Towards a Cultivated Classroom: Student-Run Farms and the Big 10

Open Access
Hoh, Rachel Lynn
Area of Honors:
Community, Environment, and Development
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jeremy Edward Bean, Thesis Supervisor
  • Theodore Roberts Alter, Honors Advisor
  • sustainability
  • student-run farms
  • farming
  • integrative design
  • institutional sustainability
The purpose of this study is to explore the recent advent of student-run farms across colleges and universities in the Big 10. In response to heightened demand amongst students and faculty alike, individuals from Penn State and the surrounding community have begun visioning for what is to be a student-run farm at the University Park campus. In order for this most recent project to be successful, gaining an understanding of both the successes and failures of past attempts to begin a student farm in the Penn State community is essential. After an exploration of the history of student farming at Penn State, the methods and strategy behind he university’s most recent student farming project are chronicled with an emphasis on the promotion of an integrated design approach and stakeholder mapping. Serving as context for the larger, nation-wide trends in student farming, information was gathered on student farming and sustainable food systems programming occurring at universities across the Big 10 Athletic Conference. A case study of the newly founded University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program Student Farm focuses on how this university overcame the barriers present in the Penn State student farm narrative. The study concludes with suggestions for the future of the Penn State student farming project. Information for this study was collected through a combination of existing literature and first-person key informant interviews.