Harvesting Education

“It was the best way to learn,” said Lily Noble ’13 of her time spent volunteering at a small, local organic farm as part of her course A Literary Harvest.

Professor of English Natalia Singer teaches the English and Environmental Studies course. In lieu of a final exam, students participate in a Community-Based Learning project revolving around local food and farming in St. Lawrence County.

Lily liked the idea of working in the dirt where the organic vegetables that come as part of her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share grow.  Bob Washo and Maria “Flip” Filippi, the owners of Little Grasse Foodworks, host a community potluck with CSA members each month. “First, we all get together to work on a big project, and to meet one another,” Lily said. After the garlic is mulched or the potatoes dug, professors, students and community members feast on dishes like steaming carrot lentil soup and banana bread with rosemary honey.

Lily loved the fact that, like each basket of vegetables she takes home for dinner, each day out on the farm is different from the next. “I was given really diverse tasks, but Bob and Flip made sure to explain the thought process behind each one,” she explains. “They’re eager to teach anyone who’s willing to learn.”                --Allison Shea ’13