Once you’ve started a farm, the next step is to make your farm an invaluable part of the campus community. That way, when there’s talk of development or other uses for the land (many campus farms have come and gone thanks to competing interests), you have a tidal wave of support to keep the farm. Here are a few ways to enhance community support of your farm project:
Farm-based education: Reach out to relevant departments and interested faculty about integrating the farm into their curriculum. Environmental Studies, Biology, and even the Business School may be interested in using your farm as a “living laboratory” for their classes. The possibilities for garden-based curriculum are endless. Also, local K-12 educators may be excited to have their students come visit, and having field trips from local students is a great way to integrate into the broader community.
On-farm events: Farms can provide so much more than good food. Consider hosting a farm festival a couple times each year. An Earth Day event in April and a Harvest Festival in the fall are both popular days to host events. Festivals can be simple or elaborate, be focused on students or local families, and can also serve as a great fundraiser for your farm. The Marketing and Events folder in the CF Google Drive has sample event flyers.
Community workdays and potlucks: Nothing makes a community gel like farming and eating together! Consider hosting a regular monthly workday and potluck, and have a list of farm tasks that can be done by young and old, fit and frail. The bonus? People share amazing recipes, and might even help you put together a farm-fresh community cookbook.
BUILDING COMMUNITY RESOURCES:
–Fields of Learning: The Student Farm Movement in North America, edited by Laura Sayre