Farm Stories


Natick Community Organic Farm has touched the lives of many people in ways that are both simple and profound. We have set up this page to capture, share, and celebrate the Farm's impact.


If you have a farm story you would like to share on this page, please email it to us!


Ben Bryer spent two months working at NCOF for his senior year Ma'avar project. Read his Farm Journal here.


Ben Boegehold wrote his college application essay about being part of the NCOF summer crew:

"Zen and the Art of Sorting Screws"

I am not a neat freak. I even use my fairly constant state of disorder as an excuse. “It shows my individuality,” I say to skeptics. For instance, if you were to ask anyone to find order in my claustrophobic excuse-for-a-room, and that individual would immediately deem it impossible. The chaotic corners of my little lair are occupied by pieces of scrap paper covered with stanzas of unfinished poetry. CDs litter the floor, creating a precarious obstacle course for untrained feet. So when my boss at the nonprofit organic farm I worked at asked me to organize the tool room, my first reaction was extreme reluctance. My second reaction vocalized itself in a meek, “okay.” That being said, I went to work, surveying the small and musty room with the unsteady resolve of a prisoner facing a firing squad. I decided to start with the hardware.
You would be astonished at the number of objects that look like, but aren't really, screws. If you have ever attempted to organize the ancient and dusty tool room, you certainly know this by now. You probably understand that the act of sorting screws takes more than patience and endurance. You must be obsessive compulsive. I would not say that I am an entirely obsessive compulsive person, but those inane tendencies certainly began to show as I devoted all of my energy to this system of organization that would for once and for all purge the tool room of chaos and disorder.
As the countless screws, nails, nuts, bolts, and various objects of miscellany filtered through my aching fingers and swam by my tired eyes, a thought came to me. No two pieces of hardware were exactly alike. Some nails were bent and rusted, others new and shiny. Nuts and bolts from ancient machines drifted about, some searching for mates while others held fast to their lovers, bonded by the awesome power of oxidation. And although most of the hardware was mismatched, every item had a home. It fit into some larger category, into one of the wooden boxes labeled “small screws” or “large screws” or “miscellaneous.” In my moment of spiritual clarity, I saw the universe in that small and musty tool room. There was order in chaos, in which every seemingly insignificant thing had a destination. And I saw myself within that cosmic catalog – a lug nut among many – but nevertheless a unique lug nut. And in this grand tool room of ours, I too have a place to go; I too have a destination.


Harriet Buckingham grew up living on the farm that became the Natick Community Organic Farm in the 1930s. Read her remembrances here.


Jimmy O'Keefe made an amazing photographic movie about his Farm experience during his senior year of high school.


Trish Wesley Umbrell first started coming to NCOF's summer programs in elementary school. Here's the poem that she wrote in elementary school about one of her experiences here, and the college essay that it inspired many years later.


Mark Oteri (pictured right) grew up working here at NCOF, which fed his early interests in timberframing and stone masonry. He has worked on timberframing projects across the U.S. and around the world, including the reconstruction of a wooden synagogue in Poland on an international team of timberframers. Here's the article that he wrote about building NCOF's timberframed composting toilet with the 2010 NCOF Teen Crew.


Jagavi Dave worked in NCOF's summer programs in the summer of 2011. It was life-changing for her. Here's her reflection on her experience: "It was a spur-of-the-moment decision I made to work at the farm.  I had never been much of an outdoor person, nor had I had too much experience working with children.  Both combined had seemed like an impossibly daunting task.  But from the first time I came to the farm, I completely fell in love with it.  I loved the smell and the look of it, and of course the people who worked there seemed wonderfully nice.  I decided to take the leap; I wanted to try something I had never tried before, and the experience changed me entirely.  As I began working at the farm, I discovered a whole side of me I never knew existed.  I learned to love nature and the great outdoors.  I began biking back from the farm every day, something I would never have done a month ago.  I ceased to be terrified of bugs, and grew to appreciate them as a part of nature.  I grew to love the farm.  I loved the fields, the barn, the river, and especially the forest.  I acquired an entirely new, simple way of looking at the world, and a great respect for people who could make everything beautiful sunflowers to delicious tomatoes grow from the ground.  What the farm, what that experience has given me I will never fully be able to explain, but I can gratefully say that it completely changed me for the better."