In the midst of our first week back at Rollins, the Rollins Sustainability Program held its first Urban Farm work day of the year as a #FindYourAnchor event for the incoming freshmen. In preparation for the new growing season, students were asked to help pull weeds, lay fresh mushroom compost, and spread new pine mulch to welcome the new crop.
Unknown to many on campus, the Rollins Urban Farm has been producing fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs for approximately two years now-some of which you may find for sale in the campus center. What started as a student project has now turned into an initiative that has the potential to change the way that our Rollins community thinks about and produces food. Throughout the academic year you will find a variety of produce, including tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, spinach, and even the occasional sunflower, which occasionally ends up in our own salad bar. Interestingly enough, all of the fruits and vegetables are free for harvesting by anyone on campus, whether or not you are a student or faculty member.
The Urban Farm is also utilized on campus as a learning tool by many professors, both in the Arts and Sciences, as well as the Holt School. On weekdays, you may find students and their professors examining the garden learning about topics like sustainable agriculture, a growing environmental field dedicated to healthy and sustainable food production.
In upcoming semesters, the Sustainability Program hopes to continue growth and expansion of the farm. The efforts initiated this semester will be followed by incorporating the gardens around the EcoHouse in Elizabeth Hall as part of the Urban Farm. The more beds that are added to the garden, the more opportunities students have to not only indulge in healthier, fresher produce, but also educate themselves on the importance of good sustainable production. The expansion of the garden, will hopefully play a larger role within the campus center, and students’ everyday lives in general.