The Sustainable Student Farm (SSF) was founded in 2009 to serve the University and broader community. You have a farm!
The SSF operates year-round on 5 acres of seasonal field production and 9,000 sq. ft of year-round high tunnel production. The farm grows an average of 30,000 lbs of high quality, locally grown fruits and vegetables for the campus community every year. Twenty percent of this produce is sold through on-campus farm stands and the remaining 80% is sold to U of I Dining Services. Our produce is also featured at Bevier Café.
The farm is a hands-on learning environment for low-input, environmental and economically sustainable food production. In addition to horticultural skills, student workers develop applied skills in design, engineering, and marketing. The farm hosts a wide array of projects related to low input food production and environmental sustainability.
Current projects include:
- Production of large quantities of shelf-stable products- like tomato sauce- for year round use in the residence halls in partnership with Dining Services and the Pilot Plant (Dept of Food Science & Human Nutrition).
- Hosting research for Dr. Sam Wortman into biodegradable mulch and mechanical weed blasting
- Providing farm by-products and native grasses to Fresh Press for paper production and research.
Past projects funded by the Student Sustainability Committee:
- Design and construction of a wash pack station and farm stand with students of Dr Jeffery Poss (School of Architecture) and Dr Eric Benson (School of Art + Design)
- Converting our cultivating tractor to a solar-charged electric motor with students of Dr. Bruce Litchfield (College of Engineering)
- Construction of a transplant greenhouse and vermicomposting facility with ActGreen
Two full-time managers oversee production and programming of the farm year round and the farm employs student workers on a mostly seasonal basis (email for employment opportunities). In addition, the farm also relies on student volunteers (click here for our volunteer sign-up page).
The farm offers tours and workshops to community including farmers, gardeners, schools; to schedule a tour contact us below!