The UMass Student Farming Enterprise is a student-led initiative that manages 14 acres of land and grows 35 different crops using ecologically sound practices. They supply UMass Dining with over 46 tons of ultra local, fresh, and organic vegetables every year- grown for students, by students. Working with the Student Farm helps UMass Dining meet many sustainability goals, such as decreasing food miles, reducing food waste, and increasing local and sustainable menu items. UMass Dining tries to purchase "imperfect" produce from the Student Farm to prevent their carefully grown veggies from going to waste. Produce from the Student Farm is featured in all four Dining Commons, at the weekly Student Farmers’ Market on Goodell Lawn, and at the new Student Farm Stand in Harvest Market.
However, their commitment to community reaches far beyond their fields. “Good food isn’t a guarantee,” Student Farmer Rebekah Klaver points out. Many people in our local community are food insecure, and businesses like the Student Farming Enterprise make quality organic food more accessible. Student Farmer Amanda Skriloff finds purpose in “providing something that everybody needs. Everybody needs food to survive and being part of that system is really meaningful.” The Student Farm and similar organizations that empower young farmers to provide sustainable, affordable, healthy food for our communities is imperative to the future of our environment, our food system, and generations to come.
The Student Farmers all send their thanks to their supporters in the community and everyone who has bought something they have grown. They urge anyone reading this to “Get your hands dirty- it will really change how you think about food and where it is coming from.”
Interested in becoming a Student Farmer?
The application for the 2018 UMass Student Farm Program is now open until November 1st! To apply, or for more information, click here.
Photo Credits: Keith Toffling.