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Sign Up Now for our Alternative Spring Break Program

March 14, 2013

A B O U T   O U R  A L T E R N A T I V E  S P R I N G  B R E A K  P R O G R A M

March 24 to March 30, 2013

Brook Farm invites college students and recent graduates to apply to experience life and work on a small-scale, community-based sustainable farm during their spring break vacation.  Participants will be fully immersed in hands-on farm work – both outside and in the greenhouse – that is appropriate for the Month of March.

We have developed a vibrant week-long program informed by our successful previous farm-student group collaborations with New York University, The New School, and Skidmore College, and alternative spring break programs at University of Maryland through Habitat For Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge program, now in its 20th year. These transformational programs offer authentic, tangible, rewarding work; networking, experience, skills, and exposure toward new career opportunities; new friends, meaningful conversation, and shared meals, music, and laughter.

H A L F – W E E K  A N D  F U L L – W E E K  S T A Y S

College students can choose to participate for a half-week (arriving on Sunday, March 24 and departing on Wednesday, March 27) or a full week (arriving on Sunday, March 24 and departing on Saturday, March 30).  Half-week spring breakers are welcome to decide to become full-week spring breakers mid-week.  All participants are invited to help bring together our seasonal harvest celebration, Celebrate the Maple Trees, hosted at Brook Farm and co-organized by Wild Earth and Brook Farm, on Saturday, March 30 from 11 to 3pm.

T H E  W O R K  A N D  W O R K W E E K

Monday to Friday from 8 am to 3 pm, with a 1-hour break for lunch midday.  Be prepared to work with your bodies (and at times be sore afterwards!).  We expect that the work we will be doing in late March will include seeding in the greenhouse, preparing beds for planting, mulching and  composting, construction projects, painting, cleaning, organizing farm supplies, and boiling maple sap (if the trees are still running!).

Here is what ‘s on the task list for the week to give you a sense of what we’ll be doing:

  • Build a small high tunnel / greenhouse from start to finish
  • Fix up a barn and barnyard
  • Care for the chickens
  • Paint signs
  • Plan and host a “Celebration of the Maple Trees” public harvest celebration (on Saturday, March 30)
  • Straighten up and paint a shed
  • Mulch and prune perennial berry plants
  • Start seeds and care for seedlings in the greenhouse
  • Collect sap and boil into maple syrup
  • First pea planting rhythm jam ceremony (Wednesday if weather permits)
  • Paint the farmhouse kitchen
  • Build no-till vegetable beds
  • Tidy and inventory farm storage spaces
  • Gather and cut firewood

N O N – W O R K I N G  H O U R S

We have a slow, limited internet connection and no TV, so it’s up to all of us to make our own old-fashioned fun in our farmhouse—such as singing, games, music jams, and cooperative cooking, arts, and crafts experiences.  Afternoons and evenings are also for chilling, hiking in the 7000-acre Mohonk Preserve right outside our door, visits to town or to other farms, skill shares, etc.

L I V I N G  A C C O M M O D A T I O N S

Students share sleeping accommodations in three rooms.  A very limited number of twin beds are available.  Students are encouraged to bring their own or borrow sleeping bags, sleeping pads and pillows.  The SUNY Athletic and Wellness Center rents out sleeping bags and sleeping pads if necessary.  A large fully furnished kitchen is available for preparing shared meals.  Participants share two bathrooms with showers.


Spring break participants will be sharing the responsibility for thinking of meals, shopping for ingredients, and cooking food for the group.  The farm will contribute our own produce where possible, but please know that for this season, during the month of March, there is an extremely limited supply of farm fresh food.  The farmers will prepare the first welcome dinner on Sunday and the final thank you dinner on Friday.

A R R I V A L  A N D  D E P A R T U R E  T I M E S

Students are encouraged to arrive between 3 and 4pm on Sunday, March 24 to make it in time for the farm tour and welcoming dinner.  Half-week spring breakers are encouraged to stay through dinner on Wednesday.  Full-week spring breakers are encouraged to stay at least through Friday dinner and preferably through the Celebration of the Maple Trees event on Saturday March 30.

O R I E N T A T I O N  A N D  D E B R I E F I N G

Farmers Creek and Lisa will lead an orientation to Brook Farm Sunday afternoon between arrival and sundown.  The orientation includes an overview of the week ahead, a tour of the farm, farmhouse rules, followed by a welcoming dinner.  On Friday, we’ll put together a culminating feast and a debriefing session to help process the week and to get feedback on how the week went– what you loved, what you’d like to see improved– so we can incorporate your experience into the planning for future programs.

P R O G R A M  F E E

This program is free for SUNY New Paltz students!  If you are not a SUNY New Paltz student, the program fees are as follows:

$100 for full week participants
$50 for half-week participants

Please bring payment on the first day of the program.

F O O D  C O N T R I B U T I O N

We request that all half-week spring breakers contribute $25 to cover the cost of food and all full-week spring breakers contribute $50 to cover the cost of food.  Please speak to us in advance if the fee is problematic and you’d like to discuss an alternative.  Please bring your food fee contribution when you arrive to the farm on Sunday, March 24.

H O W  T O  R E G I S T E R

Please fill out the online sign-up form at http://tinyurl.com/BrookFarmSpringBreak.  This program is limited to 20 participants and spaces are filled on a first come, first serve basis.  We will send you an email to confirm that you are in the program.  If more than 20 people sign up, we will maintain a waiting list and will draw from that list if a space becomes available.

W H A T   T O  B R I N G

While you’re packing, be sure to check the expected weather for the week so that you’re dressed appropriately for the weather conditions.  In addition to the normal things you’d bring on a half week/week-long trip, please bring:

  • Work clothes, appropriate for both warm days and cool days, dry weather and rain
  • Clothes you can paint in (if you don’t have any don’t worry)
  • Work gloves (leather is recommended, but not necessary)
  • Rain coat (rain pants are helpful if you have them)
  • Closed-toe shoes
  • Good socks
  • Slippers or indoor shoes
  • Sleeping bag and pad (preferred) OR twin bed sheets and pillowcases (we have a limited number of twin bed mattresses)
  • Pillow
  • Towel and washcloth
  • Toiletries, soap, and shampoo
  • Your food fee contribution (cash preferred)
  • Musical instruments
  • Recipes of your favorite dishes to cook for the group
  • Games and supplies for evening entertainment / skill shares
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