About Fox Haven
Dick Bittner: Farm Manager, Photographer
Dick has spent most of his life close to farming and the farm community here in Frederick County. Born, raised, and educated through high school in northern Frederick County. His college degrees in engineering at the Johns Hopkins University led him to work for seventeen years assisting doctors at the Johns Hopkins Hospital where he designed, built, and tested research instrumentation for medical professionals. A second career in sales of Farms and Lands led Dick to assist in the formation of the tract of land that is now named Fox Haven Organic Farm (FHOF). His third career as farm manager at FHOF allows him to pull from all aspects of his life to make FHOF work best, in a natural way to produce food for the betterment of all who visit his natural outdoor
JoAnn Coates-Hunter: Education and Operations Director
JoAnn’s hope for Fox Haven is that we continue to offer respite, opportunities for learning, discussion, reflection, and play in sacred space on the farm. If everyone leaves the farm with a new understanding of self, nature, and our inter-dependency and connection she is happy. If everyone leaves with an action that they will take – be it a new gardening or farming technique, an energy saving act in the home/school/business/farm, a letter or phone call made to a business or governmental body, or a plan for a community garden or food and nutrition program, all the better!
JoAnn has over 30 years of experience in outdoor and indoor education, administration, and mentoring. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Earlham College and School of Religion, and holds a teaching certificate from Brown University.
Lacey Walker: Community Garden Manager, Program Coordinator, Teacher
Lacey Walker manages the education garden and builds community programs at Fox Haven Learning Center, but considers her true career to be that of a lifelong student. Her studies include herbalism, farm based education for adults and children, plant based cuisine, meditation, caring for and expanding the troop of ferment “children” she raises for gut health, the science of soil and composting, the mysterious life of companion plants, monthly wanderings to new corners of the country and the indispensable, incomparable joy of community potlucking.
Lacey engages with her passion for writing by authoring Fox Haven’s monthly contribution to The Environment is You in the Frederick News Post and can sometimes be seen toting her camera around, a throwback to her time in art school pursuing a BFA in Photography at Shepherd University. More often these days she likes to keep her hands free for playing in the dirt.
Jan Hummer: Networking Mananger, Mindfulness Specialist, Teacher
Jan grew up in Middletown, MD and always had a strong connection to the natural world. She has created contemplative nature – based programs for all ages and abilities in Maryland, West Virginia, and Colorado. Jan holds a Masters degree in Contemplative Education from Naropa University. She is the Co – Founder /Director of Open Minds, Inc. ( non – profit), a mindfulness education program serving counties in western and mid Maryland. Jan volunteers for different organizations focusing on social change. Jan is also the mother of 9-year old Delia Ayn. You will find her hiking, writing, meditating, reading, when not playing with her daughter.
Phil Westcott: Composting Wizard and Technical Administrator
After many years working as a photographer for land management agencies throughout the country, Phil is excited to return to the Jefferson area to continue his work with conservation and the environment. He is a graduate of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia where he studied Photography and got introduced to conservation and education through the Fish and Wildlife’s National Conservation Training Center. After attending the “Neighborhood Soil Rebuilder” course with the Institute for Local Self Reliance (I.L.S.R) in 2015, Phil has been avidly researching soil biology and composting science. In the coming years, he hopes to educate and create new solutions for composting within our community.
The Land at Fox Haven
Here, in the low, folded hills of Maryland, on the doorstep of our nation’s capitol, a dream is coming true. It is a dream in service to the future, a life-sustaining future where the land is restored and true community arises. The harvest they promise includes not only ecological practices reinvigorating soil and waterways and woodlands. It is to be reckoned as well in what happens to the men and women who come to Fox Haven, to look and learn. As they step aside from daily pressures, nature will speak to them, reminding them of their embeddedness in the web of life. Systems thinking will take on fresh, sensory, reality, as they discern and begin to trust the flowing cycles of the natural world. And as they choose to take part in the great adventure that is Fox haven, I believe they will find new hope for their lives and for our country. – Joanna Macy
Voices of the Land
In the following pages Fox Haven speaks to us of her dreams and of her losses and invites us to join in the ongoing dance of creation, neither as a caretaker nor a master but as a participating partner. Her voice is more than a literary device. It is symbolic of a profound shift in perspective that is occurring—the emergence of an ecological model of reality. At a time when our relationship with our planet seems increasingly destructive, this model holds out new hope for understanding how we can harmonize human activities with the continuing regeneration of life on our planet even as we continue to develop our potential as humans. Fox Haven extends an invitation to consciously try on this alternative perspective, explore its implications and experience oneself as simultaneously a creator in and a creation of the dance of life. It is an exploration that begins but does not end with Fox Haven.
It is one thing to describe a new model of reality but how does that translate into our day-to-day thinking and behavior? The reassuring certainty of reductive, linear thinking has been exposed as fundamentally inadequate for comprehending the complexity of a living world in which “everything is connected to everything”. As the picture of an ecological world unfolds, we are gaining increasing appreciation for the wisdom of nature as it generates, regenerates and sustains life. But, despite growing recognition of the inadequacies of our old models, they are still predominant forces in shaping our thinking. Linear thinking is valued for its problem solving effectiveness, but it bars us from seeing the systemic context of our efforts and, consequently, their systemic consequences. Only through systemic thinking can we learn from and apply this wisdom.
For a deeper exploration of the land at Fox Haven, download voices of the land.