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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.

Student Workers

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
  • Watermelons
  • Various herbs, including basil, parsley, oregano, mints
  • Onions 
  • 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:

  • Weeding
  • Composting
  • Planting and cultivating crops


Faculty and Staff

Principal Investigator

Beth LincolnBeth Lincoln

Office: Palenske 120
Phone: 517/629-0331


Ronney Mourad, professor of religious studies and department chair at Albion CollegeRonney Mourad
Religious Studies

Office: 211 Vulgamore
Phone: 517/629-0354

Steering Committee

Lynne ChytiloLynne Chytilo
Art and Art History

Office: Bobbitt Visual Arts Center
Phone: 517/629-0373

gueninlellemourad2Dianne Guenin-Lelle
Professor of French
Modern Languages and Cultures

Office: 117 Vulgamore Hall
Phone: 517/629-0335

Allison Harnish, Anthropology/SociologyAllison Harnish
Assistant Professor

Office: Robinson 310
Phone: 517-629-0272

Beth LincolnBeth Lincoln

Office: Palenske 120
Phone: 517/629-0331

Ian MacInnes, Chair and Professor, English DepartmentIan MacInnes
Department Chair and Professor

Office: Vulgamore 311
Phone: 517/629-0259

Bindu Madhok, chair and professor, Albion College Philosophy DepartmentBindu Madhok
Department Chair and Professor

Office: Vulgamore Hall, Room 209
Phone: 517/629-0338

Ronney Mourad, professor of religious studies and department chair at Albion CollegeRonney Mourad
Religious Studies

Office: 211 Vulgamore
Phone: 517/629-0354

Clayton Parr, assistant professor of music, Albion CollegeClayton ParrAssociate Professor

Office: T-1, Goodrich Chapel
Phone: 517-629-0251

Gregg Strand - Director of Corporate and Foundation RelationsGregg Strand
Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations
Institutional Advancement

Office: 3rd Floor Ferguson
Phone: 517/629-0510

John Woell, associate provost and professor of philosophy, Albion CollegeJohn Woell
Associate Provost

Phone: 517/629-0776

Humanities and Arts Labs

Creating hands-on learning experiences in the arts and humanities is the centerpiece of a new program at Albion College, funded by a substantial grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Through this generous grant, faculty, students, and outside partners will develop a series of collaborative symposia and workshops focused upon the applied nature of laboratory experimentation within the arts and humanities disciplines. According to Professor of English Ian MacInnes, “Students will be challenged to move from being observers and consumers of the arts and humanities to being active participants in the disciplines’ intellectual work.”

Pilot labs will link together several groups of courses in the 2015 spring and fall semesters. Students in these lab courses will use the knowledge they gain in the classroom to initiate projects that are collaborative, experiential, experimental, and publicly engaging.

Two of the labs are specific to the local Albion community, whereas the other two explore broader themes that are applicable to a larger audience. President Mauri Ditzler sees the creation of these labs as an opportunity to highlight the potential within our arts and humanities departments. “More broadly, the lab model will cultivate a sense of shared purpose and a deeper understanding of the value of the arts and humanities in our community, in America and throughout the world,” says Ditzler.

What exactly does an arts and humanities lab look like?

The Spring 2015 pilot labs listed below provide a better understanding of this important initiative.

Creating Sustainable Communities

Students will embark on field trips and participate in guest lectures in an attempt to understand the different types of sustainable communities that exist. After exploring different types of sustainable communities, students will determine how these models can be applied to the local Albion community, while also examining how the arts and humanities play a role in that vision.

Participating Classes: Art 346, Color Photography; Anthropology 271, Nature and Society: An Introduction to Ecological Anthropology; Philosophy 301, Environmental Ethics; and Art History 315, Earth Art and the Environment.

Race and Representation

Participants will analyze the various forms of racism, the power that is gained from it, and the strategies used to resist it. While studying the broader subject of racism, students will narrow their focus by evaluating a set of lithographs and documenting their historical relevance within the context of racism. They will use the information they collect to develop an online art gallery and participate in a joint symposium.

Participating Classes: English 151, Introduction to Literary Study: Literature of the American South; English 351, Four American Poets; History 289, Curating Controversy: Creating a Digital Exhibit of Racist Images; History 243, African American History from 1865-2015; and Ethnic Studies 270, Hip Hop and Social Change.

Albion Accelerator: A Space for Creative Innovation and Collaboration

Students will be provided with the opportunity to brainstorm the creation of a multi-use "maker space" in downtown Albion. By conducting a feasibility study, students will determine what would be necessary to establish facility that promotes making, thinking, writing, and collaborating. The Albion Accelerator will foster interaction among community members, Albion College students and faculty, and recent graduates. Students will work on creating a facility that caters to the needs and interests of the people of Albion while adapting to the ever-changing needs of the community.

Participating Classes: Art 361, Advanced Ceramics; Art History 317, Art and Theory; and Economics and Management 305, Women in Business and Leadership.

Encountering Food

Students will encounter food that is local and global, and contemporary and ancient through a series of projects and field trips.Students will meet in small groups to share and exchange ideas based upon what aspect of food they're studying and how it has enhanced their cultural awareness. The lab will end with a community dinner that is researched, prepared, and served by participating students. Attendees will be entertained with music and reflections describing each student’s unique food encounters.

Participating Classes: English 389, Wild Things: The Literature of Wilderness and the Wild, Anthropology 240, Ancient Civilizations, French 330, French Louisiana: Cajun and Creole Experiences, Music 132, Briton Singers.

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