From farm to pantry: A look into the University farm and B-Eats pantry

Tyne Miller, Contributing Writer

The University Farm: Get Your Hands Dirty

Nestled beside the senior apartments and behind the football stadium is a small farm that grows rich food for University students and Lewisburg residents. The farm lives on the top of a hill and holds one of the most beautiful views on campus. The sprawling mountains and foliage enclose one side of the garden while the University campus stands on the other side.

The farm provides the setting for many sports teams, clubs and organizations to strengthen their team dynamic. For instance, Both men’s and women’s tennis experienced the hard work that farming takes last fall. Women’s tennis uprooted, cleaned and washed hundreds of potatoes. Daniela Bellini ’22 enjoyed participating in farm work with her team. Bellini “helped with various tasks, such as pulling the potatoes out of the ground and washing produce.” The team bonded over the delegated tasks and worked together to ready freshly grown potatoes for the larger University community. Hard work, communication and brute strength were all necessary skills for this project.

Men’s tennis spent hours clearing weeds and rolling them away. “The experience was truly interesting at least for me, because unlike the rest of the team, this had been my first time volunteering at the farm and tending to these natural areas,”  Tim Zelikovsky ’24 said. Similar to Bellini, Zelikovsky gained more skills and knowledge from his time at the farm.  “We learned about the invasive species of weeds that ravaged certain areas at the Bucknell farm and why it was important to remove them. We also learned that the majority of the food donated to the community comes from the Bucknell farm, which is why it’s so important to look after it and tend to the farm’s wonderful natural resources,” he said.

Bellini also visited the farm in a more academic setting with her Biology 208 class. “My ecology lab section went to the farm to collect goldenrod galls while also being told to look around and take notes of anything interesting we saw for a post lab write-up,” Bellini shared. She commented that during her time at the farm, she “learned that the food at the farm goes to the Bucknell pantry and that they are using regenerative farming techniques to try and make the surrounding environment better off than before rather than harming it.”

The Visionaries of the Farm

Jen Partica, Director of the Bucknell Farm, began working on the farm during its creation in 2018. “I love working in a community with students to plant and grow trees and crops. It is a beautiful space, and it is wonderful to see so many people visit the Farm just to get outside,” Partica said.

Patrica says that the farm is open to everyone and encourages all to come “The farm is part of campus, and is always open to anyone to visit. If you want to lend a hand, we will soon be starting our regular farm hours on Wednesdays and Saturdays,” shared Patrica.

The farm does not only require hard work and labor, as there are many relaxing activities available as well. “Students can walk the labyrinth, hang out on log seats near the pine trees, use the picnic tables by the shed for homework or small group study, take a walk, birdwatch, watch the sunrise or sunset, have a picnic. If you want to reserve the farm or the firepit for an event, students can do that through the Events Management room reservation website,” Partica said.

As experienced by Bellini and Zelikovsky, the farm teaches students many lessons about nature, hard work and sustainability. Partica recognizes that “there is so much you can learn at the farm. I think students will learn the most by joining Farm Hours. We teach sustainable agriculture. Students learn about the ecosystem, food and social justice and how farming impacts climate change. We also build community and students have fun getting to know each other and spend time together outside.”

The farm is not by any means complete. The more students help out, the faster it grows and the more it helps the University community. When asked how she hopes the farm will continue to grow, Patrica answered, “We have done a lot in the past three years, but I still see so much more we can do with the farm! I would like to see the orchard develop and the food forest too. I think we’ll do a lot with the orchard this spring and the food forest in the fall.” 

B-Eats: Pantry for All 

Students can also try and obtain the produce first hand by visiting the B-Eats Food Pantry. Most of the food from the Farm, like a portion of the potatoes Women’s Tennis picked, are brought directly to the B-Eats Food Pantry where students can share in the rich produce. The B-Eats Food Pantry is run by the Dean of Students Office and open to students “in need of a nutritious meal” (bucknell.edu). The pantry is located in Room 211 in the Elaine Langone Center (ELC) and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For those of you who haven’t already gotten the chance to, now is the perfect time to spend a few hours at the Bucknell Farm and take a browse at the B-Eats Pantry with the warmer spring weather coming!

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