The UM Campus Farm serves as the central hub of hands-on activity and is primarily operated by student interns and volunteers from the student group, Friends of the Campus Farm, with the support of Matthaei-Nichols staff and UMSFP. The Campus Farm was established in 2012 as a vehicle through which UMSFP will provide experiential education at the University of Michigan and to address student interest in gaining practical growing experience.
In recent years student interest has expanded beyond the capacity of on-campus gardens like Cultivating Community, Outdoor Adventures, and the garden run by Student Advocates for Nutrition. In addition to practical experience, students are calling for more locally-sourced, sustainable food available on campus. In rising to the expectations of students, the campus farm is a center for experiential and academic education and helps increase access to fresh food.
Campus Farm Mission
The Campus Farm is a collaborative, student-led project of the University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP) and Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum (MBGNA). The purpose of the Campus Farm is to serve the greater University of Michigan community through formal and informal educational opportunities related to the production of sustainable food.
The Campus Farm is a center for hands-on learning related to sustainability, food systems, and food production. We cultivate food at the same time as we cultivate citizens and leaders who challenge the present and enrich the future, not only in terms of agriculture, but also in terms of broad and interconnected issues of justice, equity and the environment. The Campus Farm is a convergence point where theory and practice are able to come together in a physical space, functioning as a site for class visits, student engagement and leadership, place-making, and research projects in a wide range of fields, including sciences and the arts.
The Campus Farm strives to be a space that fosters a healthy and diverse community. Anyone can learn something new at the Campus Farm, and since food impacts everyone, we strive to encourage a diverse student-centered representation of volunteers, organizations, researchers, community partners, and leaders.
Sustainable food also promotes the development of local food systems that strengthen communities by improving local economies and ecologies and providing fresh, healthful food. At the Campus Farm, that means using practices that benefit current and future generations by encouraging organic practices that lead to healthy soils, clean water systems, and diverse habitats. By integrating principles of permaculture and using techniques such as crop rotation, low tillage, companion planting and composting, we strive towards systems that can function as closed loops.