The Guilford College Farm, a learning laboratory as well as a source of more than 10,000 pounds of produce each year, has earned a place on College Values Online website’s Top 30 Sustainable College-Run Farms list.
The 4-year-old farm provides fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs to the Dining Hall, a student-operated farmers market, a steadily growing CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, two local groceries and nearby restaurants. At the same time, it is a popular site for work-study students, Bonner Scholars and a wide range of volunteers.
Guilford is ranked 28th among the top 30, but new initiatives are likely to raise the College's score in coming years. The website considered farm size, student involvement, the use of sustainable methods, diversity of production, connection with academics, and whether sales target both the college and the wider community.
“This recognition makes me so proud of the work our farmers, first Korey Erb and now Nick Mangili, have done to make this a meaningful space for so many folks,” said David Petree, Guilford’s director of environmental sustainability.
“I’m also proud of the hard work my colleague Bronwyn Tucker and the incredible faculty members in our Environmental Studies Program are doing to recognize and capitalize on the value this farm provides to our students as a learning, living laboratory.”
Two Environmental Studies courses – Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture and Advanced Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture – relate directly to the farm. More academic options could be available soon: Guilford is exploring the possibility of a new major focused on sustainable food systems.
The farm grows almost 35 different crops, representing 11 families of fruits and vegetables.
The College’s Dining Services is the farm’s biggest customer during the spring and fall semesters. By reducing the amount of vegetables that must be delivered to campus by truck, the farm helps shrink Guilford’s carbon footprint.
Staff, faculty and students can sign up for the CSA, paying a fixed amount and receiving fresh produce once a week.
The farm also is one of the reasons Guilford is in the 2015 edition of “The Princeton Review Guide to 353 Green Colleges.” Learn more about Guilford’s work to protect the environment at the College’s sustainability page.