On Thursday, Sept. 15, the Farm Club at Pomona opened its first produce stand, where members sold organically grown fruits and vegetables harvested from the Pomona College Organic Farm at low prices to students and faculty.
The main purpose of the stand was to “bring the Farm to the wider community,” said Adam Long PO ’13, one of the leaders of the Farm Club.
The Organic Farm, located on the southeast corner of Pomona’s campus, is run through the 5C Environmental Analysis (EA) Program. According to its website, the Farm is part of a “strong commitment to promoting more sustainable food production and a greater understanding of food and agriculture” at the Claremont Colleges.
The stand offered a variety of fruits and vegetables for sale Thursday, including green squash and zucchini, strawberries, various herbs, beans, and bell peppers.
Prices at the stand were low compared to supermarket prices.
“We’re charging nominal prices to avoid waste,” Farm volunteer Jennifer Schmidt PO ’14 said. “We want people to realize that food has a cost, and that time and energy went into [harvesting] it.”
According to one of the volunteers at the produce stand, Laura Haynes PO ’13, the money from sales will go back into the Farm’s budget for seeds and seedlings. There are also plans to allocate part of the Farm toward harvesting produce for upcoming stands. The Farm Club aims to have weekly produce stands, depending on demand.
While the Farm has had a strong core of dedicated students and faculty since its inception, one of the more recent goals of the Farm Club has been to expand the influence of the farm as well as to increase its impact on student life.
“Even if they’re not growing [the food], they’re getting involved,” Farm employee David Schwartz PO ’12 said of the students and faculty that bought produce.
The Farm began in the late ’90s when a group of students cultivated a one acre plot of land as an independent project. According to the EA Program’s website, the “West Farm has grown [in the past decade] through the spontaneous and grassroots efforts of students, faculty and community members.”
The future of the Farm came into question during the 2005-2006 academic year, when the school got more involved.
“There was some question about whether the farm should be sustained by the college” as part of its long-term development plan, said EA and Geology Professor Richard Hazlett, one of the faculty members involved in the Farm.
In response, a group of faculty, students, and alumni organized the Save the Farm Movement. According to the Farm website, “the movement did outreach campaigns, sent petitions, completed comprehensive analysis of the potential impact of developing the Farm, and developed an Alternative Development Proposal which was eventually accepted by the administration in late April of 2006.”
“It was really gratifying [to see] hundreds of people standing up for the farm,” Hazlett said of the success of the protests.
Today, students from any of the seven institutions in the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) can obtain free seeds and seedlings at the Farm and take care of their own small plot throughout the semester or year.