In recent years, it has come to light how few of today’s youth understand where their food comes from. Mary Stewart believes this gap in knowledge should be filled with a genuine farm experience.
Mary grew up on a dairy farm in Pylesville and now works her own land — Fawn View Farm — right next door with her husband, Greg.
“I love agriculture and the lifestyle, and growing up on a farm was amazing,” Mary says. She is thrilled to be able to continue that tradition with her three children (with one more on the way) and is enjoying finding creative ways to share her passion with the public.
“My whole purpose in this venture is to get people out onto a working farm ... There’s so many questions about where food is coming from these days, so I want to be a part of that conversation.”
To help teach young people, she has recently expanded into agricultural education, welcoming youth for tours of the farm or hosting events such as birthday parties, complete with hayrides and the chance to feed a young calf.
“Even though they are having fun … we’re also talking about the corn that’s growing and the equipment that is being used … so when they leave here they have something they can take away.”
Aided by her background in public relations and marketing, she is now working to further expand the farm’s offerings for adults.
She has already hosted events like bridal showers at the farm and is now introducing a series of health-related activities.
The classes are described on the Fawn View website: “Creating a fun, fresh air filled, kid friendly place for moms/ladies of all ages to socialize, exercise and have some “Me-Time”! Now offering Adult Yoga & Zumba! Fawn View Farm is partnering with two very talented young women to offer each of these classes. Kids are welcome and can play with the farm animals or out on the playground.”
Yoga instructor Erin Healey Leach, of Bel Air, teaches in a number of area yoga studios under the moniker Mama Bear Yoga. She and Mary are both part of the online Northern Harford County Moms Group.
“I saw she posted about Mama Bear Yoga and I said, ‘That’s perfect. That’s my demographic — young families,’ so I reached out to her and she said, ‘Yeah, that sounds great.’”
Erin says her class will be appropriate for all levels, from those who are new to yoga to experienced practitioners.
Natalie Cardwell will be teaching zumba classes of her own for the first time at Fawn View Farm. “My instructor that I’m a student under has let me teach in her classes for the past few months … but I’ve been doing zumba and enjoying it for five or six years.”
Zumba classes will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday mornings, from July 8 to Aug. 12. Natalie will be teaching in a large farm warehouse with concrete floors and a sound system.
She says zumba is a fun workout that can be easily modified.
“That’s something I’ll stress in my class — if you don’t like a move, if you have an injury, if you’re just not physically able, you can tailor it to your own abilities.”
The huge space can hold any number of participants. Individual classes will cost $7, while the price for all six classes will be $30.
Yoga takes place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday evenings, June 25 to Aug. 27. Classes are held in a restored barn, with cows underneath. “You don’t know that they are there. You can’t hear them, or smell them,” Erin says. “It’s a beautiful old barn. Really, really cool.”
It is likely yoga will sometimes be held outside. “It’s wide open fields back there and I’ve got a playground set up for the kids ... If the weather is nice it could be really neat to take it out into the meadow," Mary says. "The cows are out there, too, plus the sunsets are amazing.”
Yoga will be limited to a max of 30 participants, at a price of $15 for drop-ins or $60 for the full six weeks.
Make a day of it
There is also the potential for class participants to turn the experience into a day trip, with attractions like Eden Mill Nature Center and Fiore Winery practically right next door.
“There is a lot going on up here and a lot of people that live in places like Bel Air love to get out and do the parks and farms,” Mary says.
She says Fawn View Farm is along a number of ice cream trails and wine trails, as well as near a couple of breweries and Rock State Park.
“It could be an amazing family day.”
Mary has some additional events in the works, including a farm-to-table fundraiser and a DIY gourd craft activity. Like Fawn View Farms on Facebook or visit www.fawnviewfarm.com to stay up to date with her latest endeavors.