Monday, November 26, 2012

Cornercopia: U of MN Student Organic Farm

If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about the farm check out
On October 30th I went and volunteered some time out at the student organic farm its located on the north west end of the Saint Paul campus.  The farm currently is home to 2.3 acres of certified organic soil.  

The compost piles
 The farm has a small shed to hold its tools, two new high tunnels that will be used for some winter growing research this coming winter, a few bins of compost piles.  Also I was told that during the summer the farm also housed some chickens and rabbits, however both were gone this late in the season.  

Dinosaur Kale

When I got there almost the last day in October the farm looked a little sparse but there was some heartier fall crops that were still scattered around the fields.  Some delicious dinosaur kale caught my eye, as well as some green cabbage that was in the second field back.

They don't look to pretty on the outside!

For my volunteering I got to harvest beans.  The beans was a research project done by Tom Michaels who is a professor in horticultural science.  There was plenty of beans left over from his study and he gifted it to the student farm.  It was amazing the variety of beans that were out there. 

But it was a surprise to open each pod and see the varieties!

This fall I have been experiencing a significant food transition.  I have always been interested in eating local, sustainable, organic food if I can. But I would not completely translate that with my dollar. That is up until now, between this class and Food Choices a class offered through the center of spirituality and healing I have been exposed to a large amount of evidence that I need to advocate my opinions and beliefs by purchasing food that supports and represents my views.   I have focused on eating organic for quite sometime now eating local and seasonal is my new goal.
I think volunteering at the farm is a great way to start to get involved in our local campus food system.  Gaining experience and understanding for what other systems are like and what challenges they face trying to be in a food system that may not necessarily be built to handle.   Healthy food starts with healthy soil and farming and gardening are the base for any sustainable food system that is needed in our society. 

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