One important element of Gilman’s Environmental Sustainability course is the immersion of the students in the curriculum. In past years, the class has visited Liberty Delight Farms in Reisterstown, Maryland. On its 100 acres, Liberty Delights sustainably raises the farm’s animals in order to produce the freshest beef, pork, chicken, lamb, turkey, rabbit, eggs, and more. The farm considers it their responsibility “to provide our communities with local, all-natural food free of growth stimulants and antibiotics. We treat our animals with care and respect and allow them to engage in natural behaviors where they can move about freely.”
Of course, given the state of the world in 2021, everyone is getting creative in delivering the usual in-classroom and out-of-classroom experiences. This includes Mr. Lauer and Mr. Fitzgibbon, who recently visited Liberty Delight in real life so that they could create a virtual tour to show to their students, and then organized an online visit with farmer/owner Shane Hughes and VP of sales, marketing, and business development Lauren Taylor Hughes.
During the Zoom-based discussion on Friday, March 5, students in the class had the chance to ask questions and learn about many aspects of this sustainable farm, such as:
- how the relationship with consumers became more direct with home delivery, a service brought on by the pandemic
- the paths Shane and Lauren took to move from the corporate world to farming
- the differences between larger farms and small, sustainable-practice farms
- the ways the demand for the farm’s products has increased in recent years, which has led to a boost in restaurant interest as well as an expansion of operations to include an on-site store for customers
In recent years, several Gilman students have chosen Liberty Delight for their Senior Encounter experiences. Shane and Lauren shared with the group the types of work that these boys have been involved with during their two weeks with them. Lauren said they like to give the boys “the full-circle experience,” which includes feeding the animals, cleaning chicken houses, learning about the process for when the meat comes back from the butcher, working at farmers markets to sell the product, making phone calls, and eventually tasting the meat themselves.
Shane talked about how sustainable farming is a way of life. He says that raising animals that are eventually processed for food products can be difficult, but that the animals “have a great life while they’re here.” Learn more about Liberty Delight here.