Albion College Student Farm
The mission of the Albion College Student Farm Association is to cultivate a student-organized, all-natural, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing produce garden for the benefit of students and faculty from all academic disciplines and community members of all ages.
Using a combination of fields, a hoop house, and Three Sisters plots, the student farm grows a variety of peppers, tomatoes, green beens, onions, squash, corn, beets, and herbs at its location in the Whitehouse Nature Center.
The goals of the student farm include:
- Promote gardening as an uplifting, healthful, environmentally-friendly activity
- Experiment with organic gardening practices such as composting and planting heirloom seeds
- Raise awareness about the role of a local diet in reducing carbon footprint by offering our produce to Dining Services, student apartments, and annexes
- Help ensure equal access to nutritious food in the Albion community by donating produce to local charities
- Encourage Albion residents, especially youth, to learn about and appreciate organic gardening, become more connected with their local food system, and grow a deeper sense of community.
A group of five students started the farm during Albion’s Year of Sustainability in 2010.
The farm is a three way collaboration among Albion College's Center for Sustainability and the Environment, the Whitehouse Nature Center, and an independent student organization.
The work in the student farm is all volunteer during the school year. In the summer, the Center for Sustainability employs two interns to work half time at the farm, with the Nature Center employing them the other half of their time.
Gardens and Hoop House
The The 1,440-square-foot growhouse is a "greenhouse on wheels." The hoop house was made possible by a generous gift from the Baird family in honor of Jessica Baird’s, ’11, graduation. Jessie was one of the founding members of the student organization. The Student Senate has also supported the student organization generously over the years.
In the hoop house, student farmers grow tomatoes and a variety of peppers. Outside the hoop house, students manage Three Sisters plots (corn, beans, and squash), as well as:
- Winter squash
- Various herbs, including basil, parsley, oregano, mints
- Summer squash
- Green beans
How To Help
You can get involved with Albion's student farm by volunteering with the Student Farm Association, or apply to work at the student farm during the summer. Contact CSE Director Tim Lincoln for details.
The student farm needs help with:
- Planting and cultivating crops
Other Trip Details
On the trip, we also explored other issues and visited other relevant places. At the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Labs, we visited the environmental section, where experiments ranging from ways to lessen fish kills from hydroelectric turbines to studies of the potential effects of elevated global CO2 on forest growth were explained.
On another day we visited the TVA headquarters and the nearby Norris Dam, first of many hydroelectric projects which forever altered both the economy and the riparian ecology of the region.
We ended the trip with a quick visit to Berea College's Eco-village. This complex of apartments uses 75% less water and energy than conventional housing. The progressive environmental and social innovations shown by a sister College provided inspirational and up end to our trip.
On the trip we also visited Assateaque Island and Ocean city Maryland, to contrast the quiet waters of the bay with the open coast of the barrier islands, and the natural Assateaque seashore with developed Ocean City. We concluded the trip in Washington DC, where students had a day to explore the City on their own.
Everglades habitats are dominated by sawgrass prairies, the river of grass, but also include cypress domes, hardwood hammocks, sloughs and coastal mangroves. Functioning naturally, the vast reaches of sawgrass, coupled with un-confined Lake Okeechobee stored seasonal rainfall for much of the dry winter season, and allowed a vast array of wetland- dependant species to flourish. Today, with dikes, canals and roadways that act as dams, hydroperiods are drastically altered, nutrient levels are higher, and the remaining wetlands are to a large extend dependant on human-controlled flows. We can still see the habitats and most of the species, but can only read about and imagine the riotous abundance of birds and other animals that inhabited the natural Everglades.
Without question the Everglades restoration efforts are having a positive impact. We were impressed by the magnitude (and expense) of these efforts. But there is something inelegant about relying on pumps, wells and flooded rock quarries to store water that one was stored by stately flow through the Everglades. If stored water can be sent to the Everglades, it can also be sent to the urban coast. In the face of growing population and inevitable drought years, will people maintain the political will to provide for the natural areas when a literal flip of a switch can divert water to needy humans?