The Sustainable Agriculture Project

The Sustainable Agriculture Project


Some students were like ‘hey we want to have an organic farm on campus’ because they learned about food, i’m sure they watched food inc. saw all the horrors about food. It was really plats and from there it just started to grow and more and more students started to come and volunteer, they were more interested. Last year we put up the first hoop house and this year we put up the second hoop house and I think the goal is to keep expanding it every year little by little. There’s something here that I think students connect with, in really tangible ways, and thats not to say they don’t connect with all sorts of other things, this is not to say it’s isolated in that sense, but we put up a hoop house and all of the sudden there was excitement oh my word there this hoop house, there’s this stricture, their growing year round. Well things changed but not that much changed before we put up the hoop house from after, and ye everything has changed because the perception of this is now, oh this is successful, this is a successful indever. It’s such a wholesome thing to do to be out here, your working with your hands, your interacting with people socially, building a greenhouse? That’s not easy. This started as a community garden, a few years ago and now it’s just exploded We sold some food at the farmers market, some students did some research projects, we had some classes out here, then all of the sudden it was like, oh ya this is legitimate, this is important, this is valuable. While this is about food and farming and agro-ecoligy and kind of addressing the injustices in the agro-foods system, it’s also about transforming how we see ourselves and how we see culture. This is a place where a bunch of people can come and just congregate and have that sense of community and its great that we’re working for a common goal, and you know the common goal being developing sustainable lifestyles. Students today are really concerned with questions of ecological well-being with the challenge of developing a sustainable communities, with the opportunity and challenge that we face of transforming the balance of relationship that exist in many of our communities. Students want that to find practical ways of improve equality of life in their own places, and the work of SAP really makes a significant contribution to that. What matters is what types of students we are producing, and for me this wont be a success when it’s a farm thats running really well, I think it’ll be a success when it provides a context for students to have that transformational education I’m less interested in what we actually do here, I’m more interested in the outcomes for students because ultimately I do care about education, that’s the most important part of it. It offers us an important opportunity which is to take seriously the challenge of integrating new insights from the fields of environmental studies and sustainable studies into the practice of this institution, so it broadens the opportunities that are available for students to think about how they want to make change in their own professional and personal lives and it gives them a new chance to explore what kind of contributions they, themselves might make to their own communities. If people come together in that community setting and their working towards that common goal, then, it’s more joyful to be together and I think that’s one of the most exciting things about this place it’s because so many people are coming together I think it’s a good place to learn, to get some hands on learning especially When you learn by doing, by actually interacting, it allows you to actually draw the connections between the real world and the content thats being covered. It’s more practical and I am able to interact and kind of get a physical understanding of what is going on When you’re in a classroom, your just so confined and when your out here its really free and open It’s another thing to have the opportunity then to take that classroom knowledge and put it into practice and start to see the connections, start to see that in the world, what we think of as separate disciplines are not in fact separate. That they’re all dimensions of the same set of problems and they are all dimensions of the same set of solutions. And the real power of the SAP is that it allows students the opportunity to explore those possibilities.

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