SCITUATE – Katherine Fotiades of Skydog Farm is opening its fields to guests in an educational six-week series focusing on homesteading, or “chopping wood and carrying water,” as Fotiades describes it.
The six-week series, beginning Wednesday, Aug. 4, at 5:30 p.m., will run Wednesdays through Sept. 8. It will feature demonstrations on a variety of subjects, such as fermenting food, culinary and medicinal herbs, co-creating with nature, and more.
Now, with the purchase of the new farm at 559 Rocky Hill Road, Fotiades and co-owner Mark Phillips are welcoming people in to meet local farmers and become inspired to create a “more purposeful lifestyle,” Fotiades said.
Homesteading is about teaching how to get back to the basics. The first lesson will be on the farm’s vegan pesto, which used to be a favorite at local farmers markets, Fotiades said.
The idea is to provide education and inspiration for others to be interested in farming. Series topics will range from demonstrations to more in-depth workshops following guests’ passions and interests.
“We’re really trying to inspire people to get back to basics, get their hands in the soil, and get more intimately connected with food to improve their quality of life,” Fotiades said.
A driving factor for purchasing the new property was to welcome the public to the farm, which a previous rented location did not allow.
“Skydog is devoted to mindfully cultivating and crafting agricultural products and experiences that nourish not only your body, mind and spirit, but also support the regeneration of our Mother Earth,” Fotiades said.
Skydog Farm in Scituate opened last year pre-COVID, Fotiades said. The team is in the process of building multiple greenhouses and is now ready to welcome visitors.
A suggested donation of $10 helps to maintain gardens and sanctuary space, said Fotiades.
Guests are invited to step out of the busy “exterior world” and experience being still in nature at the farm’s botanical and sanctuary gardens, which are open every Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m.,
Fotiades and Phillips have been farming for more than 30 years, previously working as the Absalona Greenhouse in Chepachet. She said the pair are grateful to share the beautiful and serene farmstead with the help and support of family, friends and the community.
Phillips began farming in 1990, growing hydroponic greens and herbs to sell at farmers’ markets and grocery stores. Fotiades joined the team in 2018 to expand business by adding hand-grown succulents and expand community events.
While the pair loved gardening, both felt the desire to teach others how to live with the land and find fulfillment by reaching into the soil and getting their hands dirty.
The 2-acre farm features leafy greens, succulents, flowers and other produce.
Skydog has partnered with Farm Fresh Rhode Island to bring educational programs to students, providing more than 400 grow-your-own-pea green kits to students in grades K-5, as well as hydroponic lettuce kits to 6th-graders.
“Skydog Farm is committed to growing their educational programs through continuing their work with Farm Fresh RI and the Farm 2 School collaborative,” Fotiades said.
Skydog Farm has a year-round crop-sharing association for hydroponically grown leafy greens and herbs. Fotiades said the CSA reduces packing waste and supports local farming.
She said the series will culminate the summer season on Sept. 18 with an afternoon of demonstrations, music and art.
The botanical nursery and farm store is open on Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 12 to 4 p.m., and by special appointments now through Sept. 19.
The indoor Wintertime Greenhouse Oasis is open beginning Nov. 6 for holiday shopping and private events.
For more information on events, as well as age requirements for certain activities, visit www.skydogfarm.com .