Farm Immersions

A Place To ReWild

What does a farm immersion include? These programs are designed to give you lots of exploration time to savor the forest trails, cabin life, and foster connection and inspiration from the natural world around you. 


This summer we are offering farm immersions of various lengths. During each program, we will offer several scheduled activities. Read the activity details on each immersion to choose the program for you! The rest of your time will be your own to explore and spend time rewilding.

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Upcoming Immersions Summer 2022

Stay tuned For More Immersion dates Coming Soon

 
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Foraging and Summer Solstice Immersion

Includes wild farm foraging, solstice fire, bake oven night, meeting baby lambs

This long weekend immersion is a perfect taste of wild, nature, rejuvenation, and resetting. Spend June 23rd - 26th in a little off-grid cabin in the woods. This immersion gives plenty of time for self-exploration, creative expression, and learning about sustainable agriculture and off-grid living. As part of the immersion, we offer a daily activity. 

Participants stay in our cozy rustic cabins in Wilding Village (pictured below). The Village has a beautiful outdoor kitchen equipped with a stove, a small fridge, and kitchenware. Immersion participants are responsible for bringing their own food and preparing their own meals. Town is 5 miles away, though we encourage people to arrive with supplies so they can fully immerse themselves in the woods.

This immersion includes:

 - Standard 1.5 hour farm program (usually $100) 

- A guided opportunity to forage around the farm and woods

- A summer solstice fire and night of traditional mountain music and cooking in the outdoor bake oven


Each cabin can sleep 2 people. If you are a couple, or friends, and would like to stay in a cabin together be in touch with Iris @growwildroots@gmail.com 

*NOTE program capacity ranges from 3-6 people depending on cabin assignment.

Please fill out this booking request form and we will get back to you shortly. Contact Iris if you have questions regarding the immersion.

Sorry, no dogs are allowed due to farm animals and our livestock. Thank you

$300 per person from June 23rd - 26th 

The Cabins, Your Rustic Home

 
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Scotch Plot Cabin

Large stone steps give way to a small airy cabin nestled along the trail. This cabin’s name comes from old documents calling this land “the scotch plot” presumably because it was settled by Scots. The cabin sleeps 1 or 2 people.

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Avalon Cabin

This one sleeps 1 or 2 guests and is a small beautiful cabin painted with magical creatures. The space shines with creativity and imagination! It is overlooking a rock ledge into the woods.

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Bracken Fern Cabin

Nestled farther along the path this cabin was the old Growing Wild schoolhouse when the farm hosted weekly homeschool programs. The charcoal drawings of kids who learned on the farm can still be seen on the refurbished ceiling. This cabin sleeps 1 or 2 people.

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Celeste and Scotty lamb

More program details

Depending on the time of year, below are some of the immersion aspects you may experience!

This farm program provides plenty of time for a taste of living off-grid in nature, reflection and journaling, presence and breathing, and skill exploration. Throughout the immersion, we will be fostering our connection to food, learning about sustainability on a new level, and immerse in nature enjoying the emergent flow of life on a Catskill farm. Below are some of the many aspects you may experience. 

  • Cooking and working with fire: Cooking in the outdoor woodfired bake oven and developing a relationship with fire, heat, foraged and cultivated foods, and the cultural significance of recipes. Learning to work with the farm crew and process food in a community setting. 

  • Nature hikes and gathering wild foods: We are lucky to have 100 acres of wild forest to practice sustainable foraging methods where a large part of our diet comes from in the early months. Some programs will explore the aspects of traditional foraged foods and current trends that play a role in the overharvest of wild places. 

  • Practicing presence while working with plants and animals: Spending time learning from the life around the farm is an important aspect of our immersions. 

  •  Throughout the immersions, we will work to facilitate a balance of collective learnings, work, and fun activities while giving space for reflection, journaling, self-care, and creative expression. 

  • Music and mountain culture: We may gather for music nights for anyone to share songs and stories, learn about mountain music, step dance, and laugh. If you play an instrument or are learning to play one we encourage you to join in!

  • Fiber arts: Using natural plant dyes, spinning yarn, felting, and various fiber arts: Throughout some immersions, participants will be able to learn from harvesting the flowers for dyes, to getting to know the personality of the ewe whose wool they learn to spin. 

  • Organic vegetable production: This includes planting, soil amendments, weed management, harvesting, and storage methods. We will also work with culinary and medicinal herbs, salves, and tinctures. Learn about apple orchard management and berry production. Learn the significance of soil remineralization and microbial stewardship with some permaculture design.

  • Animal relationships: You may explore farm animal husbandry. We have Icelandic, Shetland, and Scottish Blackface ewes and will welcome Shetland lambs in the spring. Spending time with the animals by taking the cows on walks or cuddling with lambs may be part of the experience.

  • Ecology: You will have the opportunity to observe the local ecology and learn to identify flora and fauna at Wild Roots Farm. 

  • Energy: Living with energy derived from solar will give you a new perspective on daily necessities. 

Community life and covid-19: 

As a member of the immersions, we ask that you show proof of vaccination or a negative test. You will live in Wilding Village nestled in the woods a quarter-mile from the farmhouse. It has been home to Wild Roots interns and immersion participants for over 25 years. Adjusting to a slower pace of life is exciting and sometimes new, but you will be navigating it along with like-minded people. Our farm crew also lives in nearby cabins in Wilding Village and will be there to answer questions. Self-care and community health are values of the immersions. 


Living: 

The accommodations are rustic off-grid cabins, half a mile from the main house, with an outhouse and solar shower. Mattresses and sleeping bags are provided. During your stay, you will not have a place to charge your phone so we recommend you bring a battery pack or lean into the opportunity to disconnect from technology. 

The cultural and economic landscape: 

Wild Roots Farm is located on the top of a mountain on the western edge of the Catskills in rural upstate NY. We are at the headwaters of traditional Lenni Lenape territory. It is a predominantly low-economic and white area. We know many of our neighbors and have had a longstanding involvement in the surrounding communities. We have built relationships of mutual respect with our neighbors (many conservative, working-class folks of European descent and people from NYC who have recently moved to the area). More recently the area has been experiencing significant gentrification. The county's agriculture and food system is made up of POC/Latinx food workers in the local factories and smaller generally white-owned farms. Part of the experience will highlight the economic, racial, and cultural impacts on food and agriculture regionally and nationally. 


Wild Roots Farm history:

Wes’ parents C Wesley and Bea Gillingham bought this land in the 1950s. Wes grew up hiking through the woods and he has continued to deepen his relationship with the place throughout his life. He taught on a traveling college program for 10 years before starting Wild Roots Farm with Amy in 1997. Iris and Roan are the third generation of Gillingham’s to have a relationship with this land. 

 

Our Team

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Iris Fen

Program Co-Creator and Facilitator

Iris Fen Gillingham is a 21-year-old climate and food justice activist and Program Associate at Catskill Mountainkeeper. Between 2014-2019 she worked with Earth Guardians and helped launch Zero Hour. Iris grew up on Wild Roots Farm, an off-grid regenerative farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Iris became involved in climate justice work at the age of 9 when her community rose up against the threat of fracking. Her positive passion for change and voice has been featured in articles and videos by Vice, The New York Times, CNN, Teen Vogue, along with international TV stations and local media outlets. She was featured in the National Geographic and Bloomberg Philanthropies film “Paris to Pittsburgh”.  Iris is one of the co-creators of the Wild Roots Farm Immersion Programs. She wants to help young people build connections to their food, energy resources, and local ecology, with an emphasis on creating stronger relationships with themselves and the natural world. She hascurrently studying Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic in Maine.

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Amy

Farmer

Amy is the heart of Wild Roots Farm. She homeschooled her two children and taught them through experiential learning on the farm. Amy loves working in the garden and grows all of the family’s fresh vegetables, looks after the orchard, berry patches and flower gardens. She is a fiber artist and hand spinner, dyer, knitter, and felter using wool from her sheep. Along with her garden skills, Amy is knowledgeable in wild edibles and medicinal plants. She has led workshops on building connection with the natural world. Amy is a Certified Breath Facilitator and Group Leader with Transformational Breath® Foundation.  She was inspired to build the outdoor wood-fired bake oven to help foster community connections.  Amy has a strong relationship with the earth and has worked closely with nature in all seasons.  She works to bring people together around art and food by connecting to nature and our foodways.

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Wes

Farmer / Activist

As Catskill Mountainkeeper’s co-founder and Associate Director, Wes helps develop the strategic thrust of their programs and coordinates collaborative efforts working with regional, state, and national partners on Extreme Energy Extraction and fossil fuel infrastructure fights. Dedicated to pushing New York into a Just Transition away from fossil fuels he has personally lived off the electric grid for over 30 years and serves on the advisory board of the Center for Earth Ethics and Northeast Organic Farming Association. For ten years, Wes and his wife Amy ran a 150-member Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) vegetable operation. Prior to farming, Wes served as an Acting Director of Field Programs for the National Audubon Society Expedition Institute, teaching graduate and undergraduate environmental education throughout North America and also worked as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service. Although graduating from the University of Maine his real education comes from his extensive experiences in rural and wilderness America. All stemming from growing up learning about the interaction of humans and the natural world here in the Catskills.

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Riza

Farm Intern

Growing up in the mountains of Colorado, Riza’s love for the outdoors sparked at a young age. She attended a Montessori school up until high school and is grateful for the hands-on approach to learning, setting the foundation for the rest of her educational journey. In the summer of 2019, she went on a 30 day backpacking trip with NOLS in the Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska.  Standing on a rock field that years before was buried under a hundred feet of ice and being forced to change their route due to unprecedented river water levels from glacial melt opened her eyes to the dire effects of climate change.  In October 2020, Riza embarked on a second NOLS course, spending 6 months traveling through the U.S. West. Being completely immersed in nature for an extended period of time allowed Riza to connect with herself and the natural land like never before. She is passionate in continuing this journey and contributing toward the wise stewardship of our Earth. Riza hopes to help others cultivate their own sense of self and place. She is planning on studying Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic this fall.

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Raven

Guest Facilitator and Past Intern

Raven is a scenic & multimedia designer and artist, and a recent graduate from Ithaca College where she received her BFA in Theatre Production & Design. Since graduation, Raven has been transitioning her energy to exploring farm work, painting in relation and response to the natural world, and sustainable arts practices. For the past few years, she has worked as the Artistic Associate at Andy’s Summer Playhouse, a children’s theatre in New Hampshire dedicated to creating original, socially relevant work that empowers children to have voices in their community. In addition to her experience with youth and theatrical arts, she is now looking to merge these passions with her love of nature and fascination with patterns, fostered in Fall 2020 when Raven interned at Wild Roots Farm. During her time on the farm, she discovered the value and harmony of living in balanced relation to food, animals, plants, and self. She particularly found joy in fiber arts, learning the process from sheep to yarn, and food preparation and creation. She cannot wait to return to the energy of the farm this summer to help share these experiences with new Immersion participants and learn and grow together! Raven will be joining for selected immersions.

 

Join Us On The Farm This Summer

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