The Campus Farm at Matthaei Botanical Gardens
Part of the University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP) the Campus Farm at Matthaei continues to grow, with use of greenhouse space during the winter months in preparation for the summer growing season. The farm plot continues to expand and now includes permaculture installations as well as plans for a food forest (a plant-based food-production system that incorporates fruit and nut trees, shrubs, and vines).
The Campus Farm tangibly demonstrates Matthaei-Nichols and the U-M Sustainable Food Program’s core values and ties together education, community, and sustainable food in a way that hasn’t been done before at the U-M.
From the beginning the farm has had the University’s blessing. The U-M released the Campus Sustainability Integrated Assessment (CSIA). The Sustainability Executive Council chaired by President Mary Sue Coleman endorsed the study and recommended that the University create a campus farm. Students in the School of Natural Resources and Environment worked with Matthaei-Nichols staff and Director Bob Grese and U-M faculty members to make the farm a reality.
As much laboratory as classroom, the Campus Farm connects students with nature in ways they might never have experienced before. Such hands-on experience provides invaluable lessons in small-scale food production for students who—even if they don’t go on to be farmers—will play a role in food production and delivery systems in many of their future careers.
Check back on this page for updates on the Campus Farm, or visit the U-M Sustainable Food Program.
Read about other University-affiliated programs on food systems and sustainable agriculture: