Activity Snapshot: 

The Chewonki Foundation’s Wiscasset campus is on the indigenous land of the Wabanaki people, who cultivated the land for thousands of years for food gathering and production. This region was colonized and occupied by white European settlers in the 1700s. By the 1800s, settlers had cleared most of Chewonki Neck for brickmaking and then farming, raising diversified vegetables and livestock. One hundred years ago, the Bailey family lived on Chewonki Neck on the land that is Chewonki’s Salt Marsh Farm today. Photos from that time show some of the ways that the farm was the same and different back then. 

The major buildings on the Salt Marsh Farm are all connected together in a traditional way known as “big house, little house, back house, barn.” A family might first build a little house and barn on their property and then add a bigger addition to the house and a back house (a workshop or carriage house that connects the house and barn) when time and finances made that possible. This type of connected farm building is especially handy in snowy winters and during lambing and calving season, when farmers check on livestock in the middle of the night. Here’s a photo of the buildings on our farm over 100 years ago. The barn (on the left) and house (on the right) are not yet connected, and a small carriage house (in the middle) is connected to the barn. 

This photo, taken a number of years later, shows both an early car and a horse drawn carriage in front of the barn (on the left), a larger workshop (in the middle), and the house (on the right). The house has a new addition on it. 

Other old photos show us that the Bailey family raised hay, horses, sheep, and pigs. Records from the family kept in books called ledgers also tell us that the Baileys also raised oats, vegetables, chickens, and apples and that they sold butter, grain, and cream.

Imagine that you are starting a farm on a piece of cleared land. What animals and plants would you raise? Where would you build your house, barn, and other buildings? Where would you get water? Build a miniature farm with materials from outside or inside your house. 

The land that became Salt Marsh Farm was purchased by the Chewonki Foundation in the 1960s. The current combination of diversified vegetable production, livestock operations, and sustainable forestry has been in place since 1989. 

Goal:

Imagine and build a model farm! 

Time Recommended:

  • 20 minutes – 1 hour

Materials:

  • Found materials from home and the natural world

Instructions:

  1. Imagine that you are starting a farm on a piece of cleared land. What animals and plants would you raise? Where would you build your house, barn, and other buildings? Where would you get water? What would you buy to start your farm, and what resources could you use from your land?
  2. Build a miniature farm with materials from outside or inside your house. Use found materials (like sticks, rocks, and plants), toys, magazines or photographs, or blocks or legos to make your farm. 
  3. Take a photograph of your miniature farm or write up a description. Submit your photo and/or description to the Camp Chewonki@Home Chronicle.

Closing Questions:

  1. What was the most interesting or challenging problem to solve when planning and building your farm?
  2. How might a farm be different in the area where you live compared to the farm on Chewonki Neck? How might your farm change over time like the Bailey farm did?
  3. What kind of farms does your food come from? What do those farms look like?

Share with your Community:

When you’ve completed your project, share a photo and description of your farm to be included in the Camp Chewonki@Home Community Galleries in Chapin Hall!

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