Our community partnerships engage students with non-profit organizations, local businesses, schools, farmers, food pantries, community gardens, and more.

 

Current Initiatives

 

Community Harvest Project

This is a Sustainable Food Systems Program partnership project with the State College Food Bank. Established in 2018, the mission of Community Harvest is to harvest surplus produce from area farms and distribute it to food pantries and other emergency food providers across Centre County. Key partners include the State College Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, Food Bank Farm and the Penn State Horticulture Farm, as well as several area farms

Learn how you can volunteer to help support this initiative here. Contact Mary Lemmon at (814) 574-9656, or mel5413@psu.edu with any questions about the program or to get involved.

You can also read about the experience that Katrina Weakland, 2017-18 Food Systems AmeriCorps member, had with this project here.

Youth Education

Our Youth Education Project Team allows students to engage with local children and discuss topics that are at the root of the Student Farm’s mission at Penn State. We strive to provide classes with educational, hands-on activities that will help them to be more aware of where their food comes from and the choices that they’re making, because they are the future of the planet and its prosperity. Using the Farm and our experiences with it as teaching tools, we can demonstrate these topics, and many others, to the youth of our community.

You can learn more about our youth education programs here and here, and our conference here. 

If you are a school or group interested in an interactive farm tour, a presentation in the classroom, or both, we have lectures that include topics such as agroecology, vermiculture, food waste, sustainability in agriculture, and mindfulness. Contact Katie Leite to set up a tour at keleite@gmail.com 

 

Meals on Wheels of State College

The Sustainable Food Systems Program established a new partnership with Meals on Wheels in 2019. State College Area Meals on Wheels prepares and delivers nutritious, affordable meals to the elderly and disabled living within the State College School District to help maintain their quality of life and allow them to remain in their own homes. We are jointly working with AmeriCorps member Emma Keele on several projects, including Community Harvest Project.

One new project in 2019 is Bucket Gardens. Student Farm members grew seedlings on campus for Meals on Wheels participants to select and have delivered to their homes in five-gallon buckets. Each recipient got to choose between a tomato, pepper or zinnia plant. Check out this great article on Statecollege.com about the impact the bucket gardens have had on the recipients. We are so thrilled to be able to support our community in such small but mighty ways!

Community Gardens

Beginning in 2018, we have partnered with Centre Moves and area Community Gardens to host events that help to support gardeners of all kinds, and promote the community gardens located throughout the State College area.

In both 2018 and 2019 we helped plan and lead a Community Seed Swap event. The Centre Daily Times covered the 2019 event in this great article. Additionally, in April 2019 we helped plan a Beginning Gardeners Workshop at the Community Garden at Penn State. Our AmeriCorps members and students were on hand to demonstrate how to start seeds indoors. The event was well-attended, and we look forward to continue growing this partnership!

 

Home Grown Project

Beginning in 2017, the Student Farm partnered with Master Gardeners’ Home Grown Project to provide vegetable plants for food bank clients to improve food security in Centre County. The Student Farm provided the PSU greenhouse space and student labor to grow a variety of tomatoes and peppers for distribution at local Food Banks across Centre County.

Each year, the project spans from March, with seed starting by Student Farm Club members and Master Gardeners, continuing through June for distribution. The project was expanded in 2018 to include growing more plants and distributing seedlings at more pantries. In 2019, we grew and distributed more than 700 seedlings!