Two courses, “Organic Farming “ and “Permaculture: Theory and Practice”, give Oakland students a hands-on learning opportunity that examines the relationships between “food, fiber, and fuel production” practices and both sustainability and community health The farm courses are not just for students interested in biology, sustainability, nutrition or farming. These courses provide an intersection between numerous disciplines and emphasize problem-solving, teamwork and collaboration. Several major concentrations such as health care, education, business, marketing, and communications could all benefit from the hands-on training that an organic farm has to offer.
Students are not only able to learn from these courses, but are also able to combine their learning with service in local communities. Community engagement is a critical component for the Campus Student Organic Farm. Students go to the Baldwin Center’s "hoop house" to help youth learn how to garden, harvest and sell their produce and learn about food choices. Other Oakland students also work with developmentally disabled young disabled adults from the Kennedy School’s Horticulture program in Pontiac.
“Everybody eats right?” says Dr. Fay Hansen. “Knowing where your food comes from and how it was grown is a huge issue today. Beyond that simple fact, a farm is a business. Students not only grow the food, but they also sell it, so they need to promote their items and set up a successful farm and business plan. Classes from a range of disciplines visit the farm every semester as part of their course activities. The overall farm planning and daily activities are coordinated by Farm Manager Jared Hanna, and Farm Assistants Billy Puuri and Drake Mullett, the undergraduate participants of the Oakland Summer Student Campus Corps. Volunteer opportunities are available for faculty, staff, all students, and the general public.
Classes on Oakland's Campus Student Organic Farm are open to students of all majors. You can also support the farm by visiting the farm stand on campus. Follow the Student Organic Farmers on Facebook for volunteer opportunities and farm stand details.
For more information about the academic programs at the farm, contact Dr. Hansen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Jared Hanna at email@example.com for class farm tours and scheduling group activities.