|The Northeast Experiment Station in 1925|
A transformation is taking place. For more than a century, UMD's roots have been planted in farming-- tilling and pushing stubborn northern soil to simultaneously produce and educate. The Sustainable Agriculture Project, situated a few miles from campus, has ebbed and flowed with Duluth's booms, busts, and food trends but, more recently, it's flourishing.
This year alone the UMD Farm added a wind turbine, a field test for organic green beens, taught about the distribution of foods, and collaborated with Duluth schools and the Intertribal Agriculture Council. "The world is our laboratory, our classroom, and our only home, and we're getting people to work together to explore sustainable challenges and solutions in experiential ways," says Randel Hanson, coordinator of the Sustainable Agriculture Project.
|A runner high-fives Champ during the 2014 Farm Fest|
Hanson is inviting the community to celebrate the Farm's success on Sunday, September 20 during the second-annual Food and Farm Festival from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 3568 Riley Road.
It's a fundraiser for UMD’s Sustainable Agriculture Project and includes a farmers market, music by the Clover Street Cronies, a 5K-trail run and walk at 10:30 a.m., and a “farm to belly” menu prepared by UMD chef Tom Linderholm.
|Mushrooms grown on UMD's farm|
Organizers say the festival is also an opportunity to showcase students’ hard work on the farm, a 15-acre land lab that produces 50,000 pounds of food for UMD’s dining services. “The farm is where education and operations come together, creating a sustainable evolution of ideas and action,” says Hanson.
Jason Mozol, a junior majoring in Environment and Sustainability, is helping plan the Farm Festival. He’s especially excited about the menu, pointing out that people can’t get much fresher than what’s being offered. “The food’s fantastic because you know where it’s coming from. You can see the vegetables literally sitting in the field that were picked the day before and now you’re eating it.”
Mozal has been knocking on doors and drumming up Farm Festival sponsorships. Soliciting funds challenges comfort zones, but Mozal has no problem raising money for a cause that's important to him. "If you believe in what you're trying to sell, that's obviously going to help. I've been interested in the environment my whole life and coming to UMD and taking courses and learning about it has just further energized that in me."
About 200 people are expected to attend the 100% compostable event.
Registration and tickets can be found on the Farm Festival’s website.
Duluth News Tribune's story about UMD's Land Lab
Story by Lori C. Melton, September, 2015
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