Wednesday, August 17, 2011
OU's Urban Farming group grows fresh produce for the communityBy Stephanie Held, media relations intern
Fresh, organic, and community are a few keys words associated with the Urban Farming project hosted at Oakland University. For students in various areas of study and locals alike, urban farming work is making progress for a healthier and a more involved campus and community.
|OU's Urban Farming group grows organic produce for the community.
Urban farming is organic farming in an urban setting such as OU's campus with an ecological design for meeting human needs: food, energy, water, community, and transportation.
“The most exciting part is harvesting, eating, and celebrating together,” said Jared Bogdanov-Hanna, OU alumnus and perm-culture garden mentor and manager of the urban farm on OU’s campus. Bogdanov-Hanna also works his own own farm in Troy.
Finding intensive methods for smaller areas of farming is priority for OU's Urban Farming group, because they don’t have acreage for farming.
The on campus farm started two years ago as a club create by a handful of students looking to find a way to donate food to nearby communities in need.
Soon after starting the farm, students found it was too hard to maintain without university funds. Fay Hansen, Ph.D. and biology professor at OU, stepped in to help find grants for the project. These grants provided academic courses in support of the farm.
“The university has been so supportive,” said Dr. Hansen. The campus learning community grant, which involves food-themed discussions, teaching, and health sciences are becoming very involved, along with the environmental program and college of education. “We’re hoping to bring together all academia.”
Now, OU's Urban Farming group has started working to collaborate with Chartwell’s, the university's dining service provider. Currently, the farm uses food waste from the dining halls as soil compost, and organizers are working to get their produce into the dining hall kitchens.
Dr. Hansen explained that one of the main goals for the Urban Farming project is to improve the quality of nutrition for food in dorms, making it fresh and organic.
So far, Chartwell’s has tried a few samples from food harvests. Leafy greens, salads, cucumbers and more have been sent in for tasting. These efforts are made in hopes that students as consumers will become more aware of the food options available locally.
The Urban Farming team is still in process with Chartwell’s to develop a process. The team is hoping to become financially stable and independent enough to help the project really move forward and involve more of the university and Chartwell’s.
For more information or to learn how to get involved, contact Dr. Hanson at email@example.com.