Faculty and students from across the university are invited to engage with the Sustainable Food System Program and Student Farm at Penn State.

We believe that when people with a diversity of backgrounds and skill sets come together at the table (or on the farm), innovation and creative problem-solving occurs.

We seek to provide experiences that meet the unique needs and interests of diverse disciplines. The Student Farm is a living classroom, and like any classroom space, it is open to our entire campus community, whether for a specific class project, or simply to hang out and study. The farm has picnic table seating for up to 48 students, and can accommodate visitors arriving by bus or van.

Ways that classes might engage include:

  • Course-Client Collaborations
  • Tour and discussion on the farm
  • Volunteer on the farm, as a group or as an individual service-learning assignment
  • Topical field demonstration
  • In-class presentation and discussion with Student Farm student and staff leadership about engagement opportunities or a specified food systems topic
  • Becoming part of the upcoming Food Systems minor

Students are also invited to conduct for-credit internship or research projects with the farm.

Course-Client Collaborations

Each semester, we invite courses to collaborate with the Student Farm or the Student Farm Club on projects that support the specific learning objectives of that course, and that also help us achieve our mission. Students gain real-world experience as they work with the Student Farm as their client throughout their project.

Courses from colleges and majors from across the university are invited to participate — not just Ag majors! In the past, we have worked with classes from the College of Communications, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Arts and Architecture, and more.

Collaborators may work with the farm’s physical space, such as a Plant Sciences course designing a crop rotation plan or an Architecture course building farm structures. But they also engage the farm conceptually and programmatically, such as Communications students developing a marketing campaign for the upcoming Food Systems minor, or Agribusiness Management students researching and proposing new market opportunities for produce grown on the farm. To learn more about these collaborative projects, check out the gallery.

If you are interested in collaborating with the Student Farm to develop a project or assignment for your class, please contact Leslie Pillen at


active semesters

colleges engaged

courses involved

student participants

For-Credit Internships & Student-Led Research Projects

Students seeking for-credit internships are invited to work with the Student Farm. Students may work on the farm as part of the production team, where you will learn the ins and outs of production, harvest and marketing. Students can also develop a project with the farm tailored to each person’s own interests and area of study. Student interns could trial different production methods on the farm, develop a new market opportunity, start a workshop series, organize a food donations program, or build an app for organizing farm records. The sky is the limit!

During the summer of 2016, students completed internships and research projects that included experimenting with compost tea and establishing a pollinator garden on our one acre farm. Read more about their experiences 

If you are interested in learning more about for-credit internships, contact Leslie Pillen at

Class Tours, Volunteer Days, & Presentations

Instructors looking to visit the farm as a class are encouraged to fill out this short form, and a Student Farm representative will respond by email to finalize plans. Please use the form to specify any specific topics or demonstrations you want covered during your visit. For instructors asking students to independently volunteer on the farm, please share our volunteer signup form with your class.

For courses asking students to visit the farm to observe or reflect on the space in some way, no notice is needed; we just ask that students visit between dawn and dusk.

To invite a program representative in to your class to speak about the program or about food systems sustainability topics, please email Leslie Pillen at

Food Systems Minor

A group of faculty is currently developing a Food Systems minor, which will be a curriculum open to students in any major. The minor will seek to engage students on the student farm, as well as with other aspects of our food system. The minor is anticipated to open for enrollment sometime during the 2016-2017 academic year, with new courses in the minor starting in spring semester 2017.

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