to the Farm to be composted into nutrient rich, organic fertilizer. Students participate in all aspects of this full circle process including harvest, food prep, collection, and compost pile management. Check out the Antioch College Food Flow Chart here.
The Antioch College Farm is located on South Campus. Parking is available adjacent to the Antioch Theatre at 920 Corry Street, Yellow Springs, OH 45387. The Farm is a short walk southwest of the parking lot.
Virtual Tour: Chicken compost kitchen video