Starting a Farm from Scratch: Part 1
by Chris Grataski
Knowing ourselves well and understanding our context in the modern world requires that we know where we have come from. We look back to times when people survived by their knowledge of the land and their skill with the raw materials that it provided. Our ancestor’s knowledge of the animals and tracking allowed them to read the stories left on the land by wildlife. Their ability to move silently and invisibly on the land allowed them to feed themselves and their families. Their knowledge of trees gave them fire from friction. They made stone tools, such as arrowheads and knives because they understood how to work with the rocks. Their knowledge of plants served as their grocery store, hardware store, and pharmacy. Imagine knowing the land so well you never feel lost.
The Catalyst Program is designed to mentor students in their journey to a deeper knowledge of self though the practice of wilderness self-reliance, primitive technology, connection to the land base, and the pursuit of greater internal and external awareness.
Some students may be able to earn high school credit through their guidance departments, check with us for more information.
This program will be held at Twinfield Union School, Plainfield VT.
Sign up for either the whole year or the Fall or Spring Semester separately.
Deposits or full payments are due with registration. Payment plans can be established through monthly direct draw via online checkouts.
Deposit $200 Balance: $950 Full Price: $1150 ($50 off)
Deposit: $200 Balance: $400 Full Price: $600
Deposit: $200 Balance: $400 Full Price: $600
The program days are as follows:
A couple of our students have written about their experiences with the program. Scroll down to read about how their time in Catalyst was a part of shaping their lives.
I started the ROOTS year program when I was fourteen as one of the first students. ROOTS was vital to me. It provided context, a different way of learning and taught me knowledge about the world that I never would have gotten in school. What I learned at Roots enhanced everything else in my life. In many ways it was a real world application for things that I learned in school. I could see how friction works by learning how to make a bowdrill, or understand geometry and physics in learning how rocks break for flintknapping. It fulfilled my need for discovery and exploration by providing me with hands on, experiential learning that I could apply to all other aspects of my life, be it patience, observation, or physics.
I never had a problem with missing one day a week. I would ask my teachers the day ahead of time what we were doing and they would give me the work, if I missed a test I would make it up the day after. It was never a big deal. I was a straight A student and graduated Valedictorian of my class despite of missing one day a week. I would attribute a large part of my success in school to the experience and perspective I gained at ROOTS. I am now a first year at the University of Vermont, studying Anthropology, and I still use the skills I learned at ROOTS every day.
For me, ROOTS was a necessity throughout my high school career. Every Wednesday I could go into the woods and learn skills that would set me up for life after Twinfield. ROOTS was the only place where I felt accepted and respected for my ideas. Also, I was learning really awesome primitive skills.
Throughout all four years I was enrolled, I never had a problem keeping up with my schoolwork. If I missed a test or a deadline, I would talk to the teacher beforehand and set up something that made both of us happy. Most of the time, I would make up the work the next day.
Currently I am working for my father as a fourth generation granite worker. I have recently come home from living out on the west coast and plan on moving back next spring. I have ROOTS to thank for my confidence and accepting the fact that I am going to wait to go to college.
It’s nice to be able to come home to a group of people who love you and are always there when you need them.
The four main goals of the Catalyst Program are:
Each weekend of Catalyst includes the following Program Elements:
The year is broken into two semesters, and each semester is based around three to five themes. These themes ensure that students gain thorough and lasting knowledge and understanding of the topics covered. Catalyst’s maximum enrollment is limited to ten to ensure low student to instructor ratios. The program takes place on location at Roots School and offers students access to the facilities and land.
Wild Life Tracking and Mammal Studies Hide Tanning Primitive Projectile Weapons Atmosphere and Weather Studies
New England Native American Pottery Technology Lithic Technology (Stone Tools) Ornithology (Bird Studies) River Ecology
Online registrations are preferred, but registration by mail is accepted. Either proceed online above, or mail in the forms below with a check for the deposit.