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FFEAT Is The Best Co-Curricular. Yes, Really.

FFEAT Is The Best Co-Curricular. Yes, Really.

FFEAT Is The Best Co-Curricular. Yes, Really.


Staff Writer

October 12, 2023

Shaye Lee '26

I’ve recently been informed that the farm is battling a crisis of reputation: thanks to a conspiracy of malicious lies and well-dispensed propaganda, it would appear as though FFEAT has garnered substantial notoriety as an miserable co-curricular. 

As a proud member of the farm community, the responsibility falls on me — along with my fellow farm compatriots — to dispel the slander making rounds on campus and restore our name to its former glory. So please, allow me to re-introduce the school’s best co-curricular: the Fairfield Farm Ecology and Adventure Team. A Brief Digression On The Series Of Unfortunate Events That Fortunately Brought Me to Fairfi eld Farm: Following a three-day stint on the mountain biking team (during which my near-terminal lack of coordination resulted in several intimate encounters with tree roots and a great many bruises), I quickly realized the grim reality of my future as a varsity athlete. After scouring the offerings for an alternative, I sent a strongly worded email to Mr. Quinn requesting that I be transferred into FFEAT. “Subject: Co-curricular switch ASAP. PLEASE!!” Thus my journey as a FFEATer began. 

Let’s begin with what is perhaps the farm’s most defining attribute: its scenery. There’s a reason why the Senior Dance is held there each year. Should Fairfield Farm ever be featured in an issue of Architectural Digest, its blurb would read: “In true rustic farmhouse fashion, this 287-acre lot is the epitome of bucolic bliss. With its gorgeous lakeside views and idyllic fields, the property offers a pastoral refuge filled with rich greenery and blooming orchards.” 

In all seriousness, I sincerely cannot think of a single location that parallels the natural beauty of the farm. FFEAT meets from 4 to 6 pm, so we finish our work just as the sun begins its slow descent and everything is bathed in the loveliest, most ethereal glow. Paired with the ombré reds and oranges of the trees, the farm is virtually indistinguishable from a Van Gogh landscape. 

If you remain unconvinced by the farm’s aesthetic value, perhaps a description of our daily undertakings will successfully convert you into a devout patron of all things FFEAT. Working on the farm means participating in a balanced mix of wholesome tasks and rewarding labor. We spend our afternoons visiting orchards; picking apples and pears; harvesting tomatoes, zucchini, squash, potatoes, eggplants, and beans; and collecting eggs from the hen-house. While these activities are inherently fulfilling (I say this with 100% sincerity: you have not lived until you’ve felt the dopamine hit that accompanies bean shilling), FFEAT is made all the more enjoyable by the community you share it with. There is a surprising amount of bonding that occurs when you’re digging for potatoes with other people. Everyone at the farm is bound by a shared commitment and genuine appreciation for nature. 

I hate to follow in the footsteps of the school’s recent anti-technology crusade, but let’s be real: Hotchkiss is hard. Our devices carry us through the brunt of it. We spend most of our time glued to our screens, grinding out that essay due next period or watching a viral TikTok we missed during class. And for most of us, the principles that govern our life at school — that is, competition and academic validation — spill over to our co-curriculars. Enter FFEAT. Whereas the rest of our lives reward all-nighters and unsustainable study habits, the farm teaches a different kind of discipline. In a world increasingly dominated by the virtual and the ephemeral, FFEAT encourages a learned appreciation for tangible reward and wholesome discovery. 

I’m not saying that you should drop everything and join the #FarmerLife. Farming isn’t for everyone: if you dislike the outdoors, harbor an irrational fear of vegetables, or hate being happy, I certainly advise you to avoid FFEAT at all costs. But if you’re searching for a fulfilling form of educational enrichment or really need to fill that spring co-curricular slot, I strongly urge you to give Hotchkiss’s most enjoyable team a chance. I promise you won’t regret it.

Shaye Lee is a staff writer for The Record.

November 16th

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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