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Penn State's Sustainable Agriculture Club

Posted: September 23, 2009

Existing in such a prime hub for all things sustainable ag, the Penn State Sustainable Agriculture Club is a small group of individuals.
Students in the Sustainable Agriculture Club visit Tait Farm.

Students in the Sustainable Agriculture Club visit Tait Farm.

“That’s what I like about the club,” says member Gina Montecallo, a sophomore at Penn State majoring in Landscape Architecture.

The size allows members to really engage, whether by joining in a weekend trip to visit Longwood Gardens and tour a mushroom farm and composting facility or developing a lesson plan to help teach the youth track at the annual Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture conference.

Members raise funds for projects and fieldtrips by selling homemade baked goods and painting faces for donations at the autumn Halloween Trail and spring Maple Harvest Festival, both hosted by Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center.

Meetings occur on a biweekly basis, and the club tries to host a guest speaker in addition to discussing general business. Presenters vary in their expertise; last year, topics ranged from backyard composting to employment opportunities off the farm to a discussion of food systems on the local, regional, and national levels.

This year brings several new faces and ideas, ensuring that the club will have another successful term. An approaching meeting boasts a presentation on agroforestry, and members have expressed interest in having a club plot in the Penn State Community Garden to practice the more technical aspects of sustainable agriculture with the goal of cultivating, harvesting, and eating the fruits of labor together. Plans are in the works to visit a local farm and CSA, and some members will attend the Acres eco-farming conference in St. Paul this December.

The Penn State Sustainable Agriculture Club has a lot to offer the overall Penn State community by way of education about sustainable agriculture (both ‘in the classroom’ and ‘in the field’) and opportunities to apply this knowledge. If you are interested in learning more about the club’s activities, wish to present at a meeting, or have a general comment or suggestion, the club would be delighted to hear from you; contact the club president Lauren Hill at lah5164@psu.edu.

By Paige Arthur, Secretary, Sustainable Agriculture Club