The Penn State Student Farm’s 3rd Annual Harvest Festival has come to a close after a delicious celebration of sustainable eating that welcomed more than 450 guests. The Student Farm hosted the Harvest Festival last Thursday, September 6, and entertained with a menu including all-natural produce picked fresh from the farm, sustainable arts and crafts, and even live entertainment from the band Table for Two.
David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business at Penn State, attended the event to see how the student farm puts their plan into action. Gray got on stage to tell the crowd about the real-life impact sustainable farming has on the community.
Gray reported that over 8,000 pounds of produce were sold from the Student Farm last year, and over 2,000 pounds were donated to the community.
“This is a program where students can take charge and create the future they want.” Gray said.
In between the rows of cherry tomatoes, a table was set up for attendees to learn about and experiment with sustainable crafting through the butterfly effect- an art project using all natural and sustainable materials like dyes and fibers extracted from primary natural plant materials grown at the Student Farm. Guests dyed fabric using only a drop or two of color to see how the smallest amounts of materials could transform the fibers into colorful cloth.
Hovering around the table was Tiana Williams, a junior majoring in community environment and development. When asked what brought her to Harvest Festival, Williams stressed the importance of the kinds of opportunities sustainable living offers.
“I care about the food system in terms of giving everybody access to fresh produce.” Williams said.
Williams discussed the disadvantages that people with low incomes face in terms of being able to choose what produce they bring home and how they impact the environment.
For the people working the event, it offered a moment for reflection about the food system.
Bridget Callahan, a senior majoring in culinary arts, was working at Harvest Festival as a chef for her food sustainability class.
“All produce on the menu was picked today and washed on the farm,” Callahan said.
Callahan arrived on the farm in the early morning to help harvest the crops used in the dishes she prepared. Her table included golden gazpacho shots and beet salad plates. Both the tomatoes and the beets were fresh from the farm, with salad greens picked from the field by the chefs as guests arrived.
The leaders of the Student Farm are excited to hear how much guests learned, as well as the impact sustainable farming has had so far this year in the community. We look forward to another successful Harvest Fest in 2019!