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Student Farm and Technology Center to Shape Higher Education: Ideas please!

young farmer, farmer educationWhat would you do with a few acres of land, a house, a barn, and a bit of money?  I never imagined I'd actually have all of those resources to play with, but in a way I do.  A group of students, staff, and administration at the university I work for  want to turn a piece of land near campus into an educational farm and appropriate technology center.  I've been asked to help lead the charge.  I'll be headed over to the land this evening to begin shooting photos for the landscape architecture students that will ultimately be asked to help design this great landscape.  It is exciting to see something begin to emerge, but I have already become a bit paralyzed by the vast potential of the project.  Should we build an outdoor classroom?  How about a solar covered parking spot for the tractor?  How should the house be integrated into the farmscape?  Who should live in that house and how would the location be showcased for its technology concepts?

With a limited budget we'll have to make some decisions about where to start.  Where would you start?  In some ways it is like asking a person to decide what component of sustainability is most important.  Do I focus on getting the farm up and productive?  Do I focus on those old buildings?  Do I focus on appearance in order to attract potential funders?  I don't know.

So here is my challenge to all of you.  Without considering money or specific barriers, how would you answer the following question:  What do you do with 4 acres of good soil, a house, and a small barn to showcase sustainability on a college campus?  I need suggestions!

Vincent M. Smith - PhD

  • Tom Copeland

    build a stage for performances?

  • http://www.facebook.com/vincent.m.smith.3 Vincent M. Smith

    Thanks Tom. Great ideas and great to just hear from you.

  • Tom Copeland

    wow, sounds like a great idea. you guys know all the good stuff already, have demonstrations, and simple home improvements that an average family can do. have a rain barrel making party as a fundraiser? backyard chickens are easy. have a small flock of goats that could maybe be used around campus for weed control in areas that maintenance can't reach easily. are there any local schools that can partner with the college for outreach learning or field trips or volunteering days to work on improvements....

  • http://www.facebook.com/smith.melissa.sara Melissa Smith

    I liek Sarah's idea. I think it needs to be a space that a lot of departments could use. I can see Ag and biology coming out to see or do experiements, but what can you create that would draw the English and theatre people, too? No ideas here, but I'll think more about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Silent-Springs/333575459988614 Silent Springs

    "Without considering money or specific barriers, how would you answer the following question: What do you do with 4 acres of good soil, a house, and a small barn to showcase sustainability on a college campus? I need suggestions!"

  • http://madeinusachallenge.com Sarah

    Wow, what an amazing opportunity! This is a little out of my realm, but how about a self sufficient house that is run off pure clean energy it captures, is fed off the land it grows, etc? Basically a real-life primer on homesteading?

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