The Student Farm provides students with the opportunity to manage and operate a small, efficient organic vegetable farm for a full year. Student Farmers study organic agriculture and learn how to operate a streamlined, sustainable business in the classroom while directly applying what they learn to their work in the fields. As Student Farmer from UMass Amherst Rebekah Kalver explained, “It’s the only program here that you can get real hands-on experience running a farm.” Students from any of the Five Colleges or from any major can work for the Student Farm, but many students that join the program study agriculture and want to become farmers. Trevor Brown, a Student Farmer majoring in Sustainable Food and Farming, wants to have a farm in the future and "what better way to learn how than doing this?” All of the Student Farmers speak enthusiastically about their experience and agree that the program has changed them after just one year of participation.
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.