Freewoods Farm

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Cane Mill
Cane Mill

Freewoods is a 40-acre living farm museum replicating life on small southern family farms owned and/or operated by African Americans between 1865-1900. The Freewoods project has the following primary goals: (1) to develop a comprehensive, hands-on educational program emphasizing life on small animal/human-powered farms operated by African Americans; (2) to provide public education on the importance of small family farms to the economic prosperity of the state and nation; and (3) to promote tourism and minority economic development.

The Freewoods living farm museum consists of three educational experiences: the Freewoods Farm, a Wetlands Preserve and a Main Street. Freewoods Farm is the centerpiece of the attraction. Authentic farm methods, tools, crops, animals, and buildings of the period are used to replicate life on the animal-powered farm. Workers use mules and plows to cultivate, cook with wood, make syrup and soap, and harvest crops by hand. The farm consists of tilled fields, grazing land, and farm buildings of the period, such as the main farmhouse, a smokehouse, a tool shed, and livestock, tobacco and storage barns. While Freewoods celebrates the small southern farm owned and operated by African Americans, it is also representative of all small farms throughout the South.

Wetlands were a vital part of farm life during the period between 1865-1900. Indeed some newly freed slaves were able to acquire land only because it was wetlands and thus deemed unsuitable for farming. Wetlands, however, enriched the farms in many ways and continue to be a vital part of our ecology. The Wetlands Preserve highlight the value and functions of wetlands as it relates to the ecological balance of the farm. The nexus between farms and wetlands, like the nexus between wetlands and the environment, are brought to light.

The third component of the Freewoods experience is Main Street. Main Street, the place in rural America where all segments of the population came together, was the political and economic nerve center of rural America. Freewoods will re-create a rural main street of the era with shops, a farmers market, restaurants, and cultural sites.

 Copyright 2009, Freewoods Foundation

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