Farm Stay Project Center (Massachusetts) - IQP

Current Director(s)
Active Program Term(s)
A-Term during early fall
D-Term during spring
Project Opportunities
Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP)

Do you like camping? Being outdoors in all weather? Do you enjoy the peace of being in nature? Do you or would you like to learn to build things? Do you like to work for the benefit of children? Then this is the place for you. The Farm Stay Project Center is located at Turn Back Time, a farm and nature education center with programs for children 3-12, with a focus on at-risk populations. Students who come to Farm Stay will join a community that celebrates, studies, and acts on nature's ability to teach and heal. Most projects include a design and build component (e.g. design and build a rainwater catchment system) and related educational component (e.g. a water-related, hands-on STEM project for kids).

The Turn Back Time property sits on 58 acres, which includes the owner/director's family home, a barn with classrooms and 2 ponies, a horse and donkey, a barnyard with chickens, ducks, and goats, vegetable gardens, an active beaver pond, some walking trails, a kindergarten classroom yurt, and the housing and community spaces for the Farm Stay. The living experience is similar to camping: sleeping in cabins, using flashlights at night, navigating different weather, seeing and interacting insects and animals, making campfires, cooking inside or outside in community, and walking through the woods. 

Students will enjoy weekly farm dinners and weekly workshops on cheese and soap making, wild mushroom foraging, wilderness survival, outdoor sustainable design challenges, metal art fabrication, yoga and wellness, and more. Students will also enjoy two day trips: one to urban rooftop farm on top of the Boston Medical Center and one to student-led farm with crops and Belted Galloway cows. Students will take 3-day trip to Burlington Vermont to enjoy the city, visit the mountains and Lake Champlain, and to tour the innovative Willow Crossing Farm at Prospect Rock. The may be opportunities to take local trips to enjoy the area, including local farm events, the Worcester Public Market, and local adventures to Moore and Rutland State Parks.

Turn Back Time farm is located in Paxton, MA, about 20 minutes from campus. This project center is a fully-residential project center. However, we offer mostly-residential opportunities to accommodate students who want an immersive project experience, but need to return to campus on occasion or leave for the weekend for ROTC, athletics, jobs, and other needs/obligations.

Most project include a built component and an educational component. Previous projects include building a rainwater catchment system that provides water year-round to the gardens, a predator-proof chicken coop, a predator proof garden enclosure, an outdoor kitchen, a soil exploration education station, a weather education station, a mobile farm stand, a bridge over a vernal pool, a dry creek bed, an outdoor maker space, and complementary farm and nature hands-on STEM curriculum for at-risk youth. Ongoing and future projects will engage in topics of renewable energy, climate resilience, carbon sequestration, interactive art installations on the farm and in the forest, innovative food production, sustainable forest management, local soil and water analysis and management, outdoor STEM education, and more.