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Harvest Season, Updates from the College Farm

Soomin Kim ’18, Contributing Writer

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With seven full-time staffers and 15 student workers, Dickinson Farm is busy picking large field crops such as carrots, sweet potatoes and beets.

When harvest is completed, workers will face the new phase of the farm. The farm is “transitioning its production field into cover crops which will keep the field covered over the winter months as a way of building soil fertility,” said Director and Manager of the Dickinson College Farm Jenn Halpin.

When asked about the winter preparation, Halpin said, “Our production really slows down because we can’t grow anything outside. We have three greenhouses, but we can’t grow the quantities that we can when we are growing outside. That’s why we rely on our stored crops.”

The harvested seasonal crops will be stored in the barn’s cooling unit over the winter and will be sold to Dickinson Dining Services and the Campus Supported Agriculture program (CSA). When delivering food, the Dickinson farm freezes and packages food according to the needs of Dining Services. It sells frozen broccoli and cauliflower in the winter months and provides vegetables for 30 weeks for the subscribers of the CSA program until mid December.

Dickinson Farm is a certified organic farm. According to the consumer reports (consumerreports.org), organic produce, meat and dairy cost more to produce their its conventional counterparts. On average, organic food is 47 percent more expensive. When asked how the Dickinson Farm prices the products to Dining Services, “We sell all of our vegetables based on the going price that they [Dining Services] pay for the other food,” said Halpin, “We charge them the conventional prices of the food, not the organic prices. We work within their budget.”

The farm also develops plants in the winter months, according to the previous year’s data based on the menu in Dining Services. “We try really hard to grow crops that they need for the menus. But we also talk to them about the new crop ideas that they would be interested in too,” said Halpin.

Halpin also identified the upcoming events in the farm as a point of interest.

“We have events all the time at the farm, this month we are hosting Bike to the Farm, [in] collaboration with the center for sustainability. Also, at the end of the month, for Halloween, we are going to show a scary movie at the field. We want to connect students with the food that we are raising for them.”

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The student news site of Dickinson College.
Harvest Season, Updates from the College Farm