A Year on the Field
A Year on the Field
A wide variety of growers participate in our project - from museums
to (organic) farmers to living history farms.
Meet our growers:
Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation (PA, USA)
The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation is an 18th century living history farm interpreting English farm life from 1760-1790.
We are located just outside Philadelphia in southeastern Pennsylvania. We were founded in 1974 by a group of historians and archaeologists.
The site is 112 acres (45 ha) and is located inside a state park. We have a period fieldstone house and several original outbuildings and barns. We have a shorthorn ox and a draft-cross horse. Additionally, we have a riding horse, ten sheep, and a flock of turkeys, chickens, and geese.
We use both of our draft animals for field cultivation, as well as hauling stones, wood, and manure. We currently cultivate about 6,000 square feet (557sq m) but are working toward expanding. We grow both heritage and modern varieties of wheat and barley. We also have a large kitchen garden.
In addition to farming demonstrations we demonstrate a variety of 18th century skills.
Carter Historic Farm (OH, US)
The Carter Historic Farm is a Great Depression-era living history farm in Bowling Green, OH. We raise livestock and heirloom grains and produce to share with our community. We partner with a local historic mill to grind the grains, and a local food bank to distribute the produce. We also offer a wide variety of programming, from Depression-era concerts to canning, mending, and crochet.
We currently use a variety of 1930s tractors and implements to grow our crops, and hope to add draft horses in the coming years to tell a fuller story of how farming changed during the Depression.
The Farm is 80 acres (32 ha), including 20 acres (8 ha) of restored wetland and wet prairie, a 10 acre (4 ha) woodlot, a one room schoolhouse, and our barns and fields. 2020 was the first year we grew field crops, and our participation in A Year on the Field will be only the second time some of our staff have seen the cultivation cycle of wheat themselves!
Criadero los Brabantes (COL)
Hugo Sanhueza's farming operation and Brabant horse breeding site is situated in the middle of the Andean Mountains (above 2000 metres). The Brabants’ Farm is a multi-purpose farming operation whose main goal is to promote “horsefarming.”
Their philosophy is to support the transformation of regional conventional agriculture and forestry into a sustainable, socially responsible, and less petroleum dependent based agriculture, by utilizing animal drawn technology (“horsefarming”), and by meeting key challenges in the 21st century small-scale agriculture and forestry in Colombia and throughout South America.
Firestone Farm, Greenfield Village (MI, USA)
The Firestone farm located within Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan is the childhood home of Harvey Firestone. The Henry Ford (Museum) has run the farm as it would have been in 1885, when every aspect of the farm has been painstakingly researched and picked by the team of curators at The Henry Ford to help deliver the most accurate represetation of a mid-western farm in the late 19th century.
The farm for the past 36 years has been back breeding the merino sheep on the farm to have them resemble their 19th century counterparts. The same level of detail was also used when researching the varieties of crops that would be grown within the Village. Again, county records and census data, provided museum staff with valuable information about Benjamin Firestones farm. The variety of wheat most likely would have been Turkey Red Winter Wheat, a relatively new variety of wheat to North America in 1885. Many of the same methods that were used in the 19th century are carried out by farm staff.
It is events like shearing and wheat harvest that help guests see the seasonal work that was performed on farms during the 19th century. The farm also shows guests the ingenuity and resourcefulness of farmers, and the humble beginnings of one of the most successful industrialists of the 20th century.
Genesee Country Village and Museums (NY, US)
We are an early 19th century living history farm at the Genesee Country Village and Museum in New York State. Located in the area around Rochester, NY, an area world renowned in the first half of the 19th century for the quality of its wheat; for example, Queen Victoria reportedly would only eat the wheat grown here. Wheat is a spotlight of our historical interpretation.
With limited fields, we only grow a small patch of wheat yearly. Our oxen plow and harrow the field in Autumn and we plant the variety of winter wheat known as Banatka. Starting with just a handful of seed years ago, this year we brought in 8 large jars of wheat.
Every July we harvest by hand using sickles and cradle scythes. We bundle and shock in the field. When brought in, we thresh our wheat by hand using flails on the threshing floor of our 1820s English style threshing barn. We winnow using a hand cranked fanning mill.
Hessenpark Open Air Museum (GER)
Not only will you find more than one hundred re-erected historic buildings in Hessenpark Open Air Museum, but also fields, pastures and meadows, fruit trees, gardens, a vineyard and many animals that were once typical for the farms in the region. Throughout the year, we offer interested visitors insights into the historical life and work of the rural population by presenting demonstrations on the various steps of grain and fibre plant processing or on the everyday chores of animal husbandry. At the Hessenpark Open Air Museum visitors get the chance to experience historical agricultural practices first-hand.
The fields in the museum are tilled according to the principle of “three-field rotation”. This type of cultivation is the predecessor of modern rotation farming of arable land. In the three-field rotation system, the winter crops (rye or wheat) are sown in autumn, persevered through the winter as shoots and reach harvest maturity in summer. This culti-vation technique was possible with grains which managed to get through the winter months well. The winter crop is followed by a summer crop like oats, which is sown in spring and harvested only 5 to 6 months later in August. These two crops are followed by a fallow year, so that the soil can recover before the next winter crop is sown. The fallow land is used as pasture to reduce weeds. The manure of the grazing animals will also improve the fertility of the soil.
Over the centuries, many different varieties of grains were cultivated, and some of the most important of these can be found today in the museum’s winter grain fields. Among these are einkorn wheat (Triticum monococcum), as the most ancient form of cereal, emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum), spelt (Triticum aestivum subsp. spelta), wheat (Triticum aestivum) and rye (Secale cereale).
Howell Living History Farm (NJ, USA)
This 130-acre (53 ha) Howell Living History working farm presents the agriculture and lifestyle typical of the region, circa 1900, through crop and livestock operations as well as domestic activities. Annually, 65,000 visitors participate in the farm's tours and hands on programs.
Many horse powered operations are used on the 45 acres (18 ha) where corn, oats, wheat and hay are raised using period equipment. The farm produces hay and grain needed for its livestock; vegetable and grain needed in educational programs; and vegetables, eggs and meat for local food banks and pantries.
As a farm complete with crop failures, successes with bumper crops, and the work of raising livestock, Howell Farm is a place where visitors can easily see and learn about the realities of food and fiber production in times past, while broadening their understanding of the challenges facing farmers today and tomorrow.
Jarrow Hall Anglo-Saxon Farm, Village and Bede Museum (UK)
Our Museum is in the heart of Ancient Northumbria, amidst the northern Roman frontier and beside the famous Jarrow monastery; home to the father of British history, the Venerable Bede.
Excavations in the later 20th century by Dame Professor Rosemary Cramp (Durham University) unearthed extensive evidence of occupation here from the Early Christian to Victorian period. This includes the largest collection of early medieval window glass in Europe!
The remnants of these farming and monastic communities now reside in our museum. Thanks to our staff and volunteers, they are being brought to life in our (re)constructed Anglo-Saxon farm, ‘Gyrwe’. This is home to ancient and rare breed animals, such as English and Cheviot goats, Dexter bullocks, Iron Age pigs, Hebridean sheep and different types of poultry, the real celebrities of our school visits.
Alongside these, we use experimental archaeology to educate our visitors, which ranges from constructing new buildings to ancient metallurgy and glasswork, using (re)constructed furnaces, kilns and ovens
Bauer Karl (GER)
I'm working on two farms that cover an area of 75 hectares (185 acres) consisting of 55 hectares (135 acres) grassland and 20 hectares (49 acres) arable land.
In 1988 we converted to organic farming and a little later we joined the "Naturland" association for ecological farming.
We farm without buying in feed and fertiliser. The fertilisation is done by crop rotation and manure from our 40 mother cows. Moreover, we grow wheat, spelt and spelt-wheat in succession.
The farms are located in Fürth Odenwald/Steinbach (Hessen) and are called Steinbacherhof and Guldenklingerhof (see top photo at right), which is located towards Heppenheim.
La petite ferme de Chanon (FRA)
La petite ferme is run by a modern peasant family: Denis Adam and his wife Gaëlle Adam.
We work often with animal traction, with one or two Percheron horses, and make good use of hybrid MT (combustion engine combined with horse power). Research and development of alternative farming methods are also an important aspect of the farm.
At present, we work on a total area of about 35 ha (86 acres) of which 15 ha (37 acres) is grassland and about 1 ha is arable land. We are also in the process of expanding our farmland.
Our food production consists of a garden feeding the family (6 people) all year round and about 20 people commercially in the summer, of a farmyard with 2 to 3 pigs, firewood production as well as wheat on 0.2 to 0.5 ha (1-2 acres) for the family's needs and animal feed.
Our commercial agricultural production (and also food production) comprises field vegetables on about 0.5 ha (2 acres) as well as a herd of 5 suckler cows and 4 dairy cows.
The Experimental Archaeology Open-Air Laboratory Lauresham is situated in the heart of the extensively remodeled and expanded UNESCO World Heritage Site Lorsch Abbey.
In the 1:1 model of a Carolingian manor, visitors have the opportunity to learn about manorialism in a vivid and accessible way.
Lauresham is also a forum for ongoing experimental archaeological research. A range of primitive technologies, crafts and agricultural methods from the Early Middle Ages are researched and tested here as part of day-to-day operations.
Some of our most prominent experiments include work on animal traction (e.g. ploug-hing), the micro-climate of the houses and exploration of the formation of ridge
and furrow field systems.
The various types of agricultural land (fields, pastures and gardens) and livestock at site, which are all similar to what you might have seen in medieval times, convey a lively picture of the day-to-day and working lives of people in the Early Middle Ages.
Luisenhof - Farm Community Linden & Kelleners (GER)
Along with their friend Daniel Linden, Frank Kelleners and his son Maximilian run a small self-sufficient farm with horses. The farm is located in Heimbach in the south of North Rhine-Westphalia, close to the Eifel National Park.
They cultivate about 2 hectares of arable land and about 10 hectares of grassland. The arable land is farmed exclusively with horses. For this purpose they work with 3 Ardennes, 1 Brabanter cold-blooded horses and Icelandic ponies for the maintenance work. The implements they work with are time-proven historical implements from their region.
In 2020 they grew wheat, oats, barley, potatoes and beet. They cultivate the fields in a biodynamical way and ascribe great importance to natural cycles and soil health.
In addition to arable farming, they also farm a large kitchen garden. They keep cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys as farm animals, which are also fed with their products.
Alongside the production of healthy food, the cultivation of customs and traditions as well as the preservation of almost lost practical skills and knowledge about farming with horses is one of their main goals.
Malagne, the Archéoparc of Rochefort is an ancient Gallo-Roman villa from the first century AD. Located in Belgium near the city of Rochefort, the site of several hectares was excavated by archaeologists at the end of the 19th century, then in the 1990s.
The remains of residential, agricultural and craft buildings are still visible. Some of them have been restored. The estate also has a garden and a vegetable patch, cereal fields as well as numerous animals of ancient breeds.
The site is the area of numerous archaeological experiments concerning Gallo-Roman agricultural techniques. Hitched to a donkey, a harvester (vallus) has been rebuilt and is used to ensure the harvest of spelt.
Malagne is an educational place where visitors and schoolchildren discover the daily life of our Gallo-Roman ancestors.
Shaker Village (KY, USA)
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, is a landmark destination that shares 3,000 acres (1214 hectares) of discovery in the spirit of the Kentucky Shakers. With 34 original Shaker structures, the site is home to the country’s largest private collection of original 19th-century buildings.
Shaker Village fosters a model that balances the site’s heritage with contemporary principles to bridge the past to the future.
Demonstrating a commitment to community, sustainability and ingenuity, the model embraces three pillars rooted in time-honored Shaker legacies, including balanced preservation and conservation; engaged learning and exploration; and warm, spirited hospitality.
The Shakers wasted nothing, and today we seek to follow in their footsteps by establish-ing sound, environmentally friendly organi-zational practices. Shaker Village is commit-ted to sustainable agricultural practices, sound ecological land management and public environmental education.
Farming was at the heart of the Pleasant Hill Shaker community, and experimentation and resiliency made their farm a model of innovation and efficiency.
Shaker Village continues this tradition by employing sustainable agricultural practices while tending our 100% organic garden, orchard, livestock and apiary.
Sterling College (KY, USA)
In Henry County, Kentucky, the Wendell Berry Farming Program of Sterling College offers a farming curriculum focused on ecological management of livestock, pasture, and woodlands using draft animals and other appropriately scaled powered systems.
Inspired by the lifework of farmer and writer Wendell Berry who says of the curriculum, “This farming program is exactly what most needs doing here.”
The curriculum is focused on the survival of small and mid-scale farms. We study how to be profitable within ecological bounds.
Our goal is unique in agricultural education: to couple a hands-on, liberal arts, farming curriculum with a diversified mid-scale livestock farm and small woodland using appropriately scaled mixed power systems (i.e., draft and combustion power).
Our approach to farming is modestly scaled, humble, and attuned to rural places.
Carol Streefkerk (AUT)
The Lower Austrian estate and forestry administration Tacoli is located next to Fridau Castle and has been established in the production of logs and Christmas trees for many decades. The products range from jumping poles for equestrian sports, to stands for gardening, orcharding and viticulture, hunting high seats, carports, playground equipment, fences and more.
The nearly 25 acres (10 hectares) of Christmas tree cultivation is done with ponies. The clearing work after the brushwood harvest and the individual tree removals for the pole wood are performed with working animals. on In this environment, the use of machinery is practically impractical or impossible; using small horses pulling a skid actually is the ideal solution for this terrain.
Maize (corn), wheat and lucerne (alfalfa) are horse cultivated for our own supply. Our agricultural maintenance is carried out with goats, the undisputed winners to limit bushes and weeds. We also celebrate the symbiosis between our goats and butterflies; goat droppings fertilize the fields and meadows, and butterflies pollinate the plants which come up in the fields.
Florian Wagner (GER)
Our farm is a small-scale farm with about 4 ha in the village Rübgarten south of Stuttgart, Germany.
The farm is operated as a part time business. We keep 4 working horses (Haflingers) and about 10 sheep.
We are cultivating orchards and arable land. The arable farming is mainly done with the horses - we do not own a motorised tractor.
On our farmland we are growing fodder, wheat, spelt, barley and oats.
Moreover, we also process our spelt and wheat into flour.
Our project also includes numerous individuals with interest and expertise in aspects of our topic.
Our contributors include scientists, museum collection staff, bakers and others.
They are featured here in alphabetical order.
The Archives of Rural History (CH)
The Archives of Rural History (ARH) were established 2002 by historians and archivists in order to identify, secure and index sources of actors and institutions from the food and agricultural sectors in the 19th and 20th centuries and to make them available to researchers and a broader public. The archival holdings of associations, institutions, private firms and individual actors which we are cataloguing are usually deposited in state archives or kept by the creators of the records themselves. Beside these activities we are also engaged in historical research.
The publication of sources (films, photographs) takes place via our thematically oriented online portals (www.histoirerurale.ch).
The Benson Ford Research Center
at The Henry Ford (US)
The Henry Ford began in 1929, founded by industrialist Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, as a showplace for his expansive collection of Americana. Henry Ford's father, William Ford, raised small grains, including wheat; by 1874, he used a Triumph Reaper, manufactured by D. S. Morgan & Company, to bring in the harvest. Henry Ford's experiences as the son of an ambitious farmer informed his collections plan.
Today the Benson Ford Research Center contains 5 miles (8 km) in linear feet of archival material and The Henry Ford houses thousands of 3-D artifacts that document the influences of agriculture and industry on American life.
Barbara Corson (US)
I am a retired veterinary pathologist with life-long interests in nature,
history, agriculture, and freedom from fossil fuels.
From 2013 to 2017, I was the farmer at an 18th historic farm in Pennsylvania.
I currently have horses, cattle, and other animals, and I especially interested
in encouraging young people to learn about animals and farming.
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum (OTT, CA)
The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum (CAFM) offers a unique experience:
a demonstration farm combined with interactive exhibitions, educational programming and skills demonstrations.
Located on the Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site, the Museum is a showcase for Canadian agriculture and the
science and technology which feeds, clothes, powers and provides bio-products for national and international consumers.
One of the three museums in the Ingenium family of museums of science and innovation, CAFM honours the people and communities who have shaped Canadian history to inspire future generations. While the Museum does not grow wheat crops on our site for our herds, the team will work on small test containers to showcase heirloom wheat varieties in 2022.
As a national museum we also provide evidence-based resources to communities in all provinces and territories. Working with our partners we create digital education resources, travelling exhibitions and virtual programs covering a broad spectrum of topics for diverse audiences.
Ed Schultz (US)
Ed Schultz has been a Historic Farmer for the last twenty years at Colonial Williamsburg in the U.S.A. He has developed historic agriculture programs at five different sites in the last 30 years. His focus is primarily historic skills, but also the big picture concepts that contribute to a successful agricultural program. A longtime member of the Association of Living History, Farms and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM), Ed served as the FARM Professional Interest Group co-chair for ten years developing the profile and importance of historic agricultural practices in ALHFAM. In 2019, he was awarded ALHFAM’s highest award called the Schlebecker Award. He has presented at numerous conference including the 2013 Living Animals in Museums meeting in Poland. He has a small farm at home raising cattle and sheep and garden produce for home consumption.
The ‘cerealisation’ of medieval England has been debated for over a century, with arguments focusing on the development of communally-cultivated open fields, widely regarded as one of the transformative changes of the Middle Ages. Yet theories about when and how this unprecedented type of agriculture emerged and spread are based on limited, indirect evidence.
The “Feeding Anglo-Saxon England” (FeedSax) project, funded by the European Research Council and led by Professor Helena Hamerow at the Universities of Oxford and Leicester, breaks new ground by integrating scientific methods such as stable isotope and pollen analysis, radiocarbon dating, archaeobotany and archaeozoology with structural remains to resolve this debate.
Gabriel Francisco (US)
Gabriel Francisco grew up in rural southwestern Michigan on a small 25 acre (17 hectares) sheep farm where his parents owned and operated a wool mill processing and selling wool and other animal fibers across the United States. At a young age Gabriel already excelled at farming becoming well known for his animal husbandry and handling skills. Gabriel studied Sustainable Agriculture and attend the Wendell Berry Farming Program where he met his Draft Animal Mentor, Rick Thomas.
After graduating from the inaugural class of the Wendell Berry Farming Program Gabriel has since been hired as the Draft Animal Coordinator at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, Kentucky U.S.A, where he gets to work on their 100% organic “Seed to Table” Farm alongside 3 teams of draft horses and 2 teams of oxen doing everything from guest carriage rides, farm work, and logging on Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill’s 3000-acre (1214 hectares) historical site.
Cozette Griffin-Kremer (FR)
I took my doctorate in Celtic Studies at the Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique in Brest and an Advanced Research Degree (DEA) in the history of technology in a joint program of the EHESS (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) and the CNAM (Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers) in Paris, so I attempt to marry the two fields, especially concentrating on the calendar system and flower festivals, the relations between ritual and work, food history, human-bovine relations and museum work for intangible heritage with an emphasis on using working animals.
I am an Associate Researcher at the Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique, UBO, Brest FR, past Secretary General of the AIMA (2014-2017), and now Newsletter editor and Executive Committee member.
Claus Kropp (GER)
Project Coordinator / Lauresham
After graduating from Heidelberg University (GER), I worked at the Department for History for three years, most recently as an assistant at the chair for medieval history. In 2013 my professional path led me to the Lauresham Laboratory for Experimental Archaeology, which I am still managing today. It is both an archaeological open-air museum focusing on the Early Middle Ages as well as a research facility.
One of my main research interests is the study of medieval agriculture and its relation to the present. Both professionally and personally I am a passionate ox driver and run a very small scale farm with my family as a sideline.
I have the great pleasure to be in charge of the "A Year on the Field" project.
Lauren Muney (US)
"Silhouettes by Hand"
I am a professional artist working both in live demonstration and online. I earned a
Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland USA; yet for over 20 years, I have been working in special events, production, and interactive presentation to the public. My specialty is the traditional trade of silhouette portraits. I created the logo for Year on the Field and assist in media.
I am a member of the the International Agricultural Museums (AIMA) and in the Association for Living History, Farms and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM), the latter where I served a 3-year term on the Board of Directors, including chairing the Skills Training and Preservation committee. I helped create means and methods to pass skills of the past --and of presenting the past-- to new generations. I am especially interested in traditional trades and farming.
(Photo at left: I'm dressed in 1770s clothing at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Museum, one of the Year On the Field Growers)
Bob Powell (UK)
A member of both ALHFAM and AIMA, I am a working horse and farming historian and retired open-air / living history museum curator.
Born in Ireland, I live in Scotland but have also worked in England.
I have been involved with growing wheat including in an historical context for producing thatching straw. I envisage my contributions being from an historical archive perspective.
Malyaj Shrivastava (IN)
Malyaj Shrivastava works as the Young Professional for Policy Deliberation at the Revitalizing Rainfed Agriculture Network (RRA), India.
He is a graduate in Agricultural Engineering from Satna University, Madhya Pradesh.
His theme includes Ease of doing Agriculture with Animal Power and small scale farm mechanization for Rainfed Areas.
ATZ Welzow (GER)
The Archäotechnisches Zentrum Welzow (ATZ) is a museum and an educational centre based in Welzow, Brandenburg, Germany. Besides the organisation of
cultural activities for adults and school groups, the ATZ carries out
archaeotechnological and experimental research projects.
Our aim is to bring an archaeological contribution and point of view into the project
„A Year On The Field“. Our main focus will be on the Early Iron Age processed cereal food remains from the burial site of Niederkaina (Germany). Basing on archaeological evidence and the archaeobotanical analysis, we will try to understand the procedures and the technologies involved in the baking and cooking process,trying to
getting closer to the food culture of prehistorical Lusatia.
Lena Zoll (GER)
I'm an Archaeologist (M.A.) and focused on Experimental Archaeology and Pre- and Protohistory of Europe. I am currently affialiated to the Experimental Archaeological Open-Air Laboratory Lauresham. I'm interested in sustainability and environmentalism and glad to be able to learn more about agriculture by joining the project!
I created and manage the project homepage and assist Claus Kropp in running the project.
Additionally, I am taking care of the project's Social Media.
A Year On The Field Project
Our guest contributors are valuable to the project but do not regularly participate in the project itself.
Peter Shewry (Rothamsted Research, UK)
Peter Shewry is interested in improving grain quality for processing and health, based on understanding the mechanisms that determine grain structure, composition and properties. His current interests focus on improving the content and composition of dietary fibre in wheat grain and reducing the nitrogen requirement for producing wheat grain for breadmaking. Peter’s key research interests focus on grain quality, proteins, dietary fibre, phytochemicals and diet and health. His expertise is in the fields of biochemistry, genetics and plant biotechnology.
Tammy Jett-Parmer (USA)
Tammy Jett-Parmer is a certified Physician Assistant practicing medicine in Maryland. She has been a PA for over 20 years, the last thirteen or so dedicated to Integrative and Functional medicine. Many of her patients have challenging digestive issues, so over the years she has endeavored to equip herself with the latest research and guidance regarding food sensitivity, food allergy, and the health of the gut microbiome, those 2-3 pounds of beneficial (also known as “commensal”) bacteria that live in our digestive tracts.