The Dickinson College Farm is quickly becoming a venue for the area community to come and learn more about sustainable practices in farming, renewable energy, alternative housing and more! Through collaboration with the area Cooperative Extension Offices, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), local groups, and campus faculty the College Farm aims to serve as learning resource for the community. For more information on upcoming events, please go to the home page!
Project S.H.A.R.E. is a local food bank dedicated to serving and providing support for over 500 families in the greater Carlisle area. It is located on 5 N. Orange Street, within walking distance of Dickinson College. Open Sky Farm has been working with Project S.H.A.R.E since its inception. A portion of the produce grown at the garden is donated to the project for its weekly deliveries. In addition to growing food for S.H.A.R.E, students also lend a hand each Wednesday and Thursday to help make fresh organic produce available to S.H.A.R.E recipients. Each Wednesday, students use the garden farm truck to glean surplus produce from nearby organic farm, Spiral Path. On Thursdays, these gelaned items are combined with other fresh produce donations, loaded into the garden truck and delievered to specific neighborhoods within the Carlisle community.
In the past the student garden has been involved with other projects with Project S.H.A.R.E. such as a work-for-food program involving several S.H.A.R.E. families. These families work at least 2 hours per week in the garden in return for a family-sized portion of vegetables. The student gardeners have also helped out with food preservation at Project S.H.A.R.E when there are surpluses in the summer and volunteering during Project S.H.A.R.E's distribution week.
Since 2003, students working with the Dickinson Farm program have played an integral role with getting fresh fruits and vegetables to low income families. Students have managed a weekly produce delivery route to families with limited incomes or accessibility. Through produce donations from area farmers and the Dickinson College farm, students helped to bring access of fresh and organic foods to families in need. The produce delivery route ran from the start of the growing season in June until the last frost in October.
Starting in 2008, Project SHARE has transitioned it efforts from the produce delivery routes to establishing a centrally located farm stand for Project SHARE recipients. The farm stand provides low income families with a local place to come for fresh foods. Students working at the College Farm manage this farm stand once a week to support Project SHARE in its efforts to reach out to our local community.
The members of the garden began to work with the Cumberland-Perry Association for Retarded Citizens (CPARC) during the summer of 2005. The group from CPARC comes once or twice a week and they help out with garden tasks and to have fun. Student gardeners who work with CPARC are resoponsible for developing activities for the group, ranging from turing compost piles to arts adn crafts. This form of therapuetic gardening affords CPARC students the opportunity to be outside and gives student gardeners the opportunity to teach.
The Dickinson College Garden has been involved in several youth education programs since its inception in 2000. Dickinson College students have developed many environmental education programs with local schools, as well as summer and after school programs using the garden to teach young people about everything from composting to tree planting. In the spring of 2002, student Vallie Lewis initiated a garden education program with members of an after-school program in nearby Gettysburg . Students visited the garden each Wednesday to build compost piles, plant lettuce and learn that food doesn't grow in supermarkets. The project was a total success!
The garden has developed a partnership with North Dickinson Elementary School and over the years there have been projects such as weekly visits to the kindergarten class to teach them about subjects relating to plants, bugs, and environmental stewardship among others. During the summer there are many groups of students who come out to the garden for a day to learn about what we do. If you'd like to bring a school-aged group out to the garden or have student gardeners visit your classroom, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dickinson Garden's involvement in the local Community: During the summer and fall, the student gardeners dedicated a total of 63 hours to weekly food distribution for low income neighborhoods. Their work helped to feed over 300 families in the Carlisle community. The Student Garden contributed an estimated 250 pounds of student grown organic produce for these weekly distributions.
In an effort to assist local food bank recipients with access to fresh produce, the Student Garden developed a work exchange program for low-income families in the area. With the assistance of Project SHARE, the Student Garden worked with two households this in 2003 and 2004. Members of these households came out to the Student Garden once a week to work directly with the students. They assisted with harvesting, weeeding, planting and watering. In return for their hard work, the households were offered shares of the weekly harvest. This program ran succesfully for 20+ weeks.
Monthly gleaning field trips to local farms estimated over 1,000 pounds worth of vegetables and fruit were picked by student gardeners and volunteers which was supplied to over 300 households that recieve food assistance from Project SHARE.