Keep It Moving
We have been so excited at the prospect of settling the farm into a permanent space, but for a variety of reasons, the journey toward that decision and the subsequent move has been more complicated than we had hoped for or imagined. With that being said, we are extremely grateful for this opportunity to establish the farm in a permanent home, and are so proud of how far the Student Farm has come in just three short years since its founding.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any specific updates on the exact timing or location for our move, other than moving to the Sustainability Experience Center. But we wanted to share some of the thoughts and perspectives from our student leaders, as the team is actively working with Penn State administration to work out the details of the move in the coming weeks.
The move is hoped to enable the farm to expand from its one-acre pilot site off of Big Hollow Road, which has been the Student Farm’s home since its founding in 2016. Expanded acreage will enable the farm to increase produce quantities available to campus dining commons and enhance sustainability through improvements on its crop rotation plan.
Katie Leite, executive recording secretary and longtime club member, believes this move is a great opportunity to spread the Student Farm’s mission and give students and community members alike a chance to get involved. “Greater accessibility, more acreage and an engaging space that has room for us to grow is something that’s been in the works since the students developed this idea a few years ago,” Katie said. “It’s time for us to expand.”
The Sustainability Experience Center is on the campus bus loop route, promising much greater ease of access for all Penn State students.
Student Farm Club executive director and farm fanatic Sienna McNett believes the move will help grow accessibility and collaborations for the farm. “By moving closer to campus, the program can be accessed by more students, volunteers, interns and classes,” Sienna said. “Its new location will facilitate collaboration with like-minded sustainability sites nearby and it has been so exciting to see the farm grow.”
Ahmed Al–Mahrooqi, our coordinating secretary, sees this move as a way to bolster Penn State’s image and connect with its roots as the farmer’s high school. “The farm doesn’t just operate as a means to provide produce for the dining commons, but it also acts as a living laboratory and lets its current users test their innovative ideas regarding agriculture, sustainability and management,” Ahmed said.
The rest of our student leadership team is so busy helping with planning the move, but everyone’s views can be summed up with one, stress-filled but excitedly hopeful sigh: We’re looking forward to finally getting there! “Coming from a land grant university, we are Penn-State-proud of all the work students have put into the moving process,” Sienna said.