Last week I went back to my alma mater, Hampshire College, to celebrate the college’s 45th anniversary. As soon as I got on campus, I headed straight to the farm center. This farm holds a special place in my heart because this is where I fell in love with farming. Once getting a work-study job at the farm, something clicked, and my life’s passion became clear, agriculture.
It has been a few years since I last wandered around the fields and barns of the college’s farm. I was excited to see how much, has stayed the same since I last worked as a student farm hand. But I was thrilled to see new innovative things happening on the farm, such as the battery-powered tractor and movable greenhouse.
The farm has expanded vegetable production to 20 acres to accommodate the demand from the dining commons, whose goal is to source nearly 100 percent of food served on campus from within a 150 mile radius.
During my visit I was also reminded how the farm center is such an intricate piece to everyone’s experience of Hampshire College. Anyone can walk through the fields or stop by to visit the animals. Almost every student, professor, and staff person is a member of the CSA. Classes use the farm as a laboratory and everyone seems to have at least one story about their time on the farm. I have a lot of Hampshire College farm stories and I draw upon those experiences quite often to run my own farm. I can’t wait till I can visit the Pioneer Valley again.