Taking Advantage of Local Farming Opportunities | St. Lawrence University

Taking Advantage of Local Farming Opportunities

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Before coming to St. Lawrence, I never gave a single thought to where my food came from. Somehow, almost as if by magic, food would appear on my plate every night when I came home from school for dinner. When I graduated high school and moved onto college, the magic continued. I would walk into Dana Dining Hall or the Northstar Café, and food would again appear on my plate through no effort of my own. It was not until I talked to a few of my friends who were volunteering at a local farm that I began to think of where the food we eat comes from and how it is produced.

In the fall of my sophomore year, a group of my friends and I traveled to littleGrasse Farmworks, a local farm located less than a mile from campus on Miner Street run by the wonderful Bob and Flip. My friends and I were given a tour of the farm and tasked with scooping out the contents of some 50 pumpkins (it was very close to Halloween). We were also able to feed some pigs, pick some veggies, and chat with Bob and Flip about the greenhouse they had recently built. I began to realize, while volunteering at littleGrasse, that food does not just magically appear on plates for dinner, but is cultivated and harvested through hard work by farmers who dedicated their lives to supplying food.

This is the first year I have participated in the interactive farm share program offered by littleGrasse, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Each week I receive a basket overflowing with different fruits and vegetables, some of which I have the opportunity to harvest myself. The farm share is affordable and convenient. All that Bob and Flip require is that you help out at the farm at for a few hours each semester. This can be easily fulfilled through attending the monthly potluck Saturdays. Bob and Flip stress that the community is what supports littleGrasse and that everyone should feel comfortable coming to help out. There are also other farms, such as Bittersweet Farm, that offer opportunities like these to St. Lawrence students. It gives me a sense of accomplishment when I have cooked my own meal with food I was able to help cultivate.

Taking advantage of the local food in the surrounding areas of campus is something ever St. Lawrence student should consider. It gives students the opportunity to expand outside their comfort zones in two ways: exploring new and different types of foods and gaining an appreciation for where the food on dinner plates comes from, and helping students connect with community members. I encourage every student to take advantage of the local food sources around Canton and St. Lawrence County. I have met some of the most amazing people and eaten some of the best food just by traveling less than a mile down the road from campus. I have come to realize that the food on my plate is magical; not because it appears in front of me, but because it was cultivated by people who care about creating a better planet.