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The Farmer's Apprentice

Updated: Aug 25, 2021

What is working at The Many Hands Peace Farm like? What are we trying to grow, on the land and with each other? Find out for yourself!

Cole and Tolvin have been farm apprentices for the 2021 season. Continuing to grow the farm into a place of abundance and beauty. Read about their experiences below.

Tolvin Stiles

Moving to the mountain has changed my life. From the community to the magic of the natural world I step into right outside my door.

Working on a small farm has always been a dream I hold close to my heart. This year has been such a learning experience. Connecting with our local climate, thinking about the temperature and the level of rainfall even the strong winds.

Knowing when our cultivated plants grow and when each mushroom will rise from the forest floor. Learning how to feed a garden bed through crop rotation and to balance the give and take of their nutrient exchange. Which soil type is going to make each plant happy and what I need to add to help them. Not to mention the daily life of our ducks and chickens.

It's wild!

My hope for the farm is to fill every bed with happy healthy plants! To really give them a place to flourish just as The Mountain has given that to me.

One of my dreams is to find heirloom and rare varieties of our everyday vegetables. Ones with unusual color and shape. I would love to grow them and then save seeds for the next crop.

Currently I am brain storming ideas for cold frames. My goal is to repurpose the old window from the maintenance projects going on at the top of The Mountain and find ways to extend our growing season. Or just to give more delicate plants a safer environment.

The most recent thing I am proud of is going through the Mushroom Mountain Safety course. Becoming certified to safely forage for wild edibles is truly a high point in my life!

Recently we have had some powerful wind storms. However, while standing in the field feeling a storm rushing around me is nothing short of magic, our corn plants really took a beating. Over half of them were laid out flat by the end of the day. That was a rough one. But, a few dozen odd wheelbarrows of our leaf-mulch compost later I had them propped back up and there shallow roots reinforced.

Over all I wouldn't want to spend this year any other way. I feel like I have found a place here at The Mountain. I have so much to learn and so many mentors to guid me and to share their knowledge.

- Tolvin Stiles

Cole Madison

The Many Hands Peace Farm has been an amazing experience for me at this point in my life, being able to grow fresh produce and forage for wild edibles for the farmers market and farm dinners is truly a dream come true.

I hope to continue helping the farm grow and succeed to its fullest potential while maintaining a holistic and organic philosophy in our practice.

My current dreams are to continue my practices in the various arts that I have devoted myself too.

My passions compromise of many activities such as Dungeons and Dragons, hiking, foraging, farming, painting, drawing, musical arts, cooking, learning new skills and trying new things.

Some of my past works include being the head chef/kitchen manager of restaurants, building and maintaining hiking trails throughout the North East GA and NC areas, organizing trash pickups for national parks and camping/hiking areas, volunteering at soup kitchens and homeless shelters, volunteering and acting as mentor and participant assistant for the special Olympics, and attaining the position of eagle scout.

I've been asked to divulge into my highest highs and lowest lows, however id like to generalize and say, My life, not unlike any other has been filled with deep valleys and rising mountains, I strive to embrace and understand all experiences be them humbling or uplifting. I believe that the good times and bad will teach us the insight and wisdom to grow into a better individual, family, and community.

- Cole Madison

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