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DAMASCUS, PA — The newly formed Farm Arts Collective held an opening ceremony on June 2 at its location on Willow Wisp Organic Farm, drawing more than 200 from across Wayne and Sullivan counties.
The day began with a presentation by the Farm Arts Collective Madrigal Choir, followed by opening remarks by artistic director Tannis Kowalchuk.
“Farm Arts Collective’s goal is to provide information, experiences, artistic and cultural exchange to the community,” Kowalchuk said. “This year we will bring professionals and self-taught experts to share their knowledge on organic farming practices, cooking, theatre, horsewomanship, fermenting, singing, solar energy, plant medicine, Native American cultural and environmental protection. We want to raise awareness and celebrate our rural cultural identity, to define us as a rich and diverse community. “
Following opening remarks, Chief Gentlemoon, leader of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, spoke to the crowd offering a blessing and prayer for Willow Wisp Organic Farm and Farm Arts Collective.
Attendees then embarked on a farm tour of the 30-acre farm led by farmer-owner Greg Swartz, who guided guests through the greenhouses and fields, explaining organic practices including crop rotation, cover crops and use of flowers and plants to increase insect diversity.
Guests enjoyed refreshments from the pot-luck pie table that included a selection of more than 30 pies that were baked and donated by attendees.
The day concluded with drumming from the Lenape chief and singers along with Farm Arts Collective and local musicians who were invited to join the drum circle. Native dancer, Mrs. Simon led a friendship circle dance, and all guests were invited to participate. The day also included face painting by artist Pamela Zaitchik and flower crown creations.
Farm Arts Collective will present “Shakespeare on the Farm” August 3 to 11. More info can be found at www.farmartscollective.org