The Student Farm at Penn State is a diversified vegetable farm, cultivated by and for the students, right on our own campus. Did you know that everybody eats? It’s science! The Student Farm exists for all Penn Staters to engage and kale-aborate on issues impacting the sustainability of our food system.
The Class of 2018 has elected to support the Student Farm through an endowment to grow and sustain the program for years to come. In order to endow our program and provide opportunities for students and the community, we need funds to cover our increasing costs. The goal of this campaign is to raise $5,000.
The Pennsylvania State University began in 1855 as the Farmers High School of Pennsylvania and served to educate students of that era about innovative practices in agriculture. In 2018, that same inventive spirit and passion for pursuing education and healthy communities is thriving at Penn State through the Student Farm. Established in 2016 by a group of driven and enthusiastic students, the farm grows over fifty delicious varieties of produce for the campus dining halls, Penn State-run restaurants and hotels and for members of our CSA (Campus Supported Agriculture) program. Produce harvested on the Student Farm is also donated to local food pantries; just last year, over 2,000 pounds of produce was donated.
The Student Farm is so much more than a vegetable farm. It is a living laboratory for Penn Staters to come together to collaborate and learn about sustainability, agriculture, food systems, and related fields, while applying their unique passions and skills to steward our planet’s resources and ensure our health. The Student Farm is a living classroom, changing with each season, where students learn about sustainable food and agricultural systems through a combination of classroom education, hands-on experience, research, and community outreach.
Since founding, the Student Farm has:
- Grown Student Farm Club to over forty active members
- Engaged more than sixty courses across eight colleges in engaged scholarship opportunities and other course-client collaborations
- Provided paid and for-credit internship experiences to 36 students
- Launched three new food systems courses in two colleges, with the goal of creating an interdisciplinary Food Systems minor
- Hosted student-led annual events including a spring Plant Sale, a Summer Solstice celebration and a Harvest Festival that together reach up to 1,000 people per year
Some of the farm's completed projects include: a fully-functioning hydroponics system that provides lettuce for the on-campus dining halls, a cooking collaborative series to teach cooking skills to college students, research to support expansion of gleaning to increase fresh produce availability for food pantries across Centre County, leading fifty farm tours and work days each year, and more.
As interest in and involvement with the Student Farm continues to grow, the program needs increased funding to support our goals. This endowment enables the Student Farm to further expand the transformative educational experiences we provide to students, while broadening our community impact.