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Kin Interview

Kin Interview

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Published by Robin Ostenfeld

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Published by: Robin Ostenfeld on Dec 31, 2011
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12/31/2011

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Robin OstenfeldInterview with Kin ShilingRoto tiller sharingWomen¶s hay coop is starting next summer 70 yr old man 1952 Ford tractor and an old hay cutter- needs help, going to teach thewomen how to use it. 1,500 bails were cut last year in Hancock and Greenfield. ³Youhave to work together, and that¶s what they used to do in the 1800s.´Their farm has been around since 1780, John Brook was original farmer- BrooksideFarm. Had seventeen children.All the wood from house came from the land, made bricks from local quarry, fedthemselves off land, made candles. Had sheep, goats, chicken, horses, used horses to haythe field, even have cranberries. Not really ours, we lost this little triangle of land. Was near the apple orchard.Dan Metheson heard this and offered Kin land on his farm. Of his fifty two acres, Kinhas access to eleven acres for her not-for profit, the cornucopia project.4 acre field11/2 veg Hancock Elementary School children (K-4)6 acre field with sheep and chickenPart of food goes to Food Bank, very active,Fourth graders are taking two bushels of harvested potatoes to Roy¶s market, smallindependent market down the street in Hancock. Selling them, Last year, as third gradersthey negotiated with Roy. He asked them ³Why would I want buy potatoes from you asopposed to buying them in California or Idaho?´ They responded, ³Well because it¶slocal and it does have to travel 1,500 miles.´ Kin is excited to hear they are getting themessage. Next Wednesday, mothers of children are carpooling to Roy¶s. Peter, the owner willweigh the potatoes. Back in classroom following week, Kin will talk with them aboutwhat a bushel is, peck, because that ties into the curriculum.Class gets money, pays back the cornucopia project for seed poatatoes which were$11.00, their revenue might be over $100. The potatoes this year are really amazing.2.35/lb. is cost according to market bulletin 60-70 lbs of new potatoesThink kids are going to donate it to the two food banks.
 
Me: You started telling us about the importance of involving the parents. I¶m curious tohear more about that. How are they responding to all of this food education you aredoing?80% are over the top excited at what we are doing.Every class cooks a meal for the whole school. Kindergarteners made tomato soup, parents joined in. Hancock- very involved. Middle school not as involved.Garden Club in Middle School called ³South Meadow Dirt Dogs´- 47 kidsRaised beds, had a garden design contest. Winner- sunburst of raised beds, which extendfrom the center where there is a bread oven.Just starting at high school level, track the kids as they progress from elementary tomiddle to high.Me: So there¶s data on that?Kin- Not so good at that, kinda been writing down. Finally have someone I¶m workingwith who is quantifying things. Need for a grant because it needs to be more precise thanwhat she¶s been doing. Chronicle- 5-7 years of progressMe: I¶m curious about your own personal history. How did you get to be a farmer? Howdid you develop these clear values?Think it stemed from parents. Dairy farm, grew up in Massacussetts. Dad was kinda agentlemen farmer because he was also a business man. Had 300 milk cows.At 10, I got to drive the hay truck. ³Thought, this was so cool.´Always had fresh food from the garden in summer time.When I had my own children, always had a garden. ³I think it¶s just in my blood. I justlove being a farmer.´I haven¶t bought an egg in fifty years. I don¶t even think I could eat a store bought egg.Have you ever had a fresh egg?Plus, I was a cook, so I had that consciousness. Cared about what my kids ate.When we came from CA to NH in 1980s, I had bought a cow before we had bought ahouse. We were living sustainably.Invites us to the farm. The farm itself is nothing extrodinary, except for this piece of landis breath takingly beautiful. Kids park across the street, walk from the barn and walk this path and arrive at the garden. To me, it¶s this amazing journey where kids are

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