Nestled on over 240 acres in Philo, California, Blackbird Farm offers students the chance to learn about and experience sustainable living. Across an 11 day stay, students feed and harvest sustainable organic crops (picking much of what they will eat for their meals right from the garden), tend to farm animals, and learn all about healthy eating. With an overall focus on sustainable living, Blackbird Farm participants are encouraged to create raised-bed gardens to maintain back at their school site and homes, and become ambassadors for healthy eating.
Blackbird Farm is a certified organic, non-profit homestead complete with a garden and a farm plot maintained by visiting student groups, as well as pear, apple, cherry, plum, and walnut orchards. With a large kitchen, Blackbird’s programs provide farm-to-table instruction with classes in cheese making, mustard and jam making, and baking bread, using organic ingredients grown onsite. Students enjoy sleeping in gender-separated yurts, hiking the property, and learning valuable gardening skills they can take home to begin their own gardens.
The most poignant and rewarding memories often come from students’ experience at the farm’s high ropes and zip line course, an activity for which an entire day is devoted to. Students collaborate with their peers to safely test their limits and complete the course while developing critical communication skills, confidence, and trust, while at the same time discovering more about their strengths as a leader.