BOILING SPRINGS — “A celebration of local artists and local farmers.”
That is how Jenn Halpin, farm manager of the Dickinson College Farm, described the third annual Art on the Farm event Sunday, an event that featured a combination of local artists and local produce.
“The farm provides a backdrop for artists to come and kind of capture what they see, while the meal represents basically a cornucopia of ingredients from local farms in the area,” Halpin said.
The event also served as a fundraiser for the Carlisle Arts Learning Center and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, both nonprofit organizations. Along with soliciting organizations, Halpin said proceeds from live and silent auctions and ticket sales would be split between the two organizations. She said artists donated their time for the event, and that 95 percent of the food was donated from PASA farmers from the Cumberland Valley area. Menu items included Italian shepherd’s pie, raw kale salad with apples and pears and spinach mushroom frittata.
“The local food movement is something that is growing and getting people to understand what it means to be sustainable,” said Elizabeth Gross, development assistant for PASA. She added that the sustainability of a community included land, health and even art.
Carrie Breschi, executive director for CALC, said there wasn’t a financial goal for the organization to meet. Instead, she said it was important that the event continue to grow.
“We always like to grow the population from one year to the other, because we want people to become aware of the farm, of local organic food and the arts,” she said.
Halpin also stressed that sense of awareness.
“It’s all about building awareness and helping people make connections with each other, with farmers with artists, but kind of providing a venue for appreciation,” she said. “We don’t always have that on a daily basis.”
Halpin said about 100 people came to the event the first year — this year, she said there were about 300.
Along with raising funds for the organizations, Halpin said the event enabled the two organizations to “engage” with one another. Breschi called the collaboration from the two organizations a “beautiful” one.
The cool evening breeze did little to deter a solid turn out.
Artist booths were spread out throughout the fielded area behind the Dickinson College Farm. Ten local artists were present, while the occasional “moo” from cows nearby filled the air along with the clanging of metal at a blacksmith’s station.
It was the first time that Camille Baughman, of Carlisle, attended the event. She said she always heard about it, but never experienced it until this year. She not only liked the combination of local art and the farm but how the event brought people together, she said.
“It’s just that idea of partnership,” Baughman said. “That’s what it’s about, and I’m impressed.”
This year also marked the first for two local artists. William Kocher is an oil painter from Mechanicsburg. He was painting the evening sunset and horizon using oil paints on a slab of masonite as the event went on. For Kocher, artists and farmers are not so different — while artists use a variety of tools to create something, farmers do the same.
“They create something out of the land and bring it forward for people to use and love,” he said.
Gay Foltz, a wood carver from Boiling Springs, also experienced her first year at the event. She said her recent projects have dealt with finding a branch and “finding what it wants to be.” She carved a hand for a large branch that was slowly becoming larger version of a stick figure. She saw the event as an opportunity for promoting local artists, as well as local produce.
“We need to know where our food came from,” she said. “It doesn’t just come from the grocery store.”
“Eating local and knowing the farmer that grew your food ... it really supports that sense of community,” she said.
Halpin and Breschi were confident that Art on the Farm would continue to grow in the future. Halpin said people familiar with the event have told others about it, which has resulted in larger a attendance turnout. Breschi agreed, and added that more artists are continuing to come, and some have asked to be notified when the next Art on the Farm is.
Kocher and Foltz each said they would like to participate again next year. Baughman also said she plans to be in attendance.