On the night of October 25, 2021, lightning struck the Horn Farm’s historic farmhouse, engulfing the second and third floors in flames.
Instead of giving up and considering the property a loss, the organization used the devastating fire to rethink its goals and immediately began working on a reconstruction plan.
The 186-acre property which is situated just off Route 30 in Hellam Township has experienced its fair share of challenges in the past. To save it from industrial development, the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education was established as a nonprofit in 2004, and now leases the property from York County.
The farm had since been thriving with its mission to foster learning through ecological land stewardship, experiential education, and community partnerships. But nobody could prepare for the disruption caused by the pandemic. As classes were cancelled and volunteer numbers dwindled, the organization knew it needed to reconsider its operations.
And then the farmhouse caught fire.
Despite all the setbacks, Alexis Campbell, Executive Director, said her team saw it as an opportunity to plant new seeds and grow. With a grant from YCCF’s Sustainable Energy Fund, the farmhouse remodeling plan will incorporate energy efficiency and renewable energy systems, including solar panels. The solar panels will be highly visible to commuters traveling along Route 30 – one of the busiest highways in York.
“Our farmhouse was built in the 1840’s and was inefficient, especially the administrative offices and classrooms. As a leader in regenerative agriculture, our facilities should reflect our ecological values,” shared Alexis.
Sustainability, energy efficiency, and improved capacity are the main themes of the rebuild which is scheduled to begin in April 2023 and be completed in 2024; just in time to celebrate the farm’s 20th anniversary.
The renovations will significantly reduce the Horn Farm’s carbon footprint, while increasing its cost savings advantages, keeping it on track to “reap what it sows!”