Coronavirus Update: Washington College responds to coronavirus outbreak. More Info

Eastern Shore Food Lab

River and Field Campus Outpost

Before our current era of premade building materials, ready-made houses, and prefabricated tools, when humans moved to a new area, we had to create all of our own shelter and tools and grow our own food.

The skills needed to “start from scratch” have slowly been lost to us as we grow more and more accustomed to having all the jobs required for our survival outsourced to other people. The ESFL outpost reintroduces lost skills and helps people to better understand and appreciate what it takes to support each human by serving as a functioning homestead that creates context through hands-on learning, teaching, connection, and research.


Construct, over time, a model pioneering community on the River and Field Campus. This main outpost would have capacity for people to live on a permanent basis, and to have other rotating guests who could attend classes and view demonstrations. The outpost will be self-sufficient through food production by means of permaculture and animal husbandry, tool production by way of blacksmithing and casting iron, clothes production, basic boat building. Campus will grow to include permanent living facilities, kitchen spaces, food storage using a root cellar, a barn, a fully equipped smithy, classroom facilities, a smoke house and hide tanning facilities, boat/canoe building dock, and clothes making facilities. Through use of permaculture techniques, the campus will have a sustainable permanent food supply, with enough excess to sell to the community. Animals raised will include chickens, pigs, and goats, with the possibility of sheep and cattle depending on the availability of feed in the environment.

Long-term Goals

  • Full-time staff living on campus
  • Multi-day overnight workshops available
  • Village entirely self-sufficient
  • Training for members of the ESFL to start more outposts across the country
  • Provide community with sustainably grown and raised food

First steps

  • Establish basic shelters at RAFC
  • Begin mushroom cultivation
  • Begin training in wildcrafting and survival techniques
  • Observe plants present in environment and begin identifying what can be added to improve yield and improve soil health