Written by CORC student worker, Andy DeIuliis F09
While Felix Lufkin 04F studied at Hampshire College, he explored as many interests as his heart desired. However, he kept coming back to nature education and the relationship between humans and the non-human world. In his Division III, these passions took the form of teaching kids about nature in three different 7-12 schools and helping them start a large forest garden on the school grounds.
After graduation, Felix continued these projects in the Valley and created a multitude of other innovative projects related to the connection between people and nature. With the collaboration of other local Hampshire alums, Felix founded Ape & Ape Inc. Up for hire, its services include teaching and assisting in conscientious butchering, garden and landscaping design, and cob oven building. Felix also helped found a small cottage industry called Acorn Kitchen, which brings fresh and preserved wild foods to farmers markets in the valley. Still in the works as it begins this fall, Felix’s newest project, Help Yourself!, brings community members together in planting fruit trees open to the public to pick.
Most of his projects evolved from networking with Hampshire alum and other community members while living in Northampton. Said Felix, “I have tried to network with other folks and projects going on in the valley, and found that my most meaningful and fruitful efforts come from spontaneous connections made through networking, happenstance, and desire to manifest projects that I wish had been around when I was a student.” He encourages current Hampshire students to seek his help in connecting with farms, projects, and mentors in the area. He said he would also be happy to collaborate with Hampshire students on independent studies or internships in butchering, wild foraging, permaculture, and nature education.
Lufkin ended our conversation with pieces of advice for Hampshire students. He urges them to explore the rich wilderness Hampshire is surrounded by, from nearby trails to swimming holes. In the few short years students are here, he said it is very meaningful to build a relationship with the land, plants and animals, in addition to the buildings, staff, and other students at Hampshire. Like himself, he also hopes other students make the most out of Hampshire’s flexible academics to explore as many interests and off campus activities as possible. “Don’t be afraid to jump into something for a whole semester and explore its depth, and then switch tracks next semester.”