March 18, 2014- This series includes my course on Sustainable Orchard and Vineyard Management. -TB
UVM Educational Farm Expands Learning Opportunities for Students
Catamount Farm to provide dynamic environment for wide range of students
By Erica Houskeeper
A new farming education endeavor at the University of Vermont will give students the opportunity to learn about sustainable farm practices, contribute to the local food system and help support research needs of the university.
Catamount Educational Farm in South Burlington will offer an extensive hands-on farm experience for post-traditional, undergraduate and high school students. Produce grown at the farm will be sold to select outlets within the UVM community, including University Dining Services, and be available at the UVM farm stand and through a CSA.
Catamount Educational Farm is located at the UVM Horticulture Research and Education Center (HREC) on land that has been owned by the university for more than 60 years. After three successful years of the UVM Farmer Training Program managing three acres of vegetables at the HREC, UVM Continuing and Distance Education and the UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences created the Catamount Educational Farm by designating 13 acres for specialty crop production and academic programs.
“The establishment of Catamount Farm will allow UVM to provide a dedicated, hands-on learning environment for students seeking diverse farming and management skills on a well-managed, productive farm,” said HREC Director Terence Bradshaw. “Since its purchase in 1952, the mission and vision for the ‘Hort Farm’ has been to provide research, education and outreach. Catamount Farm fulfills that mission and effectively moves UVM’s local food system efforts to the next level.”
Catamount Educational Farm consists of five acres of diverse vegetables and eight acres of apples and grapes. The farm will continue to be home to the UVM Farmer Training Program for post-traditional students, as well as offer new courses such as the Catamount Farm Summer Experience for undergraduate students and the Introduction to Sustainable Vegetable Farming for high school students.
“Catamount Farm will provide a dynamic environment for immersive, experiential and relevant programs,” said Susie Walsh Daloz, who develops sustainable farm programming for UVM. “The expanded farm also allows us to reach a wide range of students, who now have the incredible opportunity to study sustainable farming while producing food for the UVM community.”
Students will be integral to carrying out all activities of the farm, providing them with real and diverse sustainable farm management skills.
“What’s unique and valuable at Catamount Farm is that production and education will go hand-in-hand,” said Laura Williams, manager of Catamount Farm. “Catamount Farm is so much more than a demonstration farm, and that’s what makes us remarkably different.”
For more information about Catamount Educational Farm, visit learn.uvm.edu/catamountfarm.