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
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:
Various herbs, including basil, parsley, oregano, mints
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 2013 CSE trip was to New Mexico, where we investigated several themes, water management in a water-poor area, administration of public park land, effects of climate change on civilizations, and, intertwined throughout, the way the history of the many cultures in the region shape the present state of affairs.
Rio Grande and Water
Early in the trip. We spent a morning with Albion Geology Field camp alumna Page Pegram, now with the Office of the State Engineer’s Interstate Water commission. Page met us in the bosque along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque and explained some of the complexities of complying with interstate water agreements, protecting endangered species and conserving as much water as possible for New Mexico residents.
Native American History and Cultures
Our look at the long and important history of Native Americans began with a visit to the Chaco Culture National Historic Park, arguably the most fabulous archeological site in North America and also one of the most enigmatic. Real questions persist, with discussion of both how the civilization flourished in such a demanding environment and why the area was ultimately abandoned. The relationships among people, culture and climate are central to this discussion. We also visited Bandelier National Monument where more recent Pueblo cliff dwellings are well preserved, and Sky City at Acoma Pueblo, where modern descendants of the Chacoans still live in the longest continuously inhabited community in the country. Finally, we visited the Four Corners Power Plant, one of the most polluting plants in the nation, and considered the complex relationship between the plant and the Navajo Nation, in which it is located.
"I don't know of any other program that offers such a diverse curriculum and wide range of hands-on experiences. We offer three majors and two concentrations so that students are prepared for a variety of career options when they graduate, and we develop the skills necessary for them to be effective leaders."
Tim’s Best Advice
"Get involved! There are so many opportunities for you to make an impact. Students who find the time to be involved in projects have no problem finding their way into meaningful careers."
Why Tim loves being the Center’s Director
"I enjoy talking to prospective students about the opportunities our program offers, working with students on projects like the Student Farm, and following the careers of our alumni. It’s deeply rewarding. Some of the most interesting things I have seen in my life have been on our field trips."
On his favorite class field trip
"While in Oregon, we hiked the Cascade Mountains, studied sustainable urban development in Portland, looked at ecological research and forest management in the Andrews Experimental Forest, found inspiration in organic farms, spent a day discussing coastal zone management issues with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and embarked on two scenic train rides on the Empire Builder."
Our field trips are significant because…
"Students are given an opportunity to actually experience different ecosystems of the U.S. They get to see the environmental issues that are happening and get to speak with professionals that are working to resolve them. Friendships and memories are formed on these trips that will last a lifetime."
During a May trip to New Mexico, CSE students learned about arid-land agriculture at the Pueblo Bonito Great House in Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They also looked at modern-day energy challenges at a coal-fired power plant and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Albion College celebrates a Year of Sustainability in 2013-14.