Now that I am home again and all our holidays are behind me, my mind has shifted to thinking about school - which I'll be returning to in twenty-five days. But I am still working at Side by Side, so I started wondering about a coming together of farming and academics.
Bennington College's Sustainable Food Project was the first thing of this sort I ever came across. In 2010, students put in a proposal (read it here) to create a new student garden that would benefit everyone on campus: the students themselves, the faculty and the staff. The plot they wished to use was part of the already existing community garden. The proposal was accepted, two student interns were hired to tend the garden in the summer and the project took off. They now call their spot of ground Purple Carrot Farm.
Further North, the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine has a sustainable organic farm that is managed by COA students, staff, faculty and farm managers. Beech Hill Farm is an outlet for the students to conduct projects, designs, studies or participate in work-study time but it also serves the community. Produce is sold on site and to several eateries on Mount Desert Island, it's served in one of the college's cafes, and they also have a CSA. The seventy-three acres were donated to the college in 1999 by two alumni.
Devin worked on Fulton Farm at Wilson College and, from what I hear, gained a wealth of knowledge and experience there. (And that is, oddly enough, him in the image above. The fellow to the right.)
Most recently, my one friend who has been touring colleges in preparation for applying told me about the farm at Dickinson College. It's sixty acres several miles off campus. A large part of the (certified organic) harvest is served in the dinning halls, but they also have a CSA (Campus Supported Agriculture) that has over a hundred and thirty members in the community and they sell their produce at local markets and restaurants, plus they donate some to Project SHARE. Beyond the veggies, they also have animal life: sheep, cattle, and hens. The students are a major part of this operation; they can work, intern, volunteer, or incorporate it into their academic work.
This is by no means an exhaustive list; these are merely the farms at schools I've come across. There are many, many more all over the country. And that's encouraging, really.