Student Farm at Penn State
The Student Farm at Penn State was established in the spring of 2016. Our one-acre diversified vegetable farm is currently located at the intersection of Fox Hollow Road and Big Hollow Road. Each year, we grow approximately 15,000 pounds of produce for the Penn State community!
The farm is a space for people from diverse backgrounds to come and learn together. It is a living laboratory and a community gathering place. Through the farm, we demonstrate how food is grown and provide hands-on engagement opportunities for students and volunteers to gain skills and knowledge about food production, harvesting, and marketing. It is a launching point for conversation about many issues, including food security, food waste, and other pressing issues of our time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the farm?
The One-Acre Student Farm is located on Penn State’s northern campus at the intersection of Big Hollow Road and Fox Hollow Road (just before the underpass for 322). The farm is easily accessible from campus by bicycle or by car. If biking or walking to the farm from main campus, please use Big Hollow Road to safely travel to the farm.
You can also find driving directions by using Google Maps.
What is grown on the farm?
Our focus is to grow a diversity of fresh produce using sustainable methods. In our first year, we grew over 45 different crops, some of which include:
lettuce, spinach, kale, swiss chard, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, beets, kohlrabi, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, okra, beans, cucumber, summer squash, cantaloupe, winter squash, parsley, dill, fennel, basil, cilantro, thyme, oregano, and more.
Who grows the produce?
How is our produce grown?
We do not use synthetic fertilizers on the Student Farm. We seek to minimize use of pesticides through cultural pest management practices, and in cases where pest management is needed, we use materials that have been approved for organic production (although the Student Farm itself is not certified Organic at this time). We also do not wax any of our produce or apply other materials post-harvest.
For soil fertility needs, we use compost from the Organic Materials Processing and Education Center (OMPEC) at Penn State. This means that when we eat Student Farm produce on campus and compost the scraps, some of that compost goes right back into growing the next season’s crops! We also grow cover crops and green manures to maintain soil health.
Where can you find our produce?
Here at the Student Farm, we are interested in increasing the quantity and quality of sustainably and locally sourced foods that are available to our campus community. At the same time, we also strive to be conscious of the other activity occurring in our food system. As a Penn State entity, we do not want to compete with other local growers in our broader State College food system. To reduce the risk, we distribute our produce primarily to members of the Penn State community.
We sell our produce through two primary outlets:
Campus Supported Agriculture (CSA)
The CSA model provides Penn State faculty, staff, and student with a unique opportunity to directly support the Student Farm. In this model, members purchase a share at the start of the season, when the farm needs to purchase seeds and supplies for the year. In return, members receive a box of freshly harvested produce each week. In 2016, 40% of produce grown on the Student Farm was sold through the CSA program.
DISTRIBUTION DETAILS: Maymester, Summer and Fall shares are distributed at the Cellar Market on Eisenhower Road
Each week, a share will contain approximately 6-7 different seasonal veggies and herbs. Here are some examples of produce you might receive for each season:
Maymester – salad greens, radishes, chives, hydroponic cucumbers
Summer – tomatoes, eggplant, Swiss chard, squash, herbs
Fall – winter squash, beets, salad greens, Brussels sprouts
Our CSA registration opens around April 1 each year. The best way to be the first to know is to join our listserv. Please also check out these other wonderful CSA and local food opportunities in the State College area.
To see what Summer 2016 CSA members received in their baskets each week, head over to the CSA Corner.
The Student Farm is also proud to supply produce to Penn State’s Nittany Lion Inn, Campus Dining Halls, the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center, and The Village at Penn State. In 2016, 60% of produce grown on the Student Farm was sold to Penn State Wholesale accounts.
Student farm interns are involved in every step of this process, from growing and harvesting crops, to packing and delivering products to our members. Our multiple retail and wholesale outlets enable students to learn about different needs and opportunities across the supply chain.
The Student Farm supports the local community by donating some of our produce to those in need when possible. In our first growing season, we donated 1,000 pounds of produce.
Sign Up Here to Volunteer on the Student Farm!
All skill levels are welcome. All that is required is a willingness to dig in and to learn on the farm. Students, faculty, staff and community members are all welcome to come volunteer.
Youth under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
We recommend wearing sturdy shoes and bringing a water bottle and sunscreen. For the safety and comfort of all our guests and future food consumers, please refrain from bringing your furry friends to the farm.
Student Farm at Penn State
NEW for 2018! Apply to enroll in AGECO 197.
Students in the course will have top priority for 2018 Student Farm and Philly Urban Farm internships.
Not sure if farm work is for you? That’s okay; there are many other ways to get involved: