AP Human Geography Takes a Trip to Saltbox Farm

On October 3rd, AP Human Geography students boarded the bus to Saltbox Farm in Concord. When we arrived, we were immediately greeted by Mark, the farm manager, Maddie and Jazz, the two apprentices, and Ford, a friendly black lab. As we walked through the 10 acre farm, Maddie taught us about biodiversity: growing multiple varieties of crops to allow each crop to get the nutrients it needs from the soil. Throughout the season, Saltbox harvests almost any crop imaginable, from apples and peaches to beets and asparagus. After a quick tour of the farm, we rolled up the sleeves of our sweatshirts and got to work. My peers and I rotated through three different tasks: plucking weeds from the soil, laying wood chips in between soil beds, and my personal favorite, harvesting carrots. Everyone agreed that while harvesting carrots and weeding were physically similar tasks, digging in the dirt for carrots was more psychologically satisfying. By the classroom portion of the day, everyone was ready to discuss the sustainable practices of the farm, like no-till and regenerative farming. Regenerative farming is farming in conjunction with nature instead of against nature. Some examples of regenerative farming are crop rotation, no-till, composting, and cover crops. Saltbox believes that by not tilling the soil beds, crops can develop a network through the soil, allowing them to communicate and deliver nutrients to each other; this practice can help eliminate the use of pesticides. While research on no-till farming is still fairly new, it was fascinating to compare the practices of Saltbox Farm to the industrial farming practices we learned about in relation to the Green Revolution. Overall, the cold didn’t stop us from getting our hands dirty and having a great time learning on the farm!