Dickinson College Farm
The Dickinson College Farm

The History of the Dickinson Garden


Two environmental Studies majors initiated the Student Garden at Dickinson College in 1999. Their interest in researching sustainable agriculture and organic gardening was cultivated on a small plot of land donated by the college. As more and more students began to get involved with the Student Garden the Environmental Science department sought a way to ensure its longevity.
In 2000, the Environmental Studies department was awarded a three year Innovation Grant by Dickinson College. The students involved with the Student Garden at that time worked towards expanding the garden and started selling organically grown vegetables at the local farmers market. The number of students interested in the garden grew and the club Students Interested in Sustainable Agriculture was formed. Students came together to work, discuss issues pertaining to sustainable agriculture, initiate course-related research projects, and to share the seasons harvest.


By 2002, the Environmental Studies Department hired a part-time director for the Student Garden and the Student Garden program was underway. In addition to daily gardening work, students are involved with community outreach projects, field trips to local farms, hosting educational workshops relating to food and food production, as well as research projects. The Student Garden currently employs an average of seven students during the academic school year. Each student has the oppurtunity to put in ten hours of work a week.
The responsibilities of a student gardener varies from day to day. Crops that are in season, current community outreach projects, the weather, and food bank donations help to determine what the student will be doing. Typically students work three days a week, working around their academic schedule. During the summer months, the Student Garden hires full-time student employees to manage the garden during its peak growing season. These students sell garden produce at the local farmers' market and College Dining Hall in addition to working on community service projects, and engaging in educational workshops and field trips. While growing food is a large focus of the Student Garden, community service work is another large focus. Close collaboration with local food bank, Project S.H.A.R.E has earned the garden a significant role with connecting food bank recipients with fresh produce. The academic component to the garden is growing as more and more students, faculty and staff begin to recognize and incorporate coursework and research that involves the garden. As a living laboratory, the Student Garden provides the College with endless possibilities for academic interests!

Timeline

1999:

Two Environmental Science majors chose to create a student garden as a part of their senior research projects. A plot of land was granted by the school behind the Sylvan Learning Center off of Rt. 11

 

 

2000:

The Environmental Studies department was awarded a three year Innovation Grant from Dickinson College Students began creating more beds and selling produce at the local farmers market SISA (Students Interested in Sustainable Agriculture) was formed.

2002:

Dickinson College hired a part-time Director of the Garden and officially the Student Garden was formed- Students were hired for the Spring and Summer months
Monthly trips, Community outreach programs, and participation at the farmers market continued.

 

2003, 2004:

The Student Garden significantly increased its size and production, selling produce to the College Dining Hall, Local farmers' market, and area health food store. Outreach projects included educational programs at area elementary schools, weekly gleaning and food deliveries for Project S.H.A.R.E recipients. Garden hosts multiple academic internships and independent study projects; Pomfret Street Community Garden, Native Plant GArden, Medicinal Herb Garden, collaborative work with ongoing research by Prof. Tom Arnold in Biology.