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Miller Farmers

Public Group active 6 years ago

Forum for sharing information and happenings at the farm for Miller Farmers.

by Lisa

Experiential agriculture at Earlham returns with plans for stronger linkages to curriculum

October 8, 2015 in archives by Lisa

After a two-year hiatus, students can again experience small-scale, experimental agriculture at Miller Farm, albeit in a new location.

The first steps are underway in establishing the new Miller Farm, an 11-acre tract of land that is part of the original Miller Farm and adjacent to the Suzanne Hoerner Jackson Equestrian Center.

Two and a half acres of land has already been allotted for garden space and the remaining ground is planted in hay to help replenish the soil. Additionally, Amigos, Richmond’s Latino center, established a significant partnership this summer in the creation of a Community Cross-Cultural Garden on-site and with plots for up to 15 families. Master vegetable growers from Oaxaca, Mexico, are tending to a large plot and share their gardening knowledge with others involved in the project.

“The Latino gardeners will use traditional growing methods from their homeland, and that will be a great learning opportunity for our students,” says Jamey Pavey, director of the Integrated Program in Sustainability at the Center for Integrated Learning.

This fall planning will begin for a hybrid barn/educational structure that has been proposed to be located at the site. In addition, young fruit trees will be transplanted from the old site to the new Miller Farm.

“We are researching food forests, self-sustaining permaculture, and will be planting things that help with nitrogen,” says MaryPearl Ivy ’18, a Miller Farm summer researcher. “Alongside the fruit trees, we will plant different foraging plants that attract insects and wildlife, so that they can help do the work.”

Other ideas that were researched this summer include a dye garden, harnessing rainwater for irrigation and beekeeping.

“There are really exciting possibilities ahead,” says Brianne Cody ’16, one of the researchers. “Miller Farm could grow in a lot of ways that were not possible at the old Miller Farm, which was more like a homestead.

“Students who are interested in farming or gardening should know that there is a lot of room for input in what the new Miller Farm will look like,” she says. “Having a blank slate is exciting, and it can be anything.”

Assistant Director of Sustainability Lisa Butch says planning will be part of the growing pains of Miller Farm, which included a residential component and had been in operation since the 1970s before being closed in 2013.

“The old Miller Farm has a long history of community, experimentation and farm days,” says Sadie Coughlin-Prego ’16. Those activities include flower planting, balm making, sourdough breadmaking, pickling, and cider pressing.

Many of those activities will take place at Cutter House this academic year, which will allow students to live in an intentional homesteading/agricultural community as the program grows.

“Right now the new Miller Farm is just a field with hay and gardens, but there’s obviously room to do more,” Butch says. “We are exploring opportunities to work with Metz, the new food service provider, and they have already started buying produce from the students. We are excited about the possibility of partnering with the barn co-op to use their manure for compost and to supply them with hay to feed the horses.”

Pavey says college farms are becoming more popular because of the growing awareness of the industrialization of the food system. And a recent list by College Ranker identifies Miller Farm as a leader in this movement, alongside other liberal arts institutions like Oberlin, Berea, Bowdoin, Evergreen, and Warren Wilson.

“A focus on local food systems has generally taken hold, and naturally students are interested and see college farms as a way to become involved and learn,” explains Pavey.

There are plans for the new Miller Farm to incorporate an academic component. Included in the proposal is a series of zero- to two-credit skills-based courses and opportunities for students to lead these courses. Pavey says possibilities for course topics could include fruit-tree management, pest management, plant disease, and more market-based gardening.

“It’s good that there is an academic credit aspect because people put in a lot of work, and it is difficult to keep up with both school work and farm work,” says Coughlin-Prego.

In addition, the academic outreach of the garden will expand into other courses. For instance, plants from the dye garden will be used in the weaving courses.

“Natural science faculty are supportive and already are envisioning ways to connect their courses to what takes place at Miller Farm,” Pavey says.


Original article found at: http://earlham.edu/news/article/?id=38720&r=14619

by Lisa

Welcome to the New Miller Farm Implementation Information Page!

October 16, 2014 in archives by Lisa

Welcome to the new Miller Farm implementation page!  This website will be used to keep everyone updated on the activities and progress of the Miller Farm implementation group.  The team working on the implementation of Miller Farm consists of students living in the Sustainable Agriculture theme house, other students with agriculture-related interests and experience, a Professor who is a former Miller Farm resident and Miller Farm adviser, the Director of the Integrated Program in Sustainability, and the Assistant Director of Sustainability.  We will also be consulting with alumni and other interested parities as necessary.  If you were following the website devoted to the planning for the new Miller Farm you know that Miller Farm is moving to the large field south of the horse barn.  The map shows the area, outlined in white, where the new Miller Farm will be located.  This area is 11 acres and we will be able to add acreage to the site if necessary as the new farm grows.  Planting is expected to begin this spring and we are excited to announce that a May Term course led by Jamey Pavey, Director of the Integrated Program in Sustainability and Lisa Butch, Assistant Director of Sustainability will be focusing on sustainable agriculture and Miller Farm.  This course will include topics such as agricultural trends, Miller Farm history, fruit and vegetable cultivation, composting, the business side of farming, and field trips to regional farms.


Miller Farm new site outline

by Colin

We’re famous!

October 16, 2014 in archives by Colin

If you haven’t already seen it, check out the sweet farm-day vid !


And if you want more, there is a podcast at the bottom of the page

Miller Farm vid.

by Kirsten

Goat Lactation Records

October 12, 2012 in archives by Kirsten

On this page you can find regular monthly postings of our goat lactation record. After chores each morning and night the farmers who completed goat milking bring the milk up to the house, weigh it using our 5 lb produce scale, subtract the already figured weight of the bucket, and record the weight of the milk in pounds in our goat book. The milk is then poured through a filter into glass jars, labeled with the name of the goat/the date, and put in the freezer. Cooling the milk quickly in the freezer helps us halt any further bacterial growth. Once the milk has been sufficiently cooled the jars are transferred to our two mini-fridges for storage. Farmers also include any pertinent information in the “notes” section, which might cover any odd behavior, symptoms of illness, excessive kicking, etc.


Goat lactation records are kept to help the Miller Farmers identify the length of each goat’s lactation period, her peak milk production period, patterns in milk production in relation to feed/weather/illness, and for the use of potential buyers if the Miller Farmers decide to sell a goat in the future. We began keeping this record in mid-September, which explains why the first chart appears incomplete. There are some outliers, for sure, and “X” indicates a day or night when someone just forgot to weigh the milk after chores.



Day Mish morning Mish evening Goatrude morning Goatrude evening Notes
11 2.65 2.5
12 2.88 X 2.13 X
13 2.65 2.75 2.25 2.13
14 2.5 2.1 2 1.75 *what does Goatrude PM mean?
15 2.25 X 2.15 1.88
16 2.19 X 1.88 X
17 2.19 1.19 1.75 1.75 *Abby noticed a small cut of Trude’s left teat, has been there since Sunday night we think.
18 2 X 2.5 X
19 2.5 2.38 2 2 *Goats need more feed.
20 2.55 2.63 1.9 1.88
21 2 X 2 X
22 2 X 2.5 X
23 X 2.5 2 X *Generous portion given to cats.
24 2.25 2.5 1.63 1.88
25 2.5 2.35 2 1.75 *Dates/times are getting recorded incorrectly from 24-25.
26 2 2.38 1.75 1.38
27 2.25 2.25 1.5 1.5 *Penelope’s horn has split, keep an eye on it.
28 2 1.375 1.5 1.31
29 2.13 X 1.5 X
30 2.5 2.5 1.88 X


by Kirsten

Miller Farm Goat Milk Soap

October 3, 2012 in archives by Kirsten

We here at Miller Farm have been running into a problem- if you can call it that- these past few weeks. Our amazing goats are actually producing more milk than the 10 of us and our peers/professors/loved ones can drink or convert into yogurt and cheese. We have two mini fridges where we normally store our goat milk and both have become full, with overflow milk being moved into our two large refrigerators that we normally close off to personal groceries.

After several farmers visited the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania this past week we got the idea to try out a new homesteading project with our milk- making homemade goat milk soap. Kirsten has just recently begun playing around with different recipes and is hoping to teach the rest of the farmers the skill and keep working until a perfectly lathering, moisturizing, and good-smelling soap is achieved. In the meantime, Miller Farm is preparing to sell some of Kirsten’s successful experiment batches at Earlham College’s FunktoberFest event this weekend for $3 a bar.

Homemade goat milk soap, all wrapped up and ready for use!



Miller Farm goat milk soap includes a short list of ingredients (moving from greatest to least): virgin olive oil, goat milk from Goatrude the goat, coconut oil*, lye**, lavender essential oil*, dried lavender*.

*Items purchased locally from the Clear Creek Co-operative.

** Lye is processed out of the final product.



Why Lye?

The Farmers have looked high and low for a goat milk soap recipe that does not include lye but have not yet had much success. Purchasing glycerin bases or pre-made goat milk soap bases, which are melted down, fragranced, and then poured into molds, is an option but both are expensive and neither soap making method lets us make much use of our own goat milk, which is why we pursued soap making in the first place! We are still in search of a recipe that doesn’t use lye- only because it is very caustic before it is mixed with the fats in the soap- and in the meantime are doing are best to handle it carefully and safely and make soap magic happen. 🙂

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