Planting the Seed
By MaryAlice Bitts
January 2, 2012
More than 225 faculty members, students and staff from 57 colleges and universities came to Dickinson Oct. 14 to learn about the celebrated programs at the College Farm.
They came to attend the Seeding the Future conference, a two-day event designed to help professors and staff incorporate sustainability and agriculture into the liberal-arts curriculum through college-garden and college-farm programs. It featured presentations by trailblazers in college farming, including Julia Barton ’05, a graduate fellow in the Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources, and the students and staff who work at the College Farm.
Throughout the conference, presenters explained the logistics of college farming and sustainable growth and led workshops on tilling and composting techniques. They also showed off the College Farm’s solar-powered greenhouses and yurts, pointed out the farm’s upgraded irrigation system and new educational garden for elementary-school children and demonstrated how to raise grass-fed livestock.
The ways in which students and professors have used College Farm resources to inform sustainability-education classes, faculty-student research and student projects also were explored. In addition, staff and students demonstrated how college farms can bring together the campus and community through events such as the farm’s annual Bike to the Farm dinner and Harvest Fest.
Attendees enjoyed local and sustainable meals in the Social Hall and kicked up some fun at a Friday-night hoedown featuring local brews and dancing. A few even pitched tents and camped out on the grounds.