Maggie Stonecash is a Dickinson alum who was able to witness the College Farm’s transition from a garden into a fully functioning farm in Boiling Springs. At Dickinson, Maggie studied Sociology and Gender Studies while working at the garden until she graduated in 2008. Her senior year the garden became a farm and she stuck around as a farm apprentice after graduation. During her apprenticeship she helped build the iconic yurts that have housed apprentices since then. One of her favorite farm memories is bracing the cold of the yurts in October and November with her fellow apprentices. One of her proudest moments of her apprenticeship is being on the cover of Newsweek.
After the apprenticeship ended, Maggie moved into educational work. She stayed in the area and started a job at a local alternative school. There she had the opportunity to work with adolescent girls with emotional and behavioral challenges. She eventually went on to complete a master’s in special education at Shippensburg University. In addition to a master’s, Maggie also became a registered yoga teacher. She continued to teach for another eight years, incorporating yoga and mindfulness into her lessons.
In addition to mindfulness and yoga, Maggie has also strived to include the value of food and the land in her teachings after she gained an appreciation for food and farming as a student farmer at Dickinson. She most directly connected students to the land and their food through her work at the LEAF (Leadership, Education, and Farming) project.
Eventually, Maggie moved on to start working on her own yoga and mindfulness business which she is still running today. Her time working at the farm has influenced how she views and teaches mindfulness. As a farmer, Maggie was able to make a deep connection with her environment and develop a sense of mindfulness needed in the process of growing food.
“I still remember how healing and grounding it was a stressed college student to go to the garden, get outside, and work with my hands in the dirt. The natural environment continues to be one of my favorite ways to de-stress. I have found that the natural environment is one of the most direct routes to developing mindfulness. As a mindfulness instructor, one of my goals is to help people to be aware of their sensory experience and observers of the world around them and inside of them.”
Maggie’s work at the farm has also influenced her personal life. She still enjoys spending time outdoors trail running, hiking with her dog, and gardening. Her love for the local food system that started back when she was a student farmer still influences her today. Maggie strives to make sure her daughter and stepsons gain an appreciation and awareness of where their food comes from. Although she is no longer farming, she still supports the Central PA agricultural community through being a CSA member and an avid Farmers Market Shopper.