The Roots of Pomona College’s Organic Farm

in the Wash on Pomona College’s South Campus is a hub for environmental
activists, scientists, and lovers of fresh produce. Pomona’s Organic Farm has
grown over the last fourteen years into a source of sustainable farm products
and a learning resource for 5C students and the Claremont community.

Farm started up in the spring of 1999, when a group of Pomona students planted
a few crops near a composting site in the Wash.

“All of
the students left during that first summer. When they returned, only one tomato
had survived, and that inspired the students to keep working” Farm Manager
Adam Long PO ’13 wrote in an email to The Student Life. “They registered the ‘Gorilla Farming Club’ with
ASPC and prepared beds and planted more crops around the Farm.”

the Farm found its roots in the Pomona curriculum. In his thesis project about
the history of the Farm, Long wrote that in the fall of 2001, a group of
students organized for an independent study class about green architecture,
titled The Politics of Community Design, with the help of professor Rick
Worthington, a politics professor in the environmental analysis department.
Additionally, geology professor Richard Hazlett developed a course called Farms
and Gardens. Hazlett was allocated a plot of land for his class to use after students
began a “Save the Farm” movement to protect the Farm from Pomona’s development
plans. Since the land addition, The Farm has continued to grow as a space for
academic pursuit and student involvement.

According to the Farm’s website, the
current landscape of the Farm is made up of two parts. The “West Farm” consists of fruit trees in rock-lined plots,
the Earth Dome, the chicken coop, the outdoor classroom, and a composting
toilet. The “East Farm” has a fruit tree orchard, 50 rows of crops, a
banana grove, a composting system, a greenhouse, and beehives.

can become Plot Stewards and take care of a small area of the Farm, or they can
come down and help out with group tasks and responsibilities,” Long wrote. Though
the Farm used to have a part-time manager, Long was hired this year as a
full-time manager due to growing involvement with the Farm.

Farm’s limited budget comes from proceeds from selling produce, contributions
from ASPC, and funding from the environmental analysis department.

many volunteers and work-study students make it possible for the Farm to run

volunteers can stop by any afternoon. There are people there after four.
They’ll work alongside the Farm workers and usually work on performing general
maintenance, constructing the greenhouse, or weeding. Then we have open hours
on Saturdays from 10 to 12 where any community members can come,” student Farm
Leader Jennifer Schmidt PO ‘14 said.

became involved with the Farm when she arrived at Pomona and now helps to
develop programs with students and volunteers.

from any background have been drawn to it as a space to learn how to farm or to
just hang out,” she said.

asked about the importance of working at a farm while also pursuing academics,
Schmidt said, “It’s real. So much of what we do in the college is theoretical,
which is important for the sake of academia. But it’s also really important to
interact with natural systems and science on a fundamental, hands-on level.
That’s what the Farm is great for. You can understand how climate and weather
work, and how they influence what can grow here and why they can grow.”

added that the Pomona environmental analysis department hosts a class at the
Farm that looks at how agriculture is involved with science, society, and

Farm continues to maintain a strong presence across the 5Cs with its biweekly
Farm Stand, which sells produce in the Smith Campus Center courtyard at Pomona,
and workshops that are open to the community.

The Farm also serves as a space
for students to congregate. In early October, about 200 people came to the Farm
to see the Seaver Theatre’s production of The
Rimers of Eldritch
, which was performed in the groves.

Last Saturday, Oct. 26, the
Farm hosted a Fall Farm Fair complete with games, foods, and live musical


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