Farm Sustainability Festival 2018

University hosts first festival to celebrate new farm on campus

Genevieve Block, Contributing Writer

The University hosted the Farm Sustainability Festival on Oct. 17 on the southwest corner of campus. The event took place at the University Farm in partnership with the Office of Campus Sustainability. The festival was open to students and faculty as well as the public, offering snacks such as fresh apples, fresh apple cider, and salads made of ingredients from the local Lewisburg Community Garden. Additionally, there was a ceremony, speakers, music, and a tour of the new farm spaces. Many student organizations also offered sustainability activities to those in attendance. Finally, the event included the planting of the first ever food crop for the University Farm: garlic.

In the winter of 2017, University President John Bravman announced that the University would be establishing a five-acre farm near the South Campus Apartments. This fall, students in the Environmental Residential College are helping to design plans for the farm. Their categories of study include a food forest, a meditation garden, an amphibian habitat, a medicinal garden, and a beneficial insect habitat. All of their work and ideas will be presented at the end of this semester at the 2018 Residential Colleges Symposium.

The main coordinators of the festival and of the University’s farm project are Associate Professor of Biology Mark Spiro and Lewisburg Community Garden Coordinator Jen Schneidman Partica. They both spoke of their anticipation to break ground on the farm and the positive impacts they believe it will have on both the University and Lewisburg communities.

“The initial response to the farm was incredible. People saw that it would be great for research, for use in the classrooms, and for residential life,” Spiro said. “It is becoming a space that is useful for many things, not just for growing. In the short period of time that this farm has been here, we’ve had over 200 students that have already been up here this semester engaging with the land.”

“We have a responsibility to tend this land in a sustainable way. We want to do this in a way that is responsible to the soil and its future,” Schneidman Partica said.

“Food is life. Humans and society have been breaking bread around the table and building society throughout history. Many people have no understanding of how their food gets to them. The fact the we’re doing this brings to light the breadth of what we mean as a liberal arts education,” President Bravman said.

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