As the only African-American historical living farm museum in the United States, Freewoods Farm exists to recognize and perpetuate the many contributions of African-American farmers to the development of agriculture in this country. Situated just a short drive from the ocean on 40-acres of land in the Burgess community of Myrtle Beach, Freewoods offers hands-on education, documentation, and preservation of the activities and practices of the small family farm structure that defined the African-American way of life for hundreds of years. The land is divided up into three different educational experiences – Freewoods farm, Wetlands Preserve, and Main Street – with each of them displaying essential components of the small farm community. The farm itself is a complete and authentic replication of the small farms owned by African-Americans during the period of 1865 – 1900. Among the elements that have been replicated are farming methods, tools, crops, animals, and buildings. Workers (including volunteers) at the non-profit organization use mules and plows, harvest crops by hand, cook over wood-fires, and make soaps and syrups. Wetlands became an important part of the equation when they were distributed to newly-freed slaves, often only because the land was thought to be unsuitable for farming. However, the new owners soon discovered that they were an important part of the ecological balance. Freewoods uses this portion of their farm to highlight the importance of wetlands to the overall farm. The third part of the property, Main Street, is a re-creation of where the town’s population came together economically and politically. The historically-accurate site will feature re-creations of the shops, restaurants, farmers markets, and cultural landmarks of old Southern towns. As a non-profit, Freewoods Farm always welcomes volunteers who wish to experience the ways in which past generations lived their day-to-day lives.
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